Mag­nif­i­cent 7

An ugly brute is mirac­u­lously re­born as a beau­ti­ful Beemer, writes MICHAEL TAY­LOR in France

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

NO MOD­ERN car has gen­er­ated more con­tro­versy than the cur­rent BMW 7 Se­ries. When it ar­rived, BMW’s flag­ship was a hor­ri­ble shock to cus­tomers. It had con­fus­ing elec­tron­ics, un­work­able con­trols and a styling phi­los­o­phy that be­came the laugh­ing stock of the car in­dus­try.

The new 7 Se­ries is dif­fer­ent. We know be­cause we have driven it.

We found the car to be a su­perb mix of clean styling, high tech­nol­ogy and a back-to-ba­sics driv­ing feel that re­turns han­dling fun to the flag­ship.

But the big­gest news on BMW’s big­gest car isn’t the tech­nol­ogy.

As much as BMW wanted to demon­strate all of its new fea­tures on a se­cret first drive of pre-pro­duc­tion cars at its Miramas prov­ing ground in south­ern France, the big­gest story is that BMW is no longer ugly.

The 7 Se­ries has a hand­some, beau­ti­fully pro­por­tioned body in­ter­rupted only by its large grilles. Gone is the old 7 Se­ries in­te­rior that had none of the brand’s trade­mark, asym­met­ric, driver-fo­cused cabin de­sign.

BMW now knows what peo­ple want and has re­turned to mak­ing the driver the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

The twin-turbo en­gines in­clude a 540Nm six-cylin­der 730 diesel and the 3.0-litre six-cylin­der 740i with 240kW and 450Nm, which made its de­but in the 335i.

The heavy-hit­ting 750i uses the twin-turbo V8 from the X6 to pro­duce sports-car per­for­mance with 300kW of power and 600Nm of torque — strength that signs the death war­rant for BMW’s age­ing 6.0-litre V12.

Ob­vi­ously, force-feed­ing a V8 is not go­ing to lead to bril­liant fuel econ­omy, but the 750i will use 11.4 litres/100km on its com­bined city/high­way cy­cle (a 15 per cent im­prove­ment on the old car), in a car that’s lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor. It also punches the limo to 100km/h in 5.2 sec­onds, which is close to M3-style ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Though the twin-turbo six-cylin­der uses only 9.9 litres/100km re­turn, or about 232g CO2/km, it’s not much slower. It whips to 100km/h in 5.9 sec­onds and, like the V8, will eas­ily run to the 250km/h lim­iter.

The diesel is flex­i­ble, strong and per­fectly suited to cruis­ing. Fuel use is 7.2 litres/100km (192g/km of CO2) even though it runs to 100km/h in 7.2 sec­onds on its way to 245km/h.

All th­ese en­gines at­tach to a new ver­sion of the ZF six-speed auto, which is ca­pa­ble of chang­ing gear 60 per cent faster than the old, and is re­mark­able for mov­ing back to a con­ven­tional gear-shifter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.