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The Top Gear car review:BMW 7 Series
For:Great engines, solid build quality
Against:Not wafty enough for this kind of car
730d SE 4dr Auto
Ah, a facelift for the 7-series…
Don’t be obtuse. Sure the styling is – putting it kindly – evolutionary because BMW...
Interesting hybrid set-up, well developed. But still a big car we don’t much warm to. And not for sale in UK.
If you’re driving, the 730Ld makes sense. But then there’s no point in the LWB version. So save some cash.
Good but pointless. Get a 730Ld for your passengers and a Z4 for yourself. That’s how to spend £95k.
The best blend of performance and economy in the 7-Series range. If you want a 7, the 740d is it.
Should have been so much more. Great engine, transmission, interior. Poorly resolved suspension. Ooops.
With everyone chest-beating over climate change and automotive corporations getting various degrees of needle over emissions, it seems that the...
What we say:
BMW's luxo-limo doesn't quite make class best. It's close, but Merc's S-Class still reigns supreme
What is it?
Facelifted in 2012, BMW’s luxo-limo lacks the harmony of something like a 3-Series. The diesels are great, but the ride is lumpy and the 7 can’t disguise its weight like the Audi A8 can. It’s as plush as any rival inside but, while it’s closer, it still trails the Merc S-Class.
Four-wheel steer (a first on a BMW) gives stability at high speeds and a real smile when you try to park - it’s got a great turning circle. It does the usual trick of shrinking when you go faster - but the steering is possibly a little too ‘connected’. For this class of car everything needs to be a bit more wafty - the German connection seems to have forgotten.
New suspension that can cycle between Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus is a boon, but the big BMW never really settles in any of the modes. There’s too much wind noise, too much bobble and far too much tweakery through the steering - the old car was better. Ooops. Still, we’re talking about degrees of issues - it’s lovely if you’ve come from, say, a 5-Series, but Merc S-Class owners won’t be impressed.
You can’t argue with the way any of the variants goes in this generation - there isn’t a duffer in this bunch. The best is the 730d - it hits 62mph in 7.2 seconds and 153mph with 41.5mpg economy. If you want the big hitter, then you need the 760Li; 6 litres of twin-turbo V12 power, 544bhp, 553lb ft of torque - it’s fast and surprisingly fun - if you really need more than 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and a limited 155mph top end, then you’re a faster driver than us…
On the inside
The ride and wind noise issues might bother you if you’re a sound-specialist, but otherwise the quality is top end. The cabin has a massive multimedia screen, the iDrive is now properly sorted - it’s a very good thing. There’s something about sitting in the driving seat of a big BMW that feels right.
The new Seven is biiiiiig. There’s space for Playboy Bunnies galore, or hefty business guts. The boot is huge, and you get a massive range from a 730d. Even parking is easy - radar parking sensors and that turning circle work in the real world.
The BMW 730d is remarkably useful - you’ll get 41.5mpg, 178g/km of C02. Ok, so it’s a bit expensive and insurance is high, but it’s worth it. If you want to simply ignore any credit crunchery, then go for that 760Li - 21.7mpg (which isn’t that bad considering the performance) and group 20 insurance.