BMW 7 Series Review
BMW add even more luxury to the latest generation 7 Series saloon.
- Huge amount of comfort and luxury
- Features advanced technology
- Incredibly spacious
- Options can mount up price
The BMW 7 Series has been around since 1977 and what has become quite a classic is now into its sixth generation. The latest incarnation of which exemplifies a high standard of design and technology, so we took the 730Ld M Sport Saloon for a drive, the recent winner of the Best Luxury Car in the UK Car of the Year 2016 awards.
On the Road
The 3.0-litre diesel engine has had power increased by 7hp to 265hp but with 620Nm (!) of torque on tap to really move it along, it maybe a saloon but it does have a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Using a smooth eight-speed Steptronic transmission, BMW have cleverly linked it up to the navigation system so working in conjunction with the predictive drivetrain and based on your driving route it will switch between the comfort and sport modes.
The 7 Series also benefits from a plug-in hybrid model the 740e, which features a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric drive unit producing 326hp in total. Ideal for those wanting even greater fuel efficiency, BMW reckon it will return a combined 134.5mpg and emit just 49g/km of CO2.
The sixth generation is lighter than the outgoing model; a new carbon, aluminium and steel body known as the Carbon Core loses a massive 130kg in weight but still retains its strength. With a lower centre of gravity too, the 7 Series gives a comfortable, stable ride, aided by the as-standard self-levelling air suspension which can be manually adjusted depending on the road surfaces.
The BMW xDrive four-wheel-drive is also offered for the first time on the 7 Series offering more traction on any terrain.
Handling isn’t too bad for a car of its size, if you really push the large saloon into corners, not only is it agile with plenty of grip but steering feedback is excellent so a driver can really explore the limit of what is surprisingly quite a sporty model.
Super luxurious as always, the BMW redefines refinement with the cabin oozing an overwhelming amount of technology offering both driver and passenger the comfort that is expected of such a high class saloon.
It may be a diesel engine in the 7 Series we tested but cabin noise was kept to a minimum, if you were being chauffeur driven then you could just sit back, stretch out and relax without any interference from road or wind noise.
In the car
Once you get behind the wheel, you almost don’t want to leave....well, unless you jump into the rear.
The cabin is effortlessly classy, luxurious and sophisticated. The high gloss Fineline Black wood on the sweeping dash works well with the chrome featured on the steering wheel control buttons, centre console and edge of the display screen.
Coming as standard is the Exclusive Nappa leather throughout the car, expect to feel very snug in front and rear massage seats, rear ones can be reclined for greater comfort. What is noticeable for technology lovers is the 7” display tablet in the rear centre armrest which features the BMW Touch Command system. Ambient lighting, air-conditioning, media, seat adjustment and even rear blinds can all be adjusted at the touch of screen.
A new feature is the Gesture control, wave your hand at the iDrive display screen to control map view, answer phone calls and adjust music volume and the rather snazzy looking display key does more than unlock the car as it’s the first in production in the world to be able to park itself into the garage without even having to be in the vehicle. Genius.
The model continues to be offered with a long wheelbase variant that is 14cm longer and makes it BMW’s largest series-produced car. Open the large doors, step inside and the rear seats consume passengers. There are endless amounts of head and legroom so the tallest people will have no complaints.
The option of what BMW call the Sky Lounge panoramic double sunroof adds a light and spacious element to the model which we loved but if you are looking to have the 7 Series as the ultimate in chauffeur driven luxury, then pull down the centre armrest and hidden in the boot is a fridge, ideal for the champers although expect it to eat away at the huge amount of space in the boot.
The BMW 7 Series costs from £64,530, just a bit more than the Audi A8, but the Jaguar equivalent, the XJ is less starting from £58,690. Like with most models nowadays, once you start adding options then it can become very costly. The panoramic sunroof is £1,695 while the Laserlights will add a further £2,450 to the total. Our test car totalled an eye-watering £95,615.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine emits just 132g/km of CO2 so falls into tax band E, costing £130 annually with a combined fuel economy of 58.9mpg, so running costs will be good not that most owners will be bothered about fuel consumption...
Quality is extremely high in the BMW 7 Series, it’s a car of premium luxury with handcraftmanship evident eveyrhwere. There are no fiddly bits of plastic or leather effect upholstery as it has been designed and engineered to take on the best in its class with groundbreaking technology putting it ahead.
BMW haven’t done so well in reliability ratings of late, struggling behind German rivals, but that being said, the sister 5 Series was the winner in the large executive car category in the recent What Car? Car of the Year 2016 awards, so it won’t be suprising to see the 7 Series acquire some more accolade.
There are plenty of airbags for both front and rear passengers, belt tensioners and ISOFIX in the rear.
Driver assistance systems on the BMW 7 series include Real Time traffic information which will help you to avoid lengthy delays, but be aware though it is an option to have safety systems like rear collision prevention, rear crossing traffic warning, active cruise control and even lane departure warning, which should come as standard considering the price of the car.
Another option is the BMW Laserlights which offer a 600m high beam range and for extra safety the night vision system lets you go all stealth mode as animals, pedestrians, anything with a heat source will be seen on the display screen.