I’d forgive you if you don’t because it was almost twenty years ago. I remember watching it with my dad and he kept saying that it was unrealistic, it will never happen. I spent time behind the wheel of the most luxurious BMW ever made, the sixth generation 750Li, and my old man was wrong, well sort of...
The latest 7 Series offers technology that would even baffle Bonds tech guy, Q. Before I get into that let me first elaborate a bit on the car as a luxury item.
For starters the long-wheel base version is huge, it’s around five meters long. The car exudes power from every angle, and not in a mechanical sense but in an image sort of way. This is the kind of car that people who own countries will drive around, like the Guptas. As for the looks, well it is about time that we got a good looking 7 Series. The previous models have featured some questionable styling elements. This new one though looks good, stately and thanks to the chrome blade like insert along the lower doors it looks modern as well.
The front kidney shaped grille is unmistakably BMW however this time, when parked there are louvers which close the gaps between the grille. This is to eliminate the view of the radiator which BMW feels shouldn’t be visible on a car of this calibre. They are also active when on the move, aiding in improving aerodynamics. The car that I tested was fitted with an M-Performance kit which utilises sportier looking front and rear bumpers as well as massive M-Style rims. To be honest I think this car looks better with the standard sophisticated body kit rather than the sportier one.
Inside the car is where the magic happens. Leather and wood covers just about everything and once your bum lands on the seat you know that you are in something special. Close the door and the outside world evades you. The new 7 Series cocoons you in luxury, no matter where you sit.
In the back is where you want to be. Why you ask? Well, being the L version there is added leg room for extra comfort, the car was also fitted with the lounge package which gives the rear seats massaging functions with ventilation they can also be adjusted electronically and the head rests are soft pillows. Call it first class or business class but it is the place to be after a long day at work.
Now, onto the tech. The new flagship BMW features so much technology and features that I’ve had to narrow it down to things that I liked. For starters, the iDrive system has been improved so it is easier to navigate through the many menus and submenus. The LCD screen is now, for the first time on a luxury German car, touch sensitive. It work much like a tablet which is nice. There is also gesture control, another first. The system picks up on specific hand movements which do certain functions. Swirl your finger and you can adjust the volume, swipe your hand and you can reject a call. I will admit that turning a knob or pressing a button on the steering wheel is quicker though.
At the back there are screens mounted to the back of the front seats, an actual tablet imbedded into the arm rest as well as a remote control and a wireless phone. The tablet is removable and can be used to control just about everything, except the driving unfortunately.
Talking about driving, the 7 Series delivers one of the best in terms of comfort. Most BMW’s have a Sport+ setting, well this car has a Comfort+. This sets the air suspension into maximum marshmallow mode. Bumps and undulations in the road disappear, the car just wafts along. Activate the adaptive cruise control and the lane-keep assist as well as autonomous steering, set the massage function to your desired preference and you are in a world of effortlessness, staying awake was the only task I had. Well, until you select Sport mode, which I only did about twice.
Push that and the entire car firms up, even your seat. The 4.4-litre twin turbocharged engine - borrowed from the M5 - bursts into life, the dials on the LCD trip computer turn red, the dials themselves change, now just big, prominent numbers and they need to be. With around 330kW and 650Nm of torque under your big toe the car is bewilderingly fast. Due to its luxury nature, even in a sportier mode you never feel as if you are smashing the speed limit, which you kind of are and by quite a distance if not careful.
Pop it back into Comfort or Eco Pro mode and the car adapts to your desires. It calms down and resumes its tranquil nature. Another thing that impressed me about this car is the rear steering. At low speeds the rear wheels turn ever so slightly opposite to the front, this means that parking this whale is actually easy, made even easier by one of the best surround view camera systems available today.
After a week with the car I can understand why so many wealthy people choose to drive in cars like this. It delivers a stress free environment, yet it is still able to connect you to the outside world. It delivers true BMW driving thrill if needed and it is jam packed with class leading technology. How I wish I owned an oil well or two.
There is so much more about the BMW 7 Series that I have not touched on. For more detailed insight have a glance at my article about the technology found in the new 7 Series here.