Lux­ury of a limo

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRIDAY’S TV & MOVIES - By John Mur­doch

IF you spend al­most £80,000 on a saloon you ex­pect it to be a bit spe­cial and the new 7-Se­ries from BMW does not dis­ap­point. The sixth gen­er­a­tion model is crammed with all the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to en­gage both the driver and pas­sen­gers.

The flag­ship BMW’s el­e­gant de­sign is hand­some rather than flash and com­petes with Jaguar’s XJ, the Audi A8 and the ubiq­ui­tous Mercedes­Benz S-Class for the lux­ury saloon crown.

This 7-Se­ries is the largest car ever pro­duced by the Ger­man brand and the long wheel­base ver­sion tested is huge – more than 5.2 me­tres long.

The looks have evolved from the last model and the car hides its bulk well and does not look clumsy from any an­gle. It is a sleek and good-look­ing saloon and with the M Sport body ad­di­tions and larger wheels it cer­tainly makes a vis­ual im­pact.

Cars in this range are all about lux­ury and com­fort and the 7-Se­ries can­not be faulted in ei­ther depart­ment. BMW has dumped springs and dampers in favour of a two-axle self-lev­el­ling sir sus­pen­sion sys­tem which is stan­dard through­out the range and it de­liv­ers a su­perb smooth ride over even the worst sur­faces.

At higher speed there is a lack of road noise and the 7-Se­ries glides along mak­ing it ideal to drive, or re­lax in the su­perb cabin.

Thanks to its Car­bon Core pas­sen­ger cell, this gen­er­a­tion is 130kg lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor de­spite its larger di­men­sions and that helps with per­for­mance and econ­omy.

When it comes to tech­nol­ogy the 7-Se­ries is amaz­ing. It fea­tures a new iDrive sys­tem, an im­proved head-up dis­play and a stun­ning 360 de­gree cam­era which helps you to avoid scuff­ing those ex­pen­sive al­loys. And if that is not good enough you can use the key to re­motely park the car.

The cabin can only be de­scribed as sump­tu­ous and you won’t find a sin­gle piece of black plas­tic any­where. All sur­faces are trimmed in leather, Al­can­tara or var­nished wood and the switches are chrome.

The long-wheel­base test car pro­vided all the lux­ury and space you could want in a limo and your tough­est de­ci­sion will be de­cid­ing to sit be­hind the wheel or in the back.

Stan­dard fea­tures are too numer­ous to men­tion but in­clude four-zone cli­mate con­trol, nav­i­ga­tion, in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, am­bi­ent light­ing, leather and soft touch fin­ish­ings.

In ad­di­tion you also get ges­ture con­trol - which al­lows you to change in­fo­tain­ment func­tions with just a hand move­ment. In this way you can con­trol the 3D dis­play, ad­just vol­ume, an­swer or re­ject tele­phone calls thanks to a 3D sen­sor.

To pro­tect the oc­cu­pants the 7-Se­ries boasts all the lat­est safety fea­tures in­clud­ing a Dy­namic Safety sys­tem which if a col­li­sion looks likely, ac­ti­vates seat belt ten­sion­ers, closes the side win­dows and glass roof and brings the seat back­rests up to an up­right po­si­tion.

On the prac­ti­cal side boot space is good with 515 litres avail­able and there are numer­ous clever stor­age ar­eas in the cabin.

This car was pow­ered by the more po­tent of the diesel en­gines on of­fer – the 320ps unit linked to the stan­dard eight-speed Step­tronic gear­box – and it is su­perb.

It de­liv­ers its power with such ease that you are happy to have the head-up dis­play to keep you within the le­gal lim­its. It is good for 155mph (re­stricted) and reaches 62mph in just 5.3 sec­onds.

BMW claim it can do 54.3mpg on the com­bined cy­cle with emis­sions of 142g/km. I did not match that but av­er­aged in the mid 40s – an as­ton­ish­ing fig­ure for such a big car with four-wheel-drive.

Sur­pris­ingly ag­ile for its size the 740Ld xDrive al­lows you to choose dif­fer­ent driv­ing modes and was a treat to drive. It felt se­cure in all con­di­tions, in­clud­ing snow, and its strong ac­cel­er­a­tion made over­tak­ing easy.

There is no doubt that it is one of the best lux­ury sa­loons in the world and at £79,675 it should be. As­ton­ish­ingly the test car came with an ad­di­tional £24,355 worth of ex­tra equip­ment tak­ing the to­tal price to a hefty £104,030.

If you can af­ford to spend that amount of cash on a car you are very lucky and the big BMW should cer­tainly make it to your short­list.

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