An engaging driver’s car in a limousine world
- Driver appeal
- Derivative looks
- Rear seat space
- Expensive options
Six generations in and the BMW 7 Series still showcases the talents and technologies of the firm and its engineers, with 13 industry firsts debuting on this model set to filter down into the rest of the BMW range.
For much of its four decade-long history, the 7 Series has been in the shadow of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class – and to a lesser extent the Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 – but the firm believes this latest model will see that balance redressed.
More technology, more luxury
Included in the baker’s dozen of industry firsts introduced on this-generation BMW 7 Series is the firm’s Gesture Control, which reduces the reliance on physical buttons to control various functions within the cabin.
Sensors near the rear-view mirror detect hand movements from the driver, with a simple rotation of the wrist enough to change the stereo’s volume or a dismissive swipe of the hand able to reject an incoming phonecall. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do it’s strangely satisfying.
Parking this gargantuan car can even be done while you’re stood outside, thanks to the Display key with its own 2.4-inch screen; stand within four metres and operate the controls, and the 7 Series will drive forward or reverse slowly into your selected space.
Ambient Air Fragrance with ionisation allows the climate control to reduce any harmful or irritant particles from the air inside the car, improving the experience for any allergy sufferers, plus dispersing a fragrance of your choice.
At night BMW’s Laserlights take LED technology one step further, with a full-beam reach that doubles previous systems’, with faster reactions and more precise beam pattern. Meanwhile the Welcome Light Carpet will project an illuminated walkway to the doors when you unlock the vehicle after the sun has gone down.
Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines
In typical BMW fashion, the 7 Series engine line-up was gradually expanded from launch, now comprising of three petrol choices – including the M760Li with a V12 powerplant and a 3.7-second 0-62mph time, two diesels and the plug-in hybrid 740e versions.
All engines are turbocharged – the slowest 0-62mph time is still sprightly at 6.2 seconds for the 730Ld – and are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the hybrid that leads the efficiency stakes with an official claim as high as 134.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 49g/km.
Long-wheelbase and xDrive available
The 7 Series is longer (by 19mm) than its predecessor, with the longest wheelbase in its class, but if you need even more room for your rear passengers a long-wheelbase model is also available – denoted by an L in the model designation. This increases the distance between the wheels by 140mm, giving rear-seat passengers enough room to properly stretch out.
It’s even more luxurious if the buyer of the car has opted for the Executive Lounge Seating that offers two rear chairs with an adjustable backrest angle (up to 42.5 degrees) and a front passenger seat that can slide forward by up to 90mm.
There’s a fold-out table and extra storage compartment there too, and occupants can control various functions from the firm’s Touch Command removable tablet while enjoying their own entertainment on the rear screens.
For the first time in the UK the BMW 7 Series is available with the firm’s xDrive four-wheel drive system too, which apportions power to the wheels that need it most.
BMW 7 Series saloon model history
- October 2015 – Sixth-generation 7 Series saloon introduced in 730d, 730d xDrive, 730Ld and 740Li guises, all fitted with a raft of cutting edge technology including gesture control for some of the main interior functions and a carbonfibre-heavy understructure for lightness and strength. Standard and M Sport trims are available.
- November 2015 – Range expanded further with the launch of the 740d xDrive, 740Ld xDrive and 750i versions in standard and M Sport guises.
- February 2016 – All 7 Series variants now available with remote control automatic parking, allowing the driver to be outside of the vehicle as it glides into a bay.
- April 2016 – Strictly limited edition M760Li xDrive V12 The Next 100 Years introduced to mark BMW’s centenary – only 100 models will be available globally. All are painted Centennial Blue, with a Smoke White leather interior. Power comes from BMW’s 610hp 6.6-litre V12 engine.
- May 2016 – Exclusive trim level introduced with an even greater focus on comfort, with an Executive Lounge package now available on long-wheelbase models, replacing the earlier ‘standard’ models. The previous Executive package is renamed the Premium package at the same time.
- October 2016 – Range expanded with the introduction of the plug-in hybrid 740e and 740Le xDrive, the long-wheelbase versions with four-wheel drive. Power comes from an electric motor working in conjunction with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
- January 2017 – High-performance M760Li xDrive V12 and the more luxurious M760Li xDrive V12 Excellence with more chrome available to order. Both have the 6.6-litre V12 engine producing 610hp.
- March 2017 – Increased elements for the optional Driving Assistant Plus package including steering assistance up 100mph during obstacle avoidance manoeuvres and a remote 3D view of the car when negotiating narrow roads and parking areas.