DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THE BMW 7-Se­ries is a good drive. No, it’s bet­ter than that. It’s a ter­rific drive. It is a big car, even as a short­wheel­base 730i, yet it shrinks around you and al­lows you to cover long dis­tances with min­i­mal fuss. It has sporty per­for­mance, with loads of lux­ury, yet is not de­mand­ing or nasty.

Best of all, af­ter the pre­vi­ous Seven, it is a wel­com­ing car that is easy and re­ward­ing to drive.

I was not a fan of the pre­vi­ous Seven, partly be­cause of its nasty iDrive and a cabin which was con­fronta­tional and hard to learn, but the fail­ure for me was that it was not a driver’s car.

Pre­vi­ous Sev­ens were built to drive, but the last one was a back-seat spe­cial loaded like a Har­vey Nor­man show­room.

Not now. The new 7-Se­ries has more tech­nol­ogy than any car I have driven but it is easy to use and adds to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

The rear-steer sys­tem makes the long-wheel­base iL easy to turn in a nar­row street, the safety gear is all un­ob­tru­sive and use­ful — in­clud­ing the speed-limit cam­era — and it is good to know the en­gines are so lean and ef­fi­cient.

Still, vis­i­bil­ity can be a prob­lem, there was some wind noise on one of the Ger­man test cars, and some peo­ple com­plain that get­ting into the low-seat rear seats can be a prob­lem. But those are mi­nor nig­gles.

BMW only had the short-wheel­base 730d diesel and the long-wheel­base 750iL to as­sess on global press preview at Dres­den in the for­mer East Ger­many, and all the cars were loaded.

But the ba­sics show how good the car is for 2009 and be­yond and re­flect a re­turn to the tra­di­tional val­ues of the Seven.

The cars are crisp and re­spon­sive and there is ab­so­lutely no in­di­ca­tion that the 730d has a diesel six un­der the hood. The V8 in the 750 is a cracker and eas­ily took the car to its 250km/h top speed on an un­re­stricted au­to­bahn.

They have tra­di­tional rear-wheel drive with six-speed au­tos that slur through the ra­tios but re­spond well to a touch on the tip­tronic lever. Some­thing else back in the Seven . . .

There is a lot to like in the new 7-Se­ries. Best of all, it proves BMW is pre­pared to step back to go for­wards — even if no one ad­mits there was any­thing wrong with the pre­vi­ous car.

Ter­rific drive: re­spon­sive on the road but some find the rear seats low.

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