BMW 7 Series Saloon full 9 point review
The BMW 7 Series is offered with a choice of petrol (315bhp 740i, 443bhp 750i and 536bhp 760i) and diesel (255bhp 730d and 308bhp 740d) engines, or as a petrol-electric hybrid. The 750i feels astonishingly rapid for such a big, heavy car. The hybrid is less convincing; it’s fast enough, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox is feels troubled by the electric/engine mix. We'd go for the 730d diesel, which has plenty of get up and go.
Ride & Handling
BMW believes the 7 Series is an executive limo that will be driven, and that means it handles tidily for such a massive car. However, it also means the 7 Series gets nowhere near the level of comfort offered by our benchmark, the Mercedes S-Class. It’s too willing to let thuds come through to the cabin when you run over potholes, and it’s too easily unsettled by rippled road surfaces. ?
At cruising speed, the twin-turbocharged V8 petrol of the 750i disappears into the background. This is a supremely smooth engine, and even if you rev it hard, its note is sophisticated. The 730d is similarly quiet at speed, but becomes a tad noisy when worked. That said, you’re far more likely to be troubled by road noise, which intrudes into the cabin at all but the lowest speeds.
Buying & Owning
BMW deserves credit for the figures achieved by the new 7 Series. Even the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 750i dips below 200g/km of CO2 emissions - and this from a huge car that can reach 62mph in less than five seconds. The diesel figures are even better: the 730d emits just 148g/km of CO2, so even accounting for the 3% extra tax penalty for diesel cars, it’s comparatively good value as a company car. The 740d emits just 1g/km more. ?
Quality & Reliability
The 7 Series’ cabin is nicely finished, with a good choice of woods, metal finishes and double-stitched leather in all the right places. It feels superbly screwed together, too. The previous 7 Series lagged behind the Audi A8, Merc S-Class, Jaguar XJ and VW Phaeton in our most recent reliability survey, although BMW did finish ahead of rivals Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar in the overall manufacturer’s table. ?
Safety & Security
The 7 Series contains plenty of safety equipment; there are front and side airbags as standard, while both rows of seats are equipped with head airbags. The driver assistance systems - available as options - include night vision technology that recognises pedestrians, anti-dazzle LED high-beam assistance, and a head-up display that shows speed limits and no-overtaking warnings (by reading the road signs).
Behind The Wheel
The new 7 Series’ dashboard will look familiar to any BMW driver, because the layout is the same as you’d find on, say, a 3 Series. The Seven does get a multi-function dials display, though; it allows the driver to select the range of information shown, and changes automatically according to which of the car’s driving modes you are using. The 10-inch central screen has flashy 3D graphics, and it’s all controlled by the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive system. ?
Space & Practicality
There’s enough room for five adults in the regular wheelbase version, and should you upgrade to the longer wheelbase car, you’ll get a further 140mm of rear legroom and 10mm more rear headroom. The boot is a little on the narrow side, but it’s large enough at around 500 litres. ?
The 7 Series is not a cheap car, so you’ll expect plenty of equipment as standard. That’s certainly the case, with satellite-navigation, four-zone climate control, Bluetooth and electrically adjustable leather seats on every model. Other features are optional or restricted to higher-end variants; you don’t get the configurable instrument dials on the hybrid, for example, and the head-up display is a cost option, too.