Auto focus

Wooing GenX millionaires with gizmos and a glitzy cabin

S Muralidhar | Updated on January 20, 2018

Loaded with tech: The BMW 7-series spoils its passengers a gesture controlled infotainment system and a tablet that is built into the back seat S MURALIDHAR

bl25_BMW-2.JPG

bl25_BMW-4.JPG

bl25_BMW-3.JPG

bl25_BMW-5.JPG

IMG_1113.JPG

IMG_1115.JPG

IMG_1118.JPG

IMG_1122.JPG

The new BMW 7 Series boasts of classier interiors and is loaded with tech goodies. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class now has serious competition from Bavaria

In the contest for the top spot of the full-size luxury saloon, the BMW 7 Series has trailed the Mercedes-Benz S-Class for many years now. The Merc saloon’s price was, on average, ten per cent higher than the 7 Series and yet it sold more than twice as may in the US, one of the biggest markets for this category of cars. That was the situation till last year.

By the last quarter of 2015, BMW had launched the new 7 Series sedan – its flagship in a fresh, tech-laden, feature-rich avatar. This is now an ICBM, capable of fending off the threat from the S-Class, the Audi A8 and even the Porsche Panamera. The 2016 BMW 7 Series now ticks off a number of check boxes that were earlier missing and it has a few novel new features, though a few of them like the BMW Remote Control Parking are not yet available in the India-spec variants.

Design

For years, the BMW 7 Series represented prestige and presence simply by the sheer length of its wheelbase. Its design was about as understated and simple as it could get. It grew in size with each generation, but the generic design philosophy was always unexciting. The last generation and its face-lift only saw minor modifications to the lines of the generation before it.

For the new, sixth generation 7 Series, the design language continues to be sacrosanct, and while the familiar profile lines have been left undisturbed, BMW designers have made slightly more aggressive departures for the individual elements of the car. The front of the 7 Series gets a number of changes with the most obvious ones being the larger pair of kidney grilles and new headlamp design with their inner corners merging into the grille – an identity that emerged with the new 3 Series a few years ago.

The adaptive headlamps feature BMW’s latest Laserlight technology and a reinterpretation of the classic LED rings. The front fender features a split airdam and the power bulge in the bonnet is a bit more pronounced. Our test mule was the imported CBU 750Li (BMW speak for long wheelbase petrol version). The roofline curves up and ends with the trademark Hoffmeister kink at the rear. The 19-inch light alloys wheels in our test car added some sportiness to the design. At the rear, it gets a stubbier boot lid and taillamps which are now smaller with fewer LED tubes. But the chrome strip running between them emphasises the width of the car, as do the two large, rectangular tail pipes sticking out of the rear fender.

Cabin

The previous generation 7 Series’ cabin was also a rather unexciting place to be in, though it didn’t lack ‘plushness’. There were comparisons to it being like a larger 5 Series sedan and there were no special differentiators for being a flagship. Space, ease of entry and exit and fabulously comfy seats were always the trademark of the 7 Series and that continues in the new generation model. The interior also represents a huge leap in perceived quality when compared to the previous generation with the jump in the number of metal parts, wood trim and elegantly finished chrome elements. The dashboard, centre stack and driver-oriented layout is still very BMW in their character and design, but there is just that sense of expensive, sophisticated luxury which they seem to exude now. There is also a lot more gadgetry and novelty to the cabin in the new 7 Series and importantly, a lot of it will now be in the hands of the rear seat occupants.

The most used is likely to be the Samsung tablet that is embedded in the centre armrest at the rear. This tab pops out electrically and can be used to control multiple functions like the massage functions for the seats, the discreet LED mood lighting in the cabin, deploying the privacy sheers and even opening and closing the panoramic sunroof. There is a wireless induction charging spot where either a phone or the fancy new key with its own LED screen can be charged.

The high-end Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system can now be controlled by simple, predefined hand gestures by the driver or front passenger. And there is a new generation surround view system with a virtual reality top-view display for safely parking or manoeuvring the car with cameras that are individually adjustable for angle. What you see in these pictures is the M Sport package. The other trim variant available is the Design Pure Excellence.

Performance

A lot of the development work for the new 7 Series was apparently focused on reducing the weight of the car – by up to 130 kgs. Much of that weight saving comes from the use of carbon-fibre in the passenger cell. With learnings from the BMWi division under its belt, engineers in Munich also managed to create a more rigid structure.

Under the bonnet of the 750Li we tested is a 4.4-litre, V8 petrol engine with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo tech. The engine puts out 449HP of peak power and 650Nm of peak torque, which is enough to power this huge saloon from standstill to 100kmph in 4.7 seconds. The gearbox is the 8-speed steptronic transmission. Gear shifts are barely felt and the powertrain coordinates perfectly to ensure that there is enough operating range. The Driving experience control switch also lets you choose between the usual set of modes and one extra called Adaptive, which basically changes the setup of the car automatically to the driving style and the character of the road.

The 7 Series is also being offered with a diesel engine in the 730Ld. It is a 3-litre, 6-cylinder engine with a variable inlet geometry turbocharger that is capable of generating 265HP of peak power and 620Nm of torque.

Bottomline

Even if you take away some of the optional equipment in the new 7 Series there are a whole bunch of features that are new and novel in it. The ride quality is the other area where improvements make the rear seat great to be in. Two-axle automatic self-levelling air suspension and dynamic damper control are standard, which basically means that you can be sure that the champagne wont spill on the tab at the rear. There is also the whole complement of safety and driving assistant systems.

The new 7 Series’ diesel variants are assembled in India and are priced in the Rs 1.1 crore to ₹1.4 crore range, including the top-end CBU version if you want the imported variant only. The petrol variants are both CBUs and priced at ₹1.5 crore to ₹1.55 crore.

Published on March 24, 2016

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor