2012 Renault Samsung SM7

You may recognize the name Samsung for its electronics. Maybe even some home appliances. But cars? The Korean industrial giant produces a line of automobiles for domestic consumption in collaboration with Renault. Together, they make a range of sedans, hatchbacks and crossovers, and this is the latest.

Called the SM7, the new sedan was previewed a couple of months ago, but now that it's ready to hit the Korean market, Renault/Samsung has released a small batch of new images along with all the details.

The product of some 32 months and over $300 million of development, the new SM7 is larger than the Nissan Maxima-based model it replaces. Two V6 engines from the third-generation VQ family are available – a 2.5-liter unit with 190 horsepower or a larger 3.5-liter unit with 258 hp – both mated to a six-speed paddle-shift automatic.

The (relatively) luxurious and well-appointed cabin on this flagship sedan, meanwhile, features aviation-inspired headrests that look very comfortable for the passengers, but for the driver look (a) like they'd keep your head up straight should you fall asleep behind the wheel, and (b) to us like a terrible idea.

Prices have commensurately increased a bit over the old model, but that's only a concern if you live in a market where Samsung cars are available. One way or another, though, you can check out the high-resolution images for a closer look and the full press release after the jump.
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Renault Samsung Motors to roll out All-New SM7 in August

- This August will see the brand introduce the latest-generation SM7. Developed over a period of 32 months, with R&D investments reaching some 400 billion South Korean won (€207 million), it stands out as a new benchmark in Korea's big saloon market, seven years after the launch of the original SM7.
- All-New SM7 carries over the same exacting quality standards and value for money of previous versions thanks to widespread use of state-of-the-art Renault-Nissan Alliance technology.
- The latest-generation SM7 features the elegant and sophisticated styling expected of such a prestigious saloon.
- Ultimate comfort is provided by the segment's most spacious interior and premium well-being features.
- All-New SM7 delivers maximized driving pleasure thanks to its 'Sport Mode' function and Paddle Shift gearshift technology - a segment first - plus enhanced handling and ride comfort.

Renault Samsung Motors unveiled All-New SM7 at a media road test in South Korea and the model will be available in showrooms from mid-August.

To underpin the in-depth changes it introduces, the second-generation SM7 will be known as All-New SM7 and was developed over a period of 32 months, with R&D investments amounting some 400 billion South Korean won (€270 million). Renault Samsung Motors' flagship model delivers the same impeccable quality and value for money of former SM7 models and exceeds the demand of its E-segment customers thanks to the advanced Renault-Nissan Alliance technologies it packs.

All-New SM7 features the elegant and sophisticated styling expected of a prestige saloon, with a special focus on roomy cabin space and premium well-being features, plus an exceptionally silent ride and outstanding travelling comfort.

It boasts the roomiest interior in its segment with kneeroom for rear passengers up by more than 70mm over the previous SM7, plus plenty of headroom and shoulder room. Several premium well-being features have been introduced, too, including Aviation Headrests - another segment first - plus an optimized Air-Ventilation System which distinguishes it from other big Korean-made saloons. The ultimate motoring experience is ensured by the car's quiet ride and exceptional, segment-leading ride comfort. Meanwhile, features like the 'Sport Mode' function and Paddle Shift gearshifts are available for the first time in the segment to deliver even greater driving enjoyment. This overall package has been designed to position All-New SM7 as a truly high-end prestige saloon.

All-New SM7 is powered by the Nissan VQ engine which has been listed by the leading automotive industry research group Ward's as one of the world's top 10 engines for 14 consecutive years. The performance and durability of the third-generation VQ engine has been achieved thanks to extensive work in areas such as friction and optimised engine management, as well as improved intake and exhaust systems, a more efficient catalytic converter and the use of iridium spark plugs, etc. The VQ powerplant drives through a new, six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift function which includes a high-capacity torque converter for seamless gear changes and superior driving performance. All-New SM7 can be specified with one of two engines: the 3.5 VQ (six-speed automatic transmission with manual gearshift mode) or the 2.5 VQ (six-speed automatic transmission with manual selector mode). Both will be available with three equipment levels to cover the different needs and tastes of the model's customers.

The maximum power delivered by the VQ25 engine is 190hp, an increase of 15 percent over the previous SM7, while peak torque stands at 243Nm at 4,400rpm. This version of the engine has sought to optimise performance in the most practical and commonly-used rev ranges, while customers also benefit from energy control technology features like ESM (Energy Smart Management) for fuel consumption of just nine litres/100km.

In the case of the VQ35 engine, maximum power of 258hp (up more than 20% over the previous SM7) makes it the segment's most powerful powerplant. Peak torque of 330Nm is produced at 4,400rpm, allowing drivers to benefit from outstanding performance compared with rival models across the most practical and frequently-employed engine speed ranges. Fuel consumption is a low 10.4 litres/100km.

Prices for All-New SM7 range from 30 to 39 million Korean won (€19,724 to 25,641), while that of the previous SM7 ranged from 28.8 to 37.7 million Korean won (€18,935 to €24,786).

Thanks to its competitive price tag, which belies its enhanced performance characteristics, All-New SM7 is expected to have a radical effect on the big saloon car market.

Said Renault Samsung Motors CEO Jean-Marie Hurtiger: "All-New SM7 is Renault Samsung Motors' new flagship and delivers everything customers expect of a big premium saloon, including refined, luxurious styling, exceptional quality, and outstanding comfort and driving pleasure thanks to the contribution of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's world class technological expertise. All-New SM7 will set new standards in Korea's big family saloon car market."

At the time of the original SM7's launch in December 2004, the model established a new benchmark in Korea's big saloon car market thanks to its sophisticated styling, excellent handling, quiet ride and dynamic driving performance. In the customer surveys carried out by automobile market research specialists Marketing Insight, it topped the 'Marketability' classification for three consecutive years and the 'Quality Stress' classification among cars in all segments for two consecutive years.