The BMW 7 Series is arguably BMW’s most important car, as it currently stands as the Bavarian’s flagship. It’s the car in which most new production car technologies and techniques debut. So when BMW invites a number of car journalists out to Monticello Race Track, in New York, to test the new 7er out, you can bet your leather-supported bottom that they’re going to be there.
This is exactly what BMW did and there are some recent reports to tell us just what the big Bavarian is all about.
With the exterior and interior design having been exhaustively discussed over the past month or so, most reviews tended to be about how the all-new G11 BMW 7 Series drove. It may seem odd to test the driving dynamics of a nearly 5,000 lb luxury barge on a race track, but apparently it wasn’t such a bad idea. The new 7 Series handles the tight and twisty and elevation changes of Monticello with a level of verve and enthusiasm that isn’t typically associated with large luxury sedans. Steering and turn-in are sharp and accurate. The steering lacks feel, but this is by design as 99 percent of customers in the segment find the little wiggles and tugs associated with good steering feel to be more annoying than engaging. However, the Big 7 does handle sharply, with excellent chassis control for such a big luxury car.
Another factor which helps the 7 Series become a fine driver’s car is that big engine. The familiar 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces a healthy 445 horsepower which, according to BMW, can motivate the 7 Series from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds (though Car and Driver thinks it will be faster, as a similarly powerful Audi A8L 4.0T does the same sprint in under 4 seconds). This tried and true V8 has been praised in the past for its velvety-smooth power delivery and throaty sound. Things are no different in the new 7 Series, where the silky V8’s characteristics are back. Paired with the eight-speed ZF automatic, which now has GPS-assisted shifting, the G11 7 Series’ powertrain is one of the best in the business.
But driving dynamics aren’t the only trick up the new 7 Series’ sleeve. New technologies, such as Gesture Control and remote parking are also available, though the latter won’t be coming to the US market. The Gesture Control was said to work well enough, though it felt a bit gimmicky. It probably needs some fine tuning and will get better as future iterations follow.
This being a U.S. launch, the remote parking wasn’t available to test, but we’ve seen how well it works before. The 7 Series also comes with adaptive air suspension, adaptive dampers, Active Comfort Drive, which checks the road ahead for bumps and imperfections and adjusts the suspension accordingly and also has rear steering along with all-wheel drive. The 7 Series is a massive technological masterpiece.
The Adaptive Air Suspension, which now features a Comfort Plus mode, seemed to work extremely well. The Comfort Plus mode was deemed far too floaty, though it did an incredible job of being completely unperturbed by road imperfections. Comfort mode seemed to be the better comfort setting of the two, as it felt like a comfortable BMW as opposed to the Lincoln-like ride of Comfort Plus. However, many journos felt that Sport mode was the best, as it felt the most like a proper BMW, giving it tight dynamics and body control while still being incredibly comfortable. It’s not as if a 7 Series would ride uncomfortably, even in Sport mode.
The interior is said to be of extremely high quality, with real wood and real metal accompanying anything that might look like real wood or metal. According to head designer Karim Habib, these metal buttons and design touches are as real as they come, so they will be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, so be aware of this before touching a metal button that’s been sitting in direct summer sunlight for hours. Overall, the 7 Series’ interior, with its class-leading backseat space and comfort, is something to behold and befits a car with its price tag. It’s so luxurious, in fact, that it serves as a good stepping stone to BMW’s luxury brand, Rolls Royce.
The BMW 7 Series has always been a car that blends superb luxury with class-leading vehicle dynamics. The previous two generations seemed to have distanced themselves from the latter a bit, in comparison to earlier generations, however this new model seems to be regaining the model’s glory. This new 7 Series seems to blend performance and comfort into the perfect luxury car package. It combines good, yet subtle, looks with an outstanding interior, excellent comfort and class-leading dynamics. The BMW 7 Series we all know and love seems to be back.