Published on June 28th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW 7-Series Brings The ‘WOW’ Factor To Its Flagship Sedan
This is the 6th generation of the BMW 7 Series and it is a true flagship of the BMW range, blending comfort, style, dynamic ability and cutting edge technology in equal measure to create an inspiring mode of luxury transport.
Thanks to the intelligent use of multiple materials in the construction of the body, including carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the Carbon Core, the new BMW 7 Series is both stronger and up to 130kg lighter than the previous 5th generation. With a wealth of interior comfort and driving features, from new ConnectedDrive technology to the sumptuous Executive Lounge feature, we test drive this new BMW 7 Series to see if the WOW factor is back.
DESIGN Of The Exterior
Like its predecessor, this new BMW 7 Series is sleek in its profile. The wheelbase of the extended 730iL we are test driving is 14cm longer, at 3,210mm and offers extra rear space as a result. This new BMW 7 Series is the largest series-produced car the brand has ever built where this long-wheelbase version measures 5,238mm in length, 1,902mm in width and 1,485mm in height. With familiar BMW proportions, a long bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase and a set-back passenger compartment, its smoothly downward-sloping roofline adds a hint of sportiness.
From the front, the new BMW 7 Series radiates a feeling of assured presence. It is the brand’s first car to feature an Active Air Stream kidney grille, improving aerodynamics as well as making a strong visual statement. The headlight units extend up as far as the grille, while the light graphic of the familiar BMW twin circular headlights is levelled off at its upper and lower edges. The headlights have a precisely detailed design that portrays the sophisticated technology within both in standard full LED form and with BMW Laserlights as specified. The lower air intake stretched wide across the front end, the chrome bars in the outer edges of the intake and the horizontal contours of the LED fog lamps underline the car’s broad-set stance.
INSIDE The Lounge
The cabin ambiance of this new BMW 7 Series is both modern and luxurious. All the control and display elements share a new design that highlights their innovative functionality such as the chrome buttons on the multi-functional steering wheel and centre console, and the touchscreen surface for the control panel of the Automatic air conditioning with 4-zone control.
The controls on the centre console are like the interior trim strip framed by real wood or aluminium surfaces. Both the trim strips and the instrument panel’s chrome surrounds which border them are made individually for each car; their dimensions are therefore matched to the nearest millimetre. The standard and optional equipment items are crafted from carefully selected materials and with the build quality expected of precision craftsmanship. Meanwhile, the generous levels of space on board are highlighted by a horizontal surface structure that extends through the door trim.
Lighter, Stronger & More Advanced
The advances achieved with the latest generation of the BMW 7 Series succeed in resolving a number of traditionally conflicting aims: the car comes with an array of new innovations but weighs less, performance is more dynamic but fuel consumption has been reduced, and while it is more luxurious than ever, emissions are lower. This ground-breaking evolution is due to BMW EfficientDynamics technology, comprising the most diverse range of measures ever to have been implemented in a production BMW. The unrivalled expertise derived from the development of BMW i cars has successfully been harnessed.
Careful material selection, energy-efficient production processes and further improved arrangements for environmentally friendly recycling help the new BMW 7 Series to obtain an exemplary life cycle assessment covering its entire product life. The environmental impact – the “greenhouse potential” – is around 25% lower than in the outgoing model.
The key element here is the special body structure known as the Carbon Core. Thanks to its composite construction featuring CFRP, ultra-high-tensile steels and aluminium, the intelligent body design succeeds in increasing the strength and rigidity of the passenger cell while also bringing about a substantial reduction in vehicle weight. By using a hybrid construction of CFRP with ultra-high-tensile steels for structural elements, such as those in the vicinity of the B-pillars, the design of the sheet-metal components can be adapted to save weight.
The 8-speed Steptronic gearbox contributes to further efficiency savings with its wider ratio spread, reduced weight and optimised calibration. The Steptronic Sport shift paddles on the steering wheel also features a Launch Control function.
Features such as Brake Energy Regeneration and Auto Start Stop ensure highly efficient energy management. Activating the ECO PRO mode with the Driving Performance Control switch allows use of the coasting function, which decouples the powertrain in overrun phases while travelling at speeds between 31–100mph. This mode’s range of functions which are now individually programmable for the first time additionally include efficiency-oriented operation of comfort features, efficiency tips, as well as the Route-ahead Assistant, which gives recommendations for an efficient driving style based on the navigation data.
With its double-joint front axle, five-link rear axle and Electric Power Steering, the new BMW 7 Series comes with all the right ingredients for precise, assured handling characteristics. The Driving Performance Control switch located on the centre console now sports a new design, and drivers have the option of programming an individual configuration for the SPORT and ECO PRO modes via the iDrive operating system.
