Home / Reviews / First Drive / BMW 7 Series and i7 – Of Luxury and the Pleasure of Driving


Here is our first impression of the BMW 7 Series and the i7 following a first drive in the United States of America.

Story: Aspi Bhathena
Photography: BMW

The new 7 Series is now BMW’s flagship car. We were invited to Palm Springs, California, USA, to drive the seventh generation of the 7 Series.

As a manufacturer, BMW have considerable advantage when it comes to luxury cars because they own the super luxury brand, Rolls-Royce, which has all the luxury features one can expect in a car. Thus, they are in a position to pick and choose what they would like from the Rolls-Royce line to take the 7 Series to the next level.

The car will be produced at the Group plant at Dingolfing. This is the first time a BMW model with a choice of a conventional engine, plug-in hybrid system, and pure electric drive will be manufactured on a single line. It is not only about reducing CO2 emission but also in the manufacturing process of cars.

The first time I beheld the 7 Series, it reminded me of a Rolls-Royce. Its bold and commanding stance comes about by the monolithic surface and new front-end appearance with the exclusive design style employed for the BMW brand’s luxury models. The headlight unit is split into two sections, daytime driving lights have BMW crystal headlights with the iconic glow, the welcome and good-bye effects are created by the back-lit crystals from Swarovski, and the BMW kidney grille is illuminated. The black kidney grille is surrounded by a black and white air-dam. This gives the car a dramatic look wherein people are bound to take a second dekko at this imposing car that reminds one of a Rolls-Royce.

The wheelbase of the new 7 Series has increased by five millimetres to 3,215 mm as compared to the previous long-wheelbase model. This has resulted into a corresponding increase in the leg-room for the rear occupants. The length of the car has increased by 130 mm, its width by 48 mm, and height by 51 mm.

The interior is where BMW have really raised the bar. Here one witnesses the new interpretation of the BMW driver-focused cockpit design with the BMW curved display, 12.3-inch information display, and 14.9-inch control display behind a single-glass surface curved towards the driver. The carbon interior strip with the BMW interaction bar brings together interior lights, decorative elements, and operating functions, plus the almost invisible air-vents, into a single component extending across the full width of the instrument panel into the door trim.

There is a subtly back-lit control panel in the centre console with newly designed glass gear selector. The steering wheel comes with new function buttons with active haptic input. If you want, you can opt for the newly developed seat surface in Veganza, a material with a leather-like feel, or Merino leather or cashmere wool.

The new 7 Series comes with automatic doors—no more pulling and pushing doors—entry comfort for rear passengers, acoustic and vibration characteristics are used. Seating comfort, head-room, and leg-room at the rear have significantly improved. The multifunctional rear seat with executive lounge seating behind the front passenger offers comfort like a business class aircraft seat with complete support for your legs.

Then there is standard four-zone automatic climate control with nanoparticle filter and panel heating for the arm-rests in the centre console and door trim. The sky lounge panoramic glass sunroof comes with LED light threads.

The new 7 Series also sets a new benchmark in the in-car entertainment department. The BMW theatre screen extends down from the headliner with an Amazon Firestick TV built in and it transforms the rear compartment into a private cinema lounge. There is a 31.3-inch touchscreen panoramic display in 32:9 format with 8K resolution and Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system with speakers integrated into the head-rest and exciters in the back-rests. One needs to experience the cabin once it gets dark and the ambient lighting takes effect. The effect of the ambient lighting and the entertainment system and the comfortable seats make one feel like just staying put in the car. Thus, the 7 Series has taken the in-car experience not just a couple of notches above, but altogether to another level, which can make its competitors pale in comparison.

The car we drove in the Palm Springs was the 760i with a 48-volt mild hybrid. The V8 motor pushes out 544 hp of power and 750 Nm of torque aided by an electric motor producing 18 hp of power and 200 Nm of torque. The electric motor also works as a starter and both these are mated to an eight-speed steptronic automatic gearbox. The power is put down on the road via the rear wheels.

The suspension set-up at the front is twin-axle air suspension with multilink and the rear multilink air suspension. The car rides on 19-inch wheels.

The roads around Palm Springs were conducive to driving an imposing car like the 7 Series. Its V8 motor coupled with the 48-volt motor gives instant throttle response and one needs to be careful not to exceed the freeway speed limit of 70-mph (112 km/h). All one has to do is switch on the cruise control and the car literally drives itself. You almost feel as if you are travelling by air as the suspension soaks up all the bumps on the road. Besides, the noise-vibration-and-harshness (NVH) levels are so good that you feel totally cut off from the road and all outside noise. The best part: when you get off the freeway and on to the narrow Canyon roads, the fun starts. You can throw this car around corners like a sports car, its large size notwithstanding. Hats off to BMW. They have retained the fun-to-drive factor with a luxurious ride quality unlike other luxury cars that are like a boat to drive.

The 7 Series has the BMW DNA of fun to drive with all the luxury. It has not just upped the game, but taken it to another level.

Need to Know – BMW 760i xDrive

Price: Rs 2 crore (estimated, ex-showroom)
Engine: 4,395 cc, V8, 48-volt mild-hybrid, turbo-petrol
Max Power: 544 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max Torque: 750 Nm @ 1,800-5,000 rpm
Electric Motor: 13-kW ISG (18 hp, 200 Nm)
Battery: 20-Ah, 48-volt, lithium-ion
Transmission: Eight-speed, automatic, all-wheel drive
Suspension: Double wishbone front, five-link rear, air
Weight: 2,270 kg


About the author: Vaibhav Kashyap



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