Star turn

BMW goes all out, and some­what Be­yond, With its all-new 7 se­ries

Virtuozity - - Automobiles -

At night, ly­ing back in the sump­tu­ous leather seats of the new BMW 7 Se­ries, you can ac­tu­ally see the stars. now, to be fair you can prob­a­bly see the stars by sim­ply look­ing up in any car with a sun­roof, but in the BMW they’re ac­tu­ally built into the sun­roof glass. cloudy nights ap­pear to have been a great worry for bmw’s en­gi­neers.

they’re also not twinkly white stars, like you are used to see­ing peer­ing down at the Earth. th­ese are blue and re­sem­ble some­thing sim­i­lar to a cross be­tween the Matrix and tron.

Ei­ther way, you get the idea that BMW has gone to great lengths to en­sure that not one lux­ury el­e­ment of life is pos­si­bly miss­ing from its new flag­ship.

not that there was much wrong with the old model. the 7 Se­ries (along with its Mercedes S class ri­val) has long been the ‘go to’ for any self-re­spect­ing (insert any of your choice of the fol­low­ing: world leader, despot, gang­ster, CEO, movie star, etc.).

Each one has been pro­gres­sively bet­ter than the last, im­prov­ing what was pre­vi­ously one of the best cars on the mar­ket.

but the new, sixth-gen­er­a­tion car is some­thing quite be­yond the norm, with a list of op­tions and gad­gets that will have any good bond vil­lain pen­ning his res­ig­na­tion let­ter.

Driv­e­line

AWD

ing, the blinds for the glass sun­roof and the roller sun­blinds.

Even the key has a dis­play on it, telling the owner all sorts of things they might need to know.

Add to that a heads-up dis­play, all-wheel drive, BMW’S Ex­ec­u­tive Drive dy­namic sus­pen­sion sys­tem, steer­ing and lane as­sist, as well as ac­tive steer­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol and a whole lot more. You could prob­a­bly hop into the back and let the car do it all for you.

Even the au­dio­philes will be happy, as the 7 Se­ries comes with a Bow­ers & Wilkins Di­a­mond Sur­round Sound Sys­tem, fea­tur­ing 16 strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned (and il­lu­mi­nated) loud­speak­ers.

Im­por­tantly, it looks great, too, with a well-bal­anced body that looks nei­ther svelte nor fat from any an­gle. It looks im­pos­ing, but with­out be­ing brash. The men with small glasses have re­ally done their home­work and cre­ated a car that says a lot with­out shout­ing.

On the road, the 7 has lovely man­ners, rid­ing bumps with the cos­set­ing feel of feath­ers on wool. But throw it into a cor­ner and it also han­dles as well, stick­ing to a line with lit­tle body roll. How

that’s achieved is in­cred­i­ble and cer­tainly im­pres­sive. There’s a lot to love with BMW’S big cruiser.

If you re­ally had to pick holes, the ges­ture con­trol is frankly bonkers, point­less (ex­cuse the pun) and slower than ac­tu­ally reach­ing for the knob or dial. A good case in point is the au­dio vol­ume, where the dial is closer to the driver than the area you need to cir­cle your fin­ger to al­ter the vol­ume. Yes, it’s clever, yes, it’s amus­ing (for a short while), but it also doesn’t work ev­ery time. Few peo­ple miss a dial once they know where it is.

With the star-crossed sun­roof and fin­ger wag­gling, it’s pretty clear the big uber­sa­loon mak­ers have fi­nally run out of things to put on their cars that driv­ers ac­tu­ally need. So now the in­dus­try is head­ing down a road of nu­clear one-up­man­ship.

So, to cut to the point, is the BMW 7 Se­ries any good? In a word, yes, it’s bril­liant. There’s just so much to learn and un­der­stand. You’d need six months and a de­gree in pro­gram­ming to fully un­der­stand ev­ery­thing the car can ac­tu­ally do.

When Mercedes launched its new S-class a few years back, it moved the game for­ward in terms of tech­nol­ogy and op­tions. BMW can be said to have done the same with this car.

It also feels in­cred­i­bly well built, it’s very quick, holds the road well and looks as good as it drives. You can feel the all­wheel drive sys­tem work­ing when you press on and al­though it’s laden with tech to keep you on the tar­mac, it doesn’t in­ter­fere as much as you’d ex­pect.

Of course it will have the price tag of a small is­land and run­ning costs of an off shore oil rig, but at this end of the mar­ket that’s par for the course.

In the world of uber-sa­loons, it’s very much busi­ness as usual at the top.

4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 443 bhp @ 6,500 rpm 650 Nm @ 1,800 rpm

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