When the new BMW 7 Series was launch this year, the design was the main focus of many who saw it. Now we spent a week living with it and we found its not just the design where it majors.
The test unit came in the attention grabbing two-tone (above) which many people commented positively on with one saying it completes the “Stately” design of the car. The controversial grille combined with the M-Sport Package, which gets a unique front design treatment, gives the 740i a look which no one will mistake for anything but the 7 Series on the road. Not everyone liked the design but everyone agreed that “Idonsa emehlo indlela” (Draws attention like no other).
The M-Sport package comes standard with M-Design alloys whilst all BMW 7-Series now come in long wheel base meaning longer rear doors. The rear LED slim lights tone down the design aggression with a more traditional design. In motion, the long front bonnet allied to the long wheel base gave the driving sensation of a limousine.
The interior of our test unit came in a brown leather finish that screams opulence. I am not sure whether it would age gracefully though and our test unit already had dirt marks around the cabin. The curved infotainment screen works well when stationery but not so much when driving however the rotary knob in between the seats makes control much safer.
The rear seats are where executives will spend most of their time with reclining rear seats and an extra reclining for the rear left passenger side. The electrically opening and closing doors are a nice attraction but proved not so user friendly in some cases as you would press the open button when outside and it wouldn’t open fully, one suspecting you needed to be a bit further from it….not so easy when you have to manually touch the button.
The 31-inch 8k resolution rear entertainment screen is the focal point at the rear and anyone who sat at the back was wowed by the opening sequence which closes all the rear blinds, sun roof as it slides from the roof down. We couldn’t activate it during our test as it proved not so easy to activate or link to view digital content.
On the move the 740i proved class leading in mixing comfort and sportiness with the 280kW/540Nm 3.0-litre Turbo six cylinder engine humming nicely when in comfort. The lack of an xDrive can be tricky in bad roads as the 740i is quite big and heavy. Parking is not the best if you are scared of tight spots even with the 360 degree camera views. When in Sport mode, you do get the sense that the BMW can take your dynamic roads quite well especially when compared with direct competitors from Mercedes (S Class) and Range Rover (Big body). BMW claims 8.1l/100km but even with the Eco mode in full swing we averaged 9.2l/100km which is still pretty handy.
In summary, the BMW 740i is one of the best luxury segment tools one can buy if looking for a perfect combination of Avant Garde design, tech fest, luxury, sportiness and a car that stands out. Luxury buyers will pay R2,235,000 for the M-Sport Package 740i but then you will have to pay more for the rear entertainment. As a luxury package, the Mercedes S500 and Range Rover P460e can’t match the 740i.