2016 BMW 7 Series: First Drive Review

We drive the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series which has shed 130kg but added a plethora of gizmos to its repertoire. Should its German luxobarge rivals be anxious? Well read on..



2016 BMW 7 Series




For the last 38 years BMW 7 Series is giving a tough competition to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the luxury limousine segment, globally. With the introduction of the highly acclaimed and award winning latest generation S-Class, the Mercedes had left its competition far behind in pretty much every aspect. But now, with its sixth generation, the 7 Series has drastically upped the game, and we feel that it can really match up to the S-Class and go ahead in the game, in pretty much every aspect. The 2015 BMW 7 Series is one of the few cars that get the fine balance of style, luxury and performance, bundled up in the right proportions.


This is overall a completely new car, but the exterior designs seem like they are a much more evolved version of the out-going BMW. And this latest version is sure to impress the aficionados. To some others, it might not be the most beautiful car in its segment, but it surely has impressive road presence. Although the large kidney grille and the simple body lines appear understated, the futuristic headlight cluster and carved out bonnet with flush finish, really grab eyeballs.


2016 BMW 7 Series interior


The interiors are a huge improvement over the outgoing model. Every detail, panel gaps and joints have been closely looked in to and interesting materials and plastic have been selected to give the new BMW 7 Series the opulence, its buyers expect. It’s spacious, intricately detailed without being over-the-top, and spectacularly luxurious.


Kitted to the brink, the 2015 BMW 7 Series comes with air-suspension with Dynamic Damper Control (DD) which impressed us on the private Monticello racetrack near New York. And it’s the really long optional equipment list that’s absolutely mind blowing. If you tick the right boxes, the new BMW 7 Series can now park itself, drive semi-autonomously (driver assistance package), comes with front and rear ‘Sky Lounge’ panoramic sunroofs and can also light up the road ahead with laser headlamps.


2016 BMW 7 Series key


Taking the new BMW 7 Series out for a spin on the beautiful country side of Monticello we also got a taste of the larger Head-Up Display, crossing traffic warning, the steering and lane control assistant. While the surround '3D View' uses the zillions of cameras to give a 360-degree view which is very handy while parking at tight spots. 


Talking about parking, BMW claims the 2015 BMW 7 Series to be the world’s first produced car to feature Remote Control Parking. Using the BMW Display Key (yes, the key has a touch screen too!) one can roll the 7 Series forward or backwards out of hard to reach parking slot, without anyone at the wheel. And, that's as close as you get to autonomous drive... At least for now. 




2016 BMW 7 Series rear seat


Being chauffeured around, passengers on the all-important rear seat get 140mm extra legroom over the outgoing car. In addition to it they also get seats with massage, heating and cooling, and reclining back-rest options. Another package offers aircraft like foldable table, and even a personal 'Touch Command' tablet to manage the controls of the rear seat entertainment system. The 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins music system provides a great audio experience too. 


Back on the racetrack, what really made jaws drop was the limousine’s driving dynamics. Using the learning from the BMW 'i' EV series, the new 7 Series shaves off close to 130kg from the older car, by not just using aluminium but also carbon fibre parts in generous quantity. Being a predominately chauffeur driven car in India, the light steering will be an advantage. But on this American racetrack, we desired a little more weight. But the steering feels direct and has the right feedback, which makes it fun to drive. One can further customised the dynamics using a bunch of driving mode. The ride quality is the highlight of the 2016 BMW 7 Series. The adaptive suspension displays its brilliance by ensuring none of the jolts and thumps filter through and cater impressive ride quality. 


2016 BMW 7 Series action pic


Internationally, the new BMW 7 Series comes with a range of engines, in rear wheel powered or xDrive all-wheel drive options. Petrol variants include the India bound BMW 750Li xDrive with a 4,395cc V8 petrol twin turbo motor producing about 450PS and 650Nm. Enough to accelerate from stand still to in 4.4 seconds. The variant we got to drive, since many Americans still have a prejudice against diesel cars. 



2016 BMW 7 Series rear action


The other petrol option is the BMW 740Li with a 3.0-litre in-line six petrol engine good for 326PS and 450Nm. On a good run it can sprint from 0–100kmph in 5.5seconds. And diesel option coming to India would be the BMW 730Ld, powered by a 2,993cc six-cylinder in-line oil-burner with power output of 265PS and an enormous 620Nm of torque, which can propel it from 0–100kmph in 6.1 seconds. BMW has also unveiled the BMW 740e, which along with a four-cylinder 258PS petrol engine runs a BMW eDrive electric motor good for 113PS. But we doubt if it will make it to our shores soon.


The 2016 BMW 750Li proved to be a stunning machine. It has a phenomenal sporty character for a limousine, something most BMW cars have always had over rivals. But thankfully, in the 2016 versions the dynamic credentials of the 2016 7 Series does not compromise comfort. The 750i xDrive's mighty 650Nm makes it 1,915kg kerb weight diminish, while the eight-speed Steptronic auto is seamless. 


2016 BMW 7 Series static image


On the track, the Sport mode ensued to keep the body roll in check. And the brakes on a car this big and heavy, don't fail to impress either. Despite its proportions and weight, the new 7 Series doesn’t put up much of a protest, being thrown around corners on a racetrack, but it’s during high speed cruising that it displays its segment defying serenity, poise and confidence. The cabin remains insulated from the strong wind noise outside, and the occupants are cocooned by luxury personified.


2016 BMW 7 Series interior pic


BMW India is looking to upset the supremacy of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class by launching the 2016 BMW 7 Series, scheduled during the 2016 Auto Expo. And going by our first impression of the luxury car, it seems ready in every aspect. Pricing is also expected to be close to the S-Class, which currently ranges between Rs 1.15 crore to Rs 1.5 crore. With the new BMW 7 Series upping the game, the Indian entrepreneurs and top executives will have a difficult decision to make.

Recommended Variant : 7 Series 2015 730Ld Design Pure Excellence