BMW 7-Series G11/G12 (2015-on): review, problems and specs
Although the latest i sub-brand showcased technological approaches (regarding materials, powertrains and features), the newest 7-Series is given the last word. The Bavarian flagship recommends itself as the most tech-savvy luxury model up-to-date, and it has a lot of examples to support the description.
- Frugal yet performant diesel engines
- More comfy over the previous generation
- A lot of standard equipment
- Any choice should do
- It’s really hard to find one
Stay Away From
- Too much ticked options list boxes if you want to sell it afterwards
Known Problems & Recalls
- None so far
Under its beautifully sculpted bonnet, the new 7-Series can hide a broad range of engines, composed of three-liter I6s and large 4.4-liter V8s. In the US, you can choose only between the 740i and 750i versions (also available elsewhere) while outside the States, the Big 7’s engine line-up is completed with 730d and 740d offers.
740i aside, all the powertrains can be augmented with the all-wheel-drive xDrive. Managing the power distribution is a job for the 8-speed automatic transmission. It is available in short and in long wheelbase form – the US gets only the long wheelbase version, despite the lack of the “L” that indicates a Long wheelbase model.
Despite its nature (as a luxury saloon), the 7-Series put great emphasis on the driving, and the 6th generation is not making an exception. It might not be as engaging as a smaller BMW model, but it outruns its segment rivals.
Thanks to a “carbon core” architecture, the new 7-Series drops an impressive amount of weight – the 750i weights some more [[kg:1755]], as opposed to [[lbs:4310]] for the previous generation 740i. As a result, the new 7-Series feels more responsive and requires less fuel.
The Seven uses variable damper control, active roll stabilisation and even integral active steering (which, yes, means that it steers with all four wheels) to adapt to the road surface as the driver suggests it. Hey, it can even adapt by itself – there is a predictive active suspension feature that uses the front camera to scan the surface ahead and prepare the car accordingly.
The novelty here is the focus shift towards passenger comfort, though. The new 7-Series comes with self-levelling air suspension on both axles – it raises itself 20 mm for harsh surfaces and lowers by up to 10 mm at higher speeds, for extra stability.
At this chapter, BMW never felt scanty, so there should be no surprise the new 7-Series comes with impressive amounts of safety features as standard, starting with its... core.
Probably everyone already knows how good carbon fiber is in one’s car. It is lightweight, yet super resistant, keeping everybody from the inside... well, inside.
Eight airbags, Dynamic Safety System (that prepares the car for an imminent collision), a cruise control with brake function, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control – all of these and some more are equipping every 7-Series.
You can raise those with Driving Assistant Package (consisting of collision mitigation, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and speed limit information) and with Driving Assistant Plus (that adds active cruise control with stop-and-go function, crossing traffic warning, lane keep assist and lane control assist.
The new BMW 7-Series gets air suspension on both axles for the first time, assuring a more comfortable ride as ever. Yes, now is on par with its biggest segment rival (that would be the Mercedes’ S-Class) and no, it’s not as wafty as the S, but it is highly rewarding nonetheless.
It does have, instead, a class-leading wheelbase length, and that translates into plenty of room for the occupants. If the Handling chapter made you want to sit behind the steering wheel of a 7-Series, here you’ll have some arguments for the rear seats – especially if there’s a Long wheelbase version included.
The one seat you’d want to sit the less is the front passenger seat because that’s the only one that can’t have massage function (and can get cramped if the passenger behind you wants to stretch its legs... to the maximum). While the back right side seat can recline at up to 42.5 degrees, the one in front of it can slide up to 90 mm to make extra leg room.
Along with the 8-program massage function is the Vitality Program – that’ll help you get in shape through a series of stretching and pushing-the-backrest exercises.
All four seats are heated and ventilated, and the Heat Comfort pack extend the heating to the armrests and the steering wheel.
We guess you came here to read about the exquisite materials featured in the 7-Series’ cabin, so we’ll get to the point: you get as standard Dakota leather-upholstered interior, one that can be upgraded to Nappa or, via the BMW Individual package, to open-pore Merino leather.
One real challenge would be to configure a non-pleasant (aesthetically, that is) 7-Series interior. Hint: you can’t. Everything is neat and plushy and feels indeed exquisite. Where you don’t find leather, you get Fineline wood accents and aluminum coverings.
The 7-Series is a member of the exclusive luxury-saloon-club, so the practicality may not have been one of the main focuses in the development of the car.
The car is a 5-seater on the paper, but if you choose the optional Executive Lounge trim, you’ll get a median console that’ll compromise the middle rear seat. In exchange, you’ll receive a tablet that plays an universal remote role (through which you can adjust all the infotainment and comfort functions of the car) and a folding table hidden under the armrest.
The boot is 515-liters large – as long as you don’t have a champagne refrigerator or the plug-in hybrid versions opted for. The hybrids feature only 420 liters of space.
The car features parking assists and even a self-parking feature – you just park the vehicle aligned with the garage entrance and use the key fob to finish the parking operation from outside the vehicle. You’ll have to keep near, though – the car drives itself only 1.5 times its length and if the key fob is no more than 4 meters away.
For the first time in the Bavarian carmaker’s history, the 7-Series’ iDrive features a touch center display with proximity sensors – it’ll show the touch interaction buttons only when it “feels” a hand approaching. Most of the dash buttons have been replaced with touch commands also.
Speaking of interactions, also for the first time in BMW’s history (and the industry, for that matter), the 7-Series features a suite of gesture-based controls – such as adjusting the volume by doing air circles with your index finger, or rejecting a phone call by swiping the air in front of the central display with your hand.
As any experimental feature, the gesture-based controls are not replacing classic commands, so you’ll be able to adjust the volume or answer/reject calls using the analogic controls.
TV function, Harman Kardon, Bowers & Wilkins... they are all there if you want to upgrade your 7-Series experience with a cinema/music hall.
The lightweight materials used for the new 7-Series come into the discussion again here, because they play a major role in fuel efficiency, too, making the 7-Series more frugal than any similarly equipped rival.
The three-liter diesel engine does a great job sparing your wallet, with a claimed [[mpguk:60.1]] economy and 124 g/km CO2 emissions, while using the [[hp:261]] and [[nm:620]] of torque to spring from 0 to 60 (0-100 km/h) in 6.6 seconds.
In the States, the most frugal engine is the 3.0-liter gasoline unit in the 740i, with [[mpguk:41.5]] and 159 g/km CO2 figures.
When it comes to equipment levels, the new 7-Series is nothing but the most well equipped luxury saloon in the segment, with no less than 13 industry firsts. As standard, you get 18” wheels, LED head- and brake lights, metallic paint, electrically adjusted heated Nappa leather seats, four-zone climate control, 10.2-inch Control Display touchscreen, Professional sat nav, cruise control, automatic wipers and headlights with high-beam assistant, air suspension, variable dampers and much more.
Although there’s no wrong choice here, it’s fair to assume the diesels will be more sought-after than the gasoline models, so if you’re keeping your balance always in control, opt for diesel – but be careful at the options list should you want to return as much from the initial investment.