Since its introduction for the 1978, the BMW 7-Series has remained true to its original character. The Bavarian Motor Works flagship car has represented the best of what the 100-year-old company has to offer. The flagship saloon continues to remain the obvious choice for drivers looking for a car with advanced technology, top of the line luxury, unmatched handling and advanced technology. The latest model marks the sixth generation in the BMW 7-Series timeline.
For 2017 BMW has entirely revamped the 7-series range by blending comfort, style, dynamic ability and cutting edge technology in equal measure to create a must have luxury saloon. The car has also lost some weight, thanks to the use of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Complementing the light but rigid architecture is a host of the latest engines.
The exterior design of the 2017 7-Series has been well executed to reflect the car’s position in BMW’s automotive catalogue. Like its predecessor, the new BMW 7-Series is offered in two body variants. The long-wheelbase version of the 7-series is the largest series-produced car BMW has ever built. Both body variants display familiar BMW proportions, characterised by a long bonnet, short front overhang, long wheelbase and a setback passenger compartment. A smoothly downward-sloping roofline adds a hint of sportiness.
The front is dominated by BMW’s signature kidney grill, with Active Stream that improves the car’s aerodynamics. The redesigned headlamps now blend with the grill and also feature the familiar BMW twin circular headlights is levelled off at its upper and lower edges. The BMW is the first luxury saloon to offer optional laser lights, which offer better illumination of the road compared to standard headlamps.
Outward curving surfaces and a double swage line dominate the profile of the 2017 7-series. The ‘Air Breathers’ located at the front side panel a chrome trim strip which runs along the lower edge of the doors. The double swage line extends into the upper contour of the body and the light strips of the rear lights. All the light sources for the taillights feature LED technology, with both L-shaped light units connected by a chrome bar that extends the full width of the rear end. The 2017 7-Series rides on standard 18- or 19-inch light allow wheels.
The 2017 7-Series is available with a host petrol powered engines with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. The entry-level 7-series are the 740i and 740e plug-in hybrid model. The 740i and 740Li models feature six-cylinder in-line units. Output for both cars is rated at 240 kW (326 hp). Torque remains at 406 Nm. The 740e plug-in hybrid is available in three variants: The 740e, 740Le and 740Le xDrive (all-wheel-drive).
Under the bonnet of the 740e is a 2.0-litre engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric drive unit integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Combined output for the electric drive and 2.0-litre engine is 240 kW (326 hp). Torque is pegged at 400 Nm. Fuel consumption for the 740e is rated at 2-litres per 100 kilometres. The 740e can also be driven for 40 kilometres on electric charge alone.
The more powerful top of the line 750i xDrive and BMW 750Li xDrive models feature a 4.4-litre V8 power plant with an output of 330 kW (450 hp) while the wheels are kept spinning by 650 Nm of torque. The 750i is also paired with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission.
With its double-joint front axle, five-link rear axle and Electric Power Steering, the 2017 BMW 7-Series rewards the driver with great handling characteristics. The inclusion of a 2-axle self-levelling air suspension system as standard makes a further contribution to the superb ride comfort. The car height level control can be adjusted manually, allowing the vehicle’s ride height to be raised by up to 20 mm when driving along a rough stretch of road. At speeds above approximately 35 km/h, the car height level control automatically reverts to its standard setting. When BMW 7-Series SPORT mode is activated, the ride height automatically drops by 10mm when travelling at high speed.
The 2017 7-Series comes as standard with a Display Key. The unique key displays various vehicle information on its display. The Display Key also allows owners to manoeuvre in or out of forward-parking spaces or garages without anyone at the wheel. The driver initiates the car’s progress forwards into or in reverse out of a space using Display Key. While the car is carrying out the semi-automated manoeuvre, the driver watches out for obstacles.
Opening the doors of the 2017 BMW 7-Series reveals a striking, luxurious and sophisticated interior. The hallmark of BMW’s interior is the iDrive system, which now integrates gesture control. By making specific hand movements near the centre console – where a 3D sensor registers them – commonly used infotainment system functions can be controlled very intuitively and conveniently. The various gestures serve, for instance, to adjust the audio volume, control the 3D view display and accept or reject incoming phone calls.
The standard multifunctional instrument display with a 12.3-inch display area alters the graphics and colour scheme used for the cockpit gauges to match the mode selected with the Driving Performance Control switch. The standard four-zone automatic air-conditioning features a separate touch sensitive control console in the rear. An Executive Lounge Seating offers top-notch comfort for rear passengers. The option features seats with backrests, which can recline to an angle of up to 42.5 degrees.
To offer the passenger in the rear even greater legroom, the front passenger seat can be slid forward by an extra 90mm and its backrest tilted all the way forward. For a completely unobstructed view to the front, the head restraint can be folded down as well.
An electrically operated foldout footrest can also be found on the back of the front passenger seat. The rear-seat entertainment system screen can be electrically adjusted to the ideal viewing angle for the rear passenger’s current seat position.
A removable tablet with a screen diagonal of 7 inches, which can be used from any seat and even outside the vehicle. An optional Ambient Air package releases a fragrance into the 7-series’ interior. The intensity of the fragrance can be adjusted from the air conditioning system.
The interior can also be livened up at night thanks to the Sky Lounge Panoramic glass roof, which uses the light emitted by LED modules to create the magical effect of a starlit sky. A similar system is found in vehicles from Rolls Royce, a BMW sub-brand. A powerful 16-speaker 1,400 Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system fills each part of the interior with sound.
The 2017 7-Series’ offers an improved blend of technology, performance, luxury and comfort. The luxury saloon is certainly the best one BMW has ever made in the 7-series’ 37-year history. However, in improving the 7-Series BMW has still managed to ensure it remains the prime luxury saloon for people who love to drive and to be driven in. Bavaria Auto Limited, a subsidiary of Simba Colt, is the BMW brand custodian in Kenya. Their showroom is located along Mombasa Road in the outskirts of Nairobi City. Visit them to configure and purchase your dream BMW 7-series.
Quote: Outward curving surfaces and a double swage line dominate the profile of the 2017 7-series.
What we like
- Balanced and sharp handling
- Fuel efficient engines and smooth transmission
- Top notch interior
What we dislike
- Expensive optional extras
- Rivals offer more in terms of luxury
- Rivals offer more in terms of tech