Driven: BMW 7 Series
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- Will scare many a sports car
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BMW 7 Series
On sale Now
You’ll like: Fabulous composure brilliant diesel engine
You won’t: Long wheelbase cars aren’t comfortable enough
You need to be pretty light on your feet just to survive in business these days, but if you’re looking to trim the fat an all-new BMW 7 Series may not be the most obvious place to start.
Stick with us though, because the 7 Series is built using plenty of aluminium, not steel, so it’s a lot lighter than the old car – and in terms of efficiency, lighter is always better.
That efficiency is made even better thanks to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology, which features regenerative brakes, active aerodynamics and on-demand ancillaries as its high points.
The upshot is that the all-new 3.0-litre diesel-engined Seven is capable of average economy of 39mpg, while a CO2 output of just 192g/km means you’ll pay company car tax at just 29%. Pretty good for a large executive car.
BMW has always made cars that drive well, and it’s no different here – the big 7 Series is dynamic enough to scare many a sports car. That diesel engine may pack a punch, but it’s also quiet, flexible and smooth, so your passengers will never guess you fill up at the black pump.
If you really must have extra legroom, BMW offers a long-wheelbase version, with a choice of two petrol engines. You can have a 3.0-litre straight six or 4.4-litre V8, both of which have twin turbochargers, so they’ll hit hard and drink pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, the long-wheelbase model isn’t as comfortable as the shorter version, despite four different suspension settings on offer. Everything’s fine on smooth motorways, but things are less encouraging when you hit a poorly repaired B-road or typically scarred city surfaces. You won’t get bounced about, but there’s certainly enough patter to rustle the pages of your FT.
In the cabin
The dash retains the wood, leather and pot-bellied style of its predecessor but gone are the dual instrument binnacles, the steering wheel mounted gear selector and the superfluous gearshift paddles. Instead, you get a more traditional layout and a simpler iDrive controller that lets you access a myriad of climate, navigation and entertainment menus.
Quality is generally excellent, although the clammy rubber insert in the door pulls don’t immediately smack of luxury and the switches are not in the same league as the beautifully crafted aluminium items found in a Mercedes S-Class.
Obviously, there’s loads of space to stretch out and there’s a big boot that will swallow a couple of bags of golf clubs and a stack of luggage for well-earned break.
Luxury and efficiency? Yes, you can have both
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