For many years I was a huge 7 series fan, my mum had a 745i when I was growing up. We'd fly down country lanes, me strapped into the back seat, Queen blasting out on the stereo, sunroof open wide. Its one of my fondest memories, nearly all my childhood memories features my mother and whatever car she had at the time. My mum was and still is a great motorist, she loves cars and driving and even at 63yrs old, drives a kitted up 7 seat Citroen Picasso VTRS, like a woman on a mission.
I brought my first BMW 735i when I was 22, it was about 5yrs old, and I got it for a bargain. It had leather, ac, Sat Nav (all be it a rubbish Sat Nav that couldn't navigate its way out of a paper bag) and a TV (which rarely worked and when it did it was unwatchable!). But regardless of its many idiosyncrasies I LOVED it, it was a luxury barge that sailed along, I tinted the windows, put some 19" on it and I thought it was the absolute epitome of class and style. I went everywhere in it, regardless of the absolute fortune it cost to run. I was a rep on the road and I spent every single penny of my monthly car allowance (and half my salary) on running, insuring and maintaining it. Unfortunately the gearbox fell out, shortly followed by the engine! I replaced it, with another 7 series, this time a 728i (I went for a smaller engine in the hope of lowering my running costs), this one lasted 6 months before a van passing by its parking space decided to take umbrage with a turn and piled into the side, writing it off. So again I replaced it with… another 7 series, this time an Alpina 7 (serious sports), this one lasted about 11 months before it totally disintegrated into a pile of very expense repairs and replacement parts. So much so that I replaced it with a Range Rover, whose LPG conversion blew up one month exactly to the day I brought it.
So what's the point of the long pre-ambulation? The reason I spent 30k on a crap Range Rover was because the only 7 series available in the price range I wanted to pay, at the time of replacing my 7 Series… was the last shape. I thought it was one of THE most hideous cars I've ever clapped eyes on. Imagine a fat drag queen (in lycra), Egyptian eye makeup from the corner of the eye to the hairline, bending over showing some crack. That was how I would sum up the last generation; absolutely nothing on earth would have got me to part with my money for one. I loved my old square shaped 7's and nothing was going to change my mind.
Fast forward nearly a decade, I'm 31 and I've owned about 15 cars over the last 10yrs, some bad, some good, some which will always be sat on a pedestal in a beam of sunlight hailed as the best of the best…. Cue time for BMW to radically change and release the all new 7… WOW is all I can say, its gorgeous, sleek and sexy, a land barge that has the look of an Olympian. It's still purposeful, but now it's got its poise back. If the new 7 came up behind you on the motorway you'd move over and let it through, it's got its beast inside image back, and I love it.
The huge bulbous front nose have been replaced by a slimmer more detailed face, complete with the new BMW grille that features across the range, except this grilles big enough to eat your head.
Inside it's the same story, everything has been rethought with an even more luxury focused but sporty feel and with a feeling of agility. The rear and profile have received the same 'celebrity fat club-esque' diet and fitness regime. Clean sleek lines and flowing lights streamline the 7 into a force to be reckoned with.
The quality of the finish is superb, supple leathers and beautiful woods (or if you're on the sports side of things, aluminium) trims. Passenger comfort whether your front, rear or driving it in a different league to most. Equipment-wise, if it doesn't come as standard on the 730d SE, you probably don't need it!.
So on to performance, well the 3L turbo diesel engine that powers the 730d is smoother than silk, its powerful and has plenty of acceleration in every gear. So quiet that twice I tried to start the car without actually realising I'd already done it. Coupled with the outstanding BMW 6sp automatic step-tronic gearbox, the two work better together than Ant and Dec (you can also stand to be around the Beemer for more than 5mins without wishing to cut your own ears off) and makes the overall driving experience unbelievable fun, engaging and relaxing.
Everything about the new 730d is right; it handles beautifully, soaks up bumps and lumps in the road, corners even at speed with poise and determination. It's quick (0-62mph takes just 7.2secs) it's fairly economical doing nearly 40mpg (combined). It's luxurious and demands respect, it's a bitch to park as it's still the size of a boat, but you can't have everything! Price wise, the model I tested came in at £54,160, with several cost options, most of which were safety based and worth adding, the price rose to £57,670, which for all that car, in my opinion, is a bargain!
So would I buy another 7 series now…. Without hesitation, its once again a beautiful beast, its got heart, soul and more luxury than Harrods. I'd also buy the 730d because it's got all the performance of the petrol engine with much lower running costs.