This M Sport is an updated variant of the sixth-gen BMW 7 Series that we tested last year. Wait, isn't this the car that was launched in mid-2016? Yes, but BMW wanted to add some more features to their full-sized flagship sedan. The top-of-the-line trim is still the M-Sport (which we have on test here), which now comes with additional comfort features which we’ll come to later. So the 6th generation 7 Series comes with a chassis which is made up of high strength steel, aluminium and they have used carbon fibre in key areas to increase rigidity and reduce weight. This being a flagship from the Munich manufacturer, we expect nothing less than loads of tech onboard and more importantly we are ought to discover how much more does it pamper the occupants with the additional features.
BMW has played it safe in terms of exterior styling on the new Seven. So there is a high probability that you might not be able to tell the difference between the old and the new car. But dig under the skin and you will find a limousine that shares almost nothing with its predecessor. Like mentioned before it comes with a high tech hybrid chassis and the use of light components have resulted in a weight loss of nearly 130kg. Despite the evolutionary route taken by BMW, the sedan looks dapper with its elegant styling especially when viewed in profile. The fascia boasts new sharper BMW's Laser headlamps making it just the second model to sport them after the i8 hybrid. On the downside, in the M Sport trim the front looks a bit too busy considering it’s a luxury sedan and it might not appeal to everyone. Although from the back it looks like any other BMW sedan, here the designers have got the proportions right. The beautifully detailed tail lamps, the chiseled bumper flanked by the twin exhaust pipes and a dash of chrome inserts just makes the rear look rich and purposeful. What we really liked were the multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels which look even better once the car is in motion.
On the inside BMW has stuck to their tried and tested formula with a driver-centric dashboard design and familiar layout to the one you’ll find on most of their products. But where the 7 Series and the rest differ is in terms of the sheer attention to detail and material quality on offer here. Quality is next to flawless and other than the driving mode plastic buttons which are finished in gloss black (they are a finger print magnet) there isn’t one place where you can point and call cheap.
Then there’s the intuitive 10.25-inch iDrive screen which can be operated via the familiar round scroll knob or via touchscreen or via gesture control. After spending considerable time using it we found using it through the knob to be the easiest as once use to you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to operate it. The gesture control works but isn’t perfect and feels more like work in progress. Few years down the line I am sure it will work better and apart from coming in many cars it will make driving even more stress free.
Finding the perfect driving position is easy, thanks to the electronically adjustable seat and the large seats themselves are comfortable even for tall people. The fact that they also get adjustable squab and lumber support just add to the overall comfort.
But it is the rear seat where the 7 Series need to shine and honestly I can’t think of many better back seats than the 7 Series. The 2017 7 Series now comes with rear seats that adjust for height, recline, length and you can also convert it a recliner couch (you also get electrically operated footrest) for business-class like comfort. If you are tired after a long day of work you can also use the massaging option or switch to exercise program to relax those sore muscles. Then there is the ambience which thanks to the large moon roof with ambient lighting (you can choose from various colours to go with your mood). Thanks to the conventional three-box design, headroom is in abundance despite sitting quite high in here. The legroom is possibly the best-in-class too and even Shaquille O’Neal can stretch his legs with some space to spare.
In terms of equipment, the 7 Series comes packed with all the best that BMW could possibly get in - right from wireless charging to remote parking. The digital instrument cluster isn’t the easiest to figure out at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it offers a lot of information. The touch screen system in the front supports gesture control providing intuitive access to the world of entertainment. Similarly, there is one screen behind each front seat paired to a remote access controller. Apart from these two large screens there's one more in the centre arm rest to control your massage options and air-conditioning. If you are not left-handed, but sitting on the right side (or vice-versa) wouldn't it be difficult to control the touch pad in the centre console? BMW thought about this and so has given you the option of getting the screen out, which by the way is a Samsung Tabloid. Trigger the massage function from here and those little bags inside the seats start inflating and deflating. Through this screen you can adjust the seats too, choose the music you want to play and enjoy the different kinds of exercises program. While you do this, the Harman Kardon surround-sound system will take care of all your infotainment needs.
Another exciting part of the equipment is the additional key fob apart from the regular keyless entry key. The new fob is a thick touch screen unit, something very futuristic. It shows the vehicle information, range and you can even preset the cabin temperature before entering the car. The best part, however, is the remote controlled parking feature. While new age cars park themselves in a tight spot when you are in them, the 7 Series lets you do that while you stand next to it. Very useful for tight parallel parking. Also on the safety front, a bevy of safety features including dual airbags, front side airbags, rear seat side airbags, knee airbags, front seat active head restraints, 360 degree camera, reverse assist, ABS, EBD traction control etc. continue to build on the reputation for occupant safety.
The 730Ld's 3.0-litre inline-six turbodiesel direct-injection motor offers strong performance with 620Nm of torque peaking from a low 2,000rpm, while 262bhp of max power comes in at 4,000rpm. This engine is super refined and there is hardly any noise filtering into the cabin thanks to the excellent sound insulation. In fact, at idle, it’s nearly electric car quiet. Once on the road, it gets even more impressive. The crisp throttle response makes you feel in sync with the mill, while the ZF-sourced eight-speed gearbox goes hand in hand with the engine. It is fairly quick to respond to throttle inputs and the gear-ratios are well-thought-out too. Within the city or on the highway, the 7's torquey engine, does a great job of pulling away from other cars and traffic, eventually also making for a very calm and relaxed drive.
The car features three engine modes – sport, comfort and eco pro. The engine is most enthusiastic in sending power to the rear wheels in the sport mode, while the throttle response is optimised in the comfort and eco pro modes. This is keeping in mind the relaxed demeanor this kind of luxury sedan is supposed to have.
The sedan’s handling around the bends is quite impressive too. Defying its size and weight with this BMW, you can push through corners much faster than you anticipate and the well weighted steering gives you good feedback too. Ofcourse it’s not a sports car and the soft air suspension makes it feel a bit disconnected and floaty. In terms of ride it isn’t perfect though. At low speeds in comfort the suspension does an admirable job of isolating the passengers from the road surface. But typical of air springs, sudden sharp edged road irregularities does catch it out (you can hear a loud thunk inside the cabin). Even at high speeds comfort mode is a bit too soft as the car wallows over undulating surfaces. This is where we felt, that either Sport or Adaptive setting worked best where excessive body movements are kept well in check. In addition, the low ground clearance also makes it imperative to go slow over the larger ruts and bumps despite it getting lift function to increase its clearance.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||262bhp @ 4,000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||620Nm @ 2,000|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78|
|Tyre size||245/45 R19, 275/40 R19|
|19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels||Yes|
|Different driving modes||Yes|
|Digital key fob with remote parking||Yes|
|Reclining seats with massage options||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||730d Ld||S 350 CDI|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||262bhp @ 4,000||255bhp @ 3,600|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||620Nm @ 2,000||620Nm @ 1,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78||70|
|Tyre size||245/45 R19, 275/40 R19||245/45 R18, 245/40 R18|
This BMW 7 series 730Ld M Sport priced at Rs 1.23 crore (Ex-showroom Delhi) is a feature-laden, comfortable yet sporty-to-drive luxury sedan. As against the S-Class 350 CDI which is priced at Rs 1.19 crore, the BMW is lighter, more powerful, has more features and gets a longer wheelbase. Also BMW has proved it to be the pioneer in infotainment and convenience features. So, the 7 Series still gets the brownie points for the overall packaging as they have got all of the best they can in their flagship luxury saloon. Is it better than the S-Class? It’s seems so close that we can’t wait to pit these giants against each other.