The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system brings a fully active 10-channel amplifier, with an output of 1,400 watts, and 16 partially illuminated speakers together to produce an exceptionally precise and wonderfully rich sound in the cabin. In the process, dynamic sound equalizing with three analogue crossovers ensures uniform acoustic performance delivered to all seats.
The load space opens up offering luggage capacity of 515 litres. The optional through-loading system provides an aperture into the cabin measuring 20cms wide and 24cms high. The standard Comfort Access feature, includes hands-free opening and closing of the boot lid.
SELF DRIVE Only Report
How exactly is the drive on the highway and back roads with this car? Well, the BMW handling heritage remains especially in ‘Sport’ mode where the engine responses faster and the suspension gets firmer. Ignite the engine and the aggression of 4-cylinder engine can’t be heard (a signature of BMW which has been lost with the use of smaller 4-cylinder engines in the 3 and the 5-Series models) in the cabin. However this 7-Series is still great at carving up roads fast or slow as its lower weight (almost 130kg skimmed) and increased torque by 90bhp to 400Nm over the previous 6-cylinder version impressed us. And while I had a smile on my face driving insanely fast along the older back roads of Selangor, this BMW managed to shave my speed quickly with its strong brakes when needed. And when it comes to the ride quality, this 7-Series impressed us. The ride remained very supple under badly maintained tarmac despite its large 18-inch wheels and 24-month warrantied run-flat tires. The chassis and suspension handled most bumps without throwing the car out of control. You can hit a rough patch on the road, and of course you will feel it, but you won’t be uncomfortable to the point that your body takes any force. The steering wheel allows for a solid feel on the road, but not too much. The 8-speed automatic, left either to its own devices or driven via steering column-mounted paddles, is smooth and quick and it blips the throttle on downshifts.
CHAUFFEUR DRIVE Only Report
Now for most BMW 7-Series buyers, the owners will have a chauffeur driving them daily and they will be lounging in the back of this long wheelbase luxury sedan. Comfort levels are high for 2 passengers in the rear with individual seats and there is enough legroom for even a pro basketball player. The rear headrest mounted screens allow for more than just viewing the news and watching the stock market reports. The screen allows for in car functions like sunroof open and closing, front passenger seat adjustment to give more room to overweight or tall owners and cabin climate and entertainment.
The rear-seat entertainment system screen can be electrically adjusted to the ideal viewing angle for the rear passenger’s current seat position. In addition to all this, the Executive Lounge rear console also features a fold-out table, two cupholders and a storage compartment, as well as the new BMW Touch Command unit.
The latter is a removable tablet (from Samsung) with a screen diagonal of 7 inches, which can be used from any rear seat and even outside the vehicle. It lets the occupants control comfort functions such as seat adjustment, interior lighting and air conditioning, as well as the rear sunroof shades and window shades in just one touch command. It also works for the infotainment, navigation and communication system. It can also be used to play external audio and video files, as a games console or for surfing the internet. A WiFi hotspot built into the vehicle provides the necessary online connectivity. Any content retrieved from the Rear-seat entertainment menu with the aid of the tablet is shown on the Rear-seat entertainment Experience system’s two 10.2-inch screens.
The exclusive atmosphere inside the new BMW 7 Series can be further accentuated by attractive lighting design. The standard Ambient lighting provides harmonious indirect illumination in the vicinity of the instrument panel, the door beltlines, the map pockets on the front seat backs, and in the footwells. Courtesy lights and illuminated bars on the door sills also form part of the specification. There is a choice of six different colour variants for the lighting effects, which can be selected in the iDrive menu. Beyond this, there is also a Welcome Light Carpet that produces eye-catching lighting graphics in the entrance/exit area with the help of light sources incorporated into the side skirts.
The roller sunblinds for the rear side windows that comes with this long-wheelbase new BMW 7 Series is also equipped with another new development known as Ambient highlight. Vertically arranged light sources in the B-pillar area illuminate the rear compartment to great effect and works with just a touch. The intensity of the lighting can be adjusted by means of contact sensors, as well as from either the iDrive menu or BMW Touch Command.
As an alternative to the electrically operated glass roof that comes as standard in this long-wheelbase versions of the new BMW 7 Series a two-section Panoramic glass roof with an opening front section is also available.
There is a lot more information and features to share, but best you visit a BMW showroom and get a test drive to truly understand the level of drive refinement and drive entertainment one car can provide for under RM700k.
Specifications BMW 730Li
Engine 4-cylinder Petrol
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
Max Output 258bhp @ 5000-6500rpm
Max Torque 400Nm @ 1550-4400rpm
0-100km/h 6.3 seconds
Top Speed 250km/h (restricted)