BMW 7 Series Saloon full 9 point review
The 7 Series is quick for such a big car. Power comes from turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol or diesel engines, or a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder petrol. Whichever you choose, acceleration is effortless and extremely rapid. The 730d diesel has more torque than the 740i six-cylinder petrol, but outright performance is similar. The 740d and 750i petrol models are seriously quick. Progress is effortlessly smooth thanks to BMW’s brilliant eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Ride & Handling
The 7 Series is comparatively light, thanks to its part-carbonfibre construction, and its sophisticated suspension has self-levelling air springs and variable dampers. The Executive Drive Pro option even scans the road ahead and adjusts the suspension accordingly. The result is a car that’s impressively agile, and which grips and handles well. xDrive four-wheel drive models have even better traction. It’s a shame the steering has a detached feel, though, and that the low-speed ride is fidgety.
Whether you choose a petrol or diesel engine the 7 Series scores highly for engine refinement and each unit is so powerful that you rarely need to push it out of its comfort zone. Wind noise is muted, too, but although the 7 is a quiet cruiser its big tyres kick up some noise over rough roads . The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is one of the smoothest around.
Buying & Owning
The 7 Series is competitively priced compared with rivals such as the Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ. Private buyers should be able to negotiate healthy discounts, but residual values are unlikely to be as strong as those of comparatively priced SUVs. Running costs for the 730d are impressively low due to its efficient engine – it’s the sweet spot in the range for value. The petrol engines are far less frugal and emit more CO2. A five-year/50,000-mile inclusive servicing package is standard.
Quality & Reliability
There’s no mistaking the 7 Series for anything less than the brand’s flagship model – it’s pulled out all the stops with an interior that uses opulent materials and lots of smart details. Option packs allow buyers to customise it further. Quality and finish is first-rate, although some parts are familiar from cheaper BMW models. BMW didn’t perform well in our latest reliability survey, although Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes finished even lower. A three-year unlimited mileage warranty is standard.
Safety & Security
Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the 7 Series but it would be surprising if it didn’t score well. The 7 Series comes with six airbags and lots of electronic driving aids, although city braking as standard only on the more powerful models. It’s optional on others, as is a pack that groups together a range of semi-autonomous features that can brake and steer for you to help avoid a collision. An alarm is standard and Thatcham awarded the 7 top marks for its resistance to being driven away.
Behind The Wheel
The 7 Series is a car that’s easy to get comfortable in. The driving position is good, and there’s a wide range of electric adjustment for the seats and steering wheel. BMW’s intuitive iDrive control system is supplemented by a touchscreen and hand gesture recognition. Once you’ve got used to the silver-on-sliver buttons on the centre console, and the wealth of high-tech functions, it’s all very user-friendly. Visibility is good and there are front and rear parking sensors as standard.
Space & Practicality
Even in standard-wheelbase form the 7 Series is five metres long and seats four adults in comfort. Long-wheelbase versions have even more palatial rear leg room; a range of option packs provide those in the back with seat massaging and ventilation functions. The boot lid is an electrically operated lid and the luggage space is large and well shaped. A load-through function is available as an option.
You don’t need to tick many option boxes with the 7 Series because it’s fantastically well equipped. As befits a luxury saloon, all versions come with four-zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors and sat-nav. You also get a rear-view camera, heated front and rear seats, a powered boot lid and on-board wi-fi. M Sport models add cosmetic upgrades and bespoke exterior styling, while a plethora of high-tech options and bespoke interior trims are available.