This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW 7-Series review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The 7-Series was launched with two V8 engines - the 735i (which is actually a 3.6-litre engine) with 272bhp and the 745i (a 4.4-litre with 333bhp). Both are smooth and refined as you'd expect with strong performance too. But the real pace comes from the flagship 760i which was introduced in late 2002. This potent V12 has 445bhp on tap and a 0-62mph time of just 5.5 seconds but it's as thirsty as you'd expect with an average economy of just 21mpg.

The sole diesel - a straight-six 3.0-litre in the 730d arrived in 2003 and with punchy performance (0-62mph comes up in just 8 seconds) and decent economy of 33mpg it's the best choice for reasonable running costs. At the same time the 730i was launched - but although more powerful than the 730d, it's no quicker and more thirsty so there seems little point choosing it.

All models are mated to an automatic gearbox with standard and sport settings and steering wheel mounted controls.

As you'd expect, the 7-Series rides exceptionally well, but that doesn't mean it's wallowy in corners and thanks to decent body control it is capable of surprising agility when asked. The suspension specification depends upon the model and options selected. A Sport pack adds lower, stiffer springs, while the Adaptive Ride features self-adjusting dampers and counter-corrects body roll when cornering - it also offers a choice of ride quality options.

Irrespective of specification the 7-Series remains true to the BMW ethos of producing a car that will meet the needs of the driver, but one that also keeps those in the back totally unruffled.