- Superb quality cabin but looks like other BMWs
- Touchscreen complements iDrive system
- Gesture control available as an inexpensive option
The biggest difference here – since on first glance the cabin looks much like the rest of the large BMW range – is the addition of a touch-interface for the infotainment screen. It can still be operated using the iDrive, but the ability to prod, swipe and pinch at the screen like you would a smartphone will be more intuitive to some.
Of course, the firm’s Gesture Control option may be less intuitive at first. Certainly, our experience with the system suggested it’ll take a little while to ensure you are both waving your hand around in the correct place and at the correct speed. It is curiously satisfying to dismiss an incoming telephone call with a disregarding swipe of your fingers…
The cabin smells rather nice too, thanks to the option of the 7 Series’ Ambient Air Package, which can ionise the air to help with allergies and fragrance the cabin. There are six different scents available, with four included on each new 7 Series as standard.
Hugely customisable driving position
Getting comfortable is easy, thanks to plenty of electric adjustment of both the steering wheel and seats, which are also heated and offer a massage on the move. The multifunction instrument display is clear and easy to read, as is the main infotainment display, while the touch-sensitive controls for the climate control are a joy to use.
Those in the back are treated to generous levels of legroom, especially in the long-wheelbase model with its extra 140mm between the wheels, and the fit and finish around the cabin is superb.
We’d also wager that the interior design, while not as distinctive as that interior of an S-Class, is more refined and restrained with an ability to stand the test of time.
The new BMW 7 Series models are equipped as standard with a hands-free phone system including wireless charging. Previously situated under the centre console armrest, the tray for smartphones that support wireless charging is now positioned immediately in front of the cupholders. LED ambient lighting with a choice of six colours is available as standard.
Standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional
In front of the driver is a high-resolution instrument cluster measuring of 12.3-inches, and a second 10.25-inch Control Display.
Completing the package is an adaptive sat-nav system with a hard-drive offering up to 320 GB of memory. The infotainment screen can be set up with different tiles, showing navigation info or what song is playing.
Software can be upgraded remotely over the air or by using a smartphone to make sure the BMW 7 Series is as up-to-date as possible too.
- Still slightly firmer than the Mercedes S-Class
- Air suspension standard, predictive system optional
- Long-wheelbase models have 140mm more rear legroom
If there’s one element a limo has to nail, it is this one, and even before you start to experience the car first-hand it’s clear that BMW 7 Series comfort is an improvement over previous cars.
This model is longer than its predecessor and boasts a class-leading wheelbase length, ensuring there’s plenty of room for occupants to stretch out and get comfortable.
A range of quiet and refined diesel and petrol engines - especially the plug-in hybrid - add to the serenity on the move, and the 7 Series proves a comfortable and relaxing place to spend time.
Drag is reduced by the active air flap control, Air Curtains and Air Breathers, plus cladding covering almost the entire underbody. This helps efficiency as well as cutting down wind noise.
Furthermore there is more extensive sound deadening in the rear wheel arches, B-pillar, and rear seat backrest, plus glass with an increased thickness of 5.1 millimetres to help keep things quiet.
Luxurious materials throughout
It’s clearly stacked with standard kit to ensure your experience is more cosseting than usual, with softer Nappa hide, the rear seats coming complete with Alcantara Comfort Pillows on their headrests – like you’d find in a Mercedes S-Class.
Opt for the BMW Individual package and the seats can be wrapped in fine-grain Merino leather, with an open-pore structure and super-soft surface.
Both front and rear seats are heated as standard, while the Heat Comfort pack warms the armrests and steering wheel for colder climes. Massages are available on the move too, with eight different relaxing programs plus the addition of a Vitality Program to offer exercise on the move for passengers.
Lots of cosseting tech
Previously the 7 Series was only fitted with air suspension on the rear wheels, but now it has been deployed across the fronts as well, and is self-levelling. Variable dampers are employed to alter the reactions of the car according to the preset selection of the user, and electromechanical active roll stabilisation stops the 7 Series from rolling around significantly.
Choose to add the Executive Drive Pro system (all cars barring the plug-in hybrid) and between 9-60mph the 7 Series uses its cameras to scan the road ahead for imperfections or changes in direction and topography before altering the suspension to suit – effectively pre-setting its responses ready for what’s ahead.
Add the Executive Lounge Console option, or choose the long-wheelbase model, and the passenger experience is even more comfortable thanks to rear seats that recline at up to 42.5 degrees and a front passenger seat that can be slid forward by 90mm for extra rear legroom.
A fold out table, two cup-holders and seven-inch Touch Command tablet, which can be used outside of the car as well, increase rear-seat comfort.
The latter can be used to adjust the seats, lighting and climate control, as well as the infotainment, navigation and communication systems. Passengers can watch Blu-ray discs on two 10-inch full-HD displays too.
The BMW 7 series makes a welcoming impression at night too with the Welcome Light Carpet, which projects a walkway of light towards the door when you open the vehicle and six different interior ambient light colours to choose from.