With the recent announcement of news about the upcoming G11/G12 7 Series, and all the excitement which surrounds it, it seems as if we’ve been getting very caught up in all of the technical specs and not the way it drives and feels. The 7 Series was always the car for BMW enthusiasts who’ve grown up and decided to buy a luxury car, but still long for that great driving experience. In recent iterations, the 7er seems to have gotten away from the driving experience being the main priority, even Project head Walter Schindlbeck acknowledged so. This time, however, BMW is putting the Ultimate Driving Experience back into the 7 Series.
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In the comment section of most of the features we did on the 7 Series, many readers and fans were concerned about the perceived lack of focus towards driving feel, handling and performance. Many claimed that BMW was more concerned with gesture control and adaptive cruise control than actual driving. And while BMW has been focusing quite a bit on those things, it has to in this segment after all, the Bavarians have been working steadfast on making sure the new G11/G12 drives like a proper BMW.
According to some recent circuit test drives in Miramas, France, Car and Driver reports that the new 7 Series drives with the verve and enthusiasm as BMWs of yore. The folks at C&D seem optimistic that this new 7er will return BMW to the top of the luxury-yacht segment. Some of the notable driving dynamics reported were the ride, steering and performance. According to multiple accounts, the new 7 Series rides like a dream, thanks in part to the as-standard air suspension. Bumps and cracks are soaked up with nary a murmur. The 7 just steamrolls the road imperfections without the slightest upset in the chassis, just smooth and confident progression.
The new engine seems to be quite a gem too. With similar feel and response to the outgoing N55, which is quite the compliment actually, the new B58 turbocharged straight-six engine can motivate the Big 7 with all the enthusiasm one will need. Obviously, there will be an eight-cylinder engine and a diesel available in the future, but the baseline six will do just fine. Plus there’s something special about a 7 Series with a straight-six, it just seems right. The B58 is technically an elongated version of the engine in the MINI Cooper S and, being part of BMW’s new modular engine line, shows promise for the future of BMW engines.
An important part of the drive that C&D reported was about the steering. They felt that the steering was back to business as usual for BMW, as it was accurate and properly weighted. They did complain about the level of feedback, or lack thereof, but noted that this is done purposely. Apparently, according to engineers for BMW, it’s quite easy for them to tune in steering feel with the electric power steering, but the customer base for the 7 Series don’t seem to enjoy it. So by demand, BMW must give the 7 Series, and most likely all luxury cars, slightly vague steering. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, it seems.
But despite any lack of steering feedback, the G11/G12 seems to be the 7 Series we’ve all been waiting years for. One with athletic driving dynamics reminiscent of 7 Series past, such as the E38. The 7 Series was never meant to be a boring luxo-barge like some of its competitors are. The 7 is meant to give its driver all the comfort and luxury they could desire when they want it, but be able to tackle a canyon road like a sports car when asked to. While the previous 7er was a competent dance partner, this new 7 Series seems to be a willing one. And that’s more exciting than any techno-features in the world.