Road test: BMW 7 Series makes a bid to hold on to its luxury sedan crown
It's had its contenders over the years, but the 2020 version of the German marque's 7 Series is keeping them all at bay
Sibling rivalry is never an easy thing and there has been plenty of it going on at BMW over the past few years.
Top of the tree within that particular brand used to be the 7 Series, no question about it. Ever since its introduction in 1977, it had a reputation of sweeping pretenders to the throne aside with the merest swish of its metaphorical cape. In recent years, however, others in the manufacturer’s roster have been jockeying for position. The X7, to name but one, clearly fancies itself for the top job, and that’s not a vehicle to ignore.
The new 7 Series, however, is fighting to hold on to its crown. It has been transformed over the years (with a distinct change in direction in 2016) from a borderline sports sedan into what some pundits have called a "luxobarge" (a term most of us could guess the meaning of without explanation).
As such, it’s all about the serenity inside the cabin. The idea is that occupants don’t so much as have to take a comb to their hair at the end of their journey, let alone adjust their clothing or remove perspiration from their brow with the disinfectant wipes many of us have got into the habit of carrying. Someone described the 7 Series as being like a private jet for the road, which may be pushing things a little, but gives you an idea of the feelings it will elicit when you get inside.
The particular model under the spotlight here is the 750Li xDrive (though there are plenty of other variants) and it has a twin-turbo, 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, which will deliver 530 horsepower and get you up to 100 kilometres per hour from a standing start in just four seconds. Not what you’d call underwhelming.
Driving it is, indeed, a remarkably tranquil experience. You’ve read the stats above, so you could tear it up if you fancied, but that's not really what a 7 Series is designed to do.
The new version has more driver aids than you can shake a stick at – including parking sensors, crash warning systems and cameras placed all around the exterior – but that would be no surprise on a car with this much attention to detail.
It’s all a bit fancy inside, with customers able to choose from a series of high-quality leather options, with wood trim and aluminium accents. The obligatory touchscreen is there, of course, and it comes with gesture-control technology. In total, there are nine trim levels available.
The 7 Series’ main competitors in the premium sedan sector are probably the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Lexus LS, both of which are impressive in their own right. The 750Li is the most expensive of the three, but you do get more pulling power for your money. It's also worth noting there are cheaper 7 Series versions than the car tested here.
So, it’s been with us for some time, but accepting that the 7 Series has been usurped would be a mistake. It’s still an impressive enough vehicle to ensure none of its competitors are able to sideline it. Back in your cage, X7, you're not top dog yet.
Car supplied by BMW Abu Dhabi
Updated: October 21, 2020 10:27 AM