Breadcrumbs

BMW 7 Series

Car details navigation

BMW 7 Series
7/10

Overall
verdict

An all-new Seven that actually doesn’t look like it. It’s a great car – but some reservations about the ride and driving dynamics remain. Which is a weird thing to say about any BMW. Engines and gearboxes are superlative though.

Additional Info

  • The chauffeur-driven car for those who actually don’t have a chauffeur
  • Top Gear wildcard

    Until they sort the ride and drive issues, the Merc S-Class is better. Simple as that.

  • Our choice

    740d M Sport 4d

    Price £70,580

    BHP 313

    LB FT 464

    MPG 49

    CO2 149

    0-62 MPH 5.50

    Top Speed 155

  • Next steps

    Powered by motoring.co.uk

What is it?

Facelifted last year, 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.

Driving

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.

Owning

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.

Now share it...

Latest road tests

6/10 BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid 7L
December 2009
5/10 BMW 7 Series 730Ld SE
October 2009
5/10 BMW 7 Series 760 Li
September 2009
8/10 BMW 7 Series 740d
August 2009
6/10 BMW 7 Series 730d
January 2009

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.