BMW as a car manufacturer has been a pioneer when it comes to engineering and technical knowhow. In its illustrious history which harks back to more than a century, this Munich giant has come up with benchmarks in almost every segment they have entered. But despite trying for more than four decades, one car they have never had an answer to is the legendary Mercedes S-Class. In the previous five generations the 7 Series has always been a car with great potential but it was never really enough and it always lived in the shadow of its Stuttgart rival.
In its sixth generation, BMW has put its best step forward and this is by far their best attempt to capture the best car in the world crown, the S-Class has been christened with for nearly five decades. In today’s world of cutting costs, BMW has gone all out and developed an all-new chassis, which is not only lighter but a lot more rigid than before. The cabin has been completely revamped too and special attention has been paid to creature comfort especially at the back. Potent powertrains has always been BMW’s strength and this surely promises to be a limousine to take on the best in the world. Has BMW succeeded in doing just that?
It will take a keen eye to identify the new, sixth-generation 7 Series over the old one. It is just over an inch longer, while its width and height are quite similar. The styling is an evolution of the old car but it does have a better sense of proportion. In profile the prominent shoulder-line crease gives it a balanced look thanks to it extending all the way from the headlamps to the complex shaped tail lights. Upfront the new 7 Series looks much better thanks to a sharper kidney grille and the beautifully detailed LED headlamps(the old cars huge swollen grille was a sore sight). At the rear the taillamps and the twin exhaust dominates and the blackened lower portion in the bumper help in hiding the mass. Indians love for chrome is no secret and BMW has given abundance of silverware to keep us happy. But still in our eyes there is just too much of it and bits like the hockey stick like elements on either side of the front bumper looks overdone.
Beneath the similar exterior, however, the new 7 Series gets an all-new chassis. Christened the “Carbon Core” structure, the chassis is a a mix of carbon-fibre, aluminum, and high-strength steel. The carbon fibre is used in areas such as the A-, B-, and C-pillars to keep the centre of gravity down and the transmission tunnel is made up of carbon composite too.
BMW breaks no new ground with the interiors of the new 7 Series. The design is quite similar to the old car and even the centre console design looks similar to the old Seven. But when you look closely you will be staggered by the attention to detail in this BMW. The dashboard materials and craftsmanship is top drawer and not one element looks out of place in this one crore plus car’s cabin. Like in most modern cars the iDrive now sits on top of the dashboard and the screen is bigger and crisper than any other BMW. The front seats are just fantastic and the adjustments for height, contour and squab make them more comfortable than a king’s throne. But thanks to the massive length and wheelbase the rear bench is even more comfortable. You get pampered by a bench that reclines, adjusts for thigh support and have a massage function which makes it a place hard to get out of. Rear space will make your house feel cramped and thanks to the large windows and great seat height, it’s a very nice place to be in.
As this is BMW’s flagship sedan, the 7 Series is a showcase of what all you can have in a car. The i-Drive system is better than ever before thanks to it now incorporating touch screen while also retaining the control knob. Thus jumping through the innumerable submenus has never been easier. The i-Drive control knob top also has a scratch pad which helps you dial a number or search for the next destination you want to navigate to while keeping your eyes on the road. But BMW has gone well beyond just touchscreens to make this a truly wholesome experience. BMW has even given the new Seven, Gesture Control. A sensor on the dashboard recognises five hand gestures - rotating your finger clockwise or anticlockwise turns up or down the audio volume, a swiping motion cancels an incoming phone call, while pointing at the dash accepts it. Finally, you can also choose a favourite function and you can activate it using a two-finger jab. Although it’s an innovative addition the Gesture control is not flaw-free and it makes you ridiculous whenever it doesn’t work.
Rear-seat passengers won’t feel left out too, as they have a touch screen of their own in the form a removable Tablet with various loaded apps that can adjust the climate controls, the seats, and the infotainment system. You can also use the tablet to surf the web via the Wi-fi hotspot and you also get two screens at the back. If this wasn’t enough, you also get a touch screen on the secondary key fob. It can tell you whether the car is locked, the windows are open, and the fuel level and range.
The 7 Series is available in India in an 4.4-litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre diesel guise. Our test car has the 3.0-litre straight six that makes 262bhp and 620kgm of torque. Push the engine start button and the car settles into a smooth, if slightly audible idle. But once on the move it smoothens out and it feels incredibly refined and quiet – and it's hard to tell there's a lump of diesel hardware under the hood.
Push down on the throttle and you'll feel the nose rise slightly as you get gently pushed into your seats as the engine's strong, creamy mid-range kicks in. The eight-speed torque converter automatic smoothly snaps up ratios and and you ride in one linear tidal wave which only starts fading when you're near 200kph. The 730d, weighing in at 1950kg, will hit 100kph in an incredible 6.29sec which is phenomenal for such a big car.
What's immediately apparent on the move is how good this car's low speed ride is. Set in 'Comfort' mode, small imperfections are smothered comfortably. It's only sharper expansion joints and potholes that get relayed into the cabin with a thud as the car runs out of clearance. This, we feel is also down to the large 19-inch rims our M Sport-spec car was shod with. Also, in comfort there is a fair bit of body movement and the the 730d simply doesn't ride with the same authority, that the S-Class does over our roads. Ride is a lot flatter in sport mode but the suspension also tends to crash a lot more and this is why the Adaptive mode works the best where the suspension constantly adapts according to the road condition.
Despite the soft setup, the way this mammoth goes around fast corners is breathtaking. It hangs on unbelievably with just a hint of tyre squeal as you approach the limits. This car feels safe and secure at high speeds and it is definitely sportier and more youthful than an S-Class. The steering is also quite direct but it trades in real feel for artificially induced weight, which is okay. Not too many owners will be looking for steering feel, much less spend time behind the wheel. Brakes though feel a bit soggy and a more linear pedal feel would have been welcomed.
|Variant||730d M Sport|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||262 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||620 @ 2000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78|
|Tyre size||275/40 R19|
|All-four powered seats||Yes|
|iDrive with touch and gesture control||Yes|
|8-speed auto gearbox||Yes|
|Rear seat entertainment||Yes|
|Rear seats with massage function||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||M Sport||S 350 CDI||50 TDI Plus||3.0 Premium Luxury|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||262 @ 4000||245 @ 2910||247 @ 4000||296 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||620 @ 2000||600 @ 1500||580 @ 1750||700 @ 2000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78||70||82||83|
|Tyre size||275/40 R19||245/40 R18||235/55 R18||245/50 R18|
The new 7 Series is a huge step ahead of the previous model. Equipped with a fantastic diesel motor, a cabin that is supremely comfortable and levels of equipment you can only dream of, the 7 Series is better than ever before. While it does most things brilliantly, it does have its shortcomings. The cabin design could have been more revolutionary, ride is not as settled as it could have been and ground clearance is an issue too. However, the sixth generation 7 Series is a very good all-round car. Priced at a competitive Rs 1.24 crore (ex-showroom Delhi), BMW’s flagship is sure to give Merc a better run for its money this time around.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane