There is a massive misconception around big luxury cars
that they are meant to be chauffeured. Well I say, “Hello, no sir, not at all!”
The thing is that they can also be chauffeured. It is a widely held belief in
our country that the most important accessory in an expensive luxury sedan is a
driver, and also that these big vehicles are too cumbersome to drive. We
recently had a BMW 7 Series standing in our parking lot, and we couldn’t wait
to take it for a short trip towards Dehradun to see if the new one is a driving
machine or do these misconceptions win.
The BMW 7 Series has come a long way in terms of design
since its birth. So controversial were the looks that big bimmer became a
marmite car, either you love it, or you hate it. But not anymore, the Chris
Bangle’s flame surfacing is finally on fire. This one looks absolutely
magnificent. The kidney grille stomps out with more authority now and the eyes
are sharper. Tiny chrome details on the front and rear add to the classy appeal
of the vehicle.
Although the new 7 Series looks nearly identical to the
previous model but once you start paying attention the changes become apparent.
For example the kidney grille now has lesser slats than the previous one, and
the signature corona rings are no more circular now. A continuous strip of LEDs
runs across the Adaptive headlamps which double up as turn signals and parking
lamps. Since we were running late and it was dark approaching Dehradun, the
powerful BMW headlamps illuminated the roads like daylight. Our test vehicle
was a the locally produced 730Ld variant which did not come with the night
vision camera but the CBU petrol models come equipped with it.
The interiors are typical BMW, smart and elegant. The
updated iDrive system takes the centre stage with a large screen. BMW has
installed the latest iDrive system (beautiful graphics we must say) and wrapped
up as many controls as possible in it, however there is still a collection of
buttons around to play with. Expect all the electronic goodies like 4-zone
climate control, electrically adjustable comfort seats, ambient lighting and
much, much more.
The rear of the 730Ld is a relaxing place to be. Both
seats get individual screen for the entertainment system and the iDrive console
which can be controlled via the control knob on the centre armrest. The fridge
lies in the centre behind the armrest, very handy on a journey. Both the rear
seats are electrically adjustable and come with massaging for added comfort.
Through our entire 260km drive, including driving in the dark, the big BMW kept
us comfortable and we were just not tired when we reached our destination.
POWER AND PERFORMANCE
Our test vehicle had a 3.0 litre six cylinder oil
burner which pumps out 258bhp of maximum power and peak torque figure of 560Nm.
The spooky bit is that the engine produces that torque at 1500rpm. There is
barely any turbo lag, especially in the Sport setting. Push hard and the nearly
2.0 ton BMW touches 100kmph in 6.2 seconds. Top speed has been electronically
governed to 250kmph. The acceleration is seamless, although not electric as a
petrol version, but the diesel engine has a relentless surge in it. Fantastic
engine this is.
I still reserve my rights to be in the driving seat of
the 730Ld. Yes people will come around and tell you it is heavy and you can
feel the weight of the car sloshing about through corners. And yes people will
say it lacks the connected BMW handling. But I disagree with them all. You
should not question how it does things, you just marvel at the fact that it can
do it at all. Pushing hard to cut down lap times is not at all the point of
this car, it is the joy of driving that it still preserves that is important.
The steering has perfect weight in it and responds as requested. Put it in
Sport setting and you can feel the car tightening up. All that about variable
damping, stability control and brake control starts making sense.
And finally when you fancy a relaxing drive back home,
just put it in Comfort and cruise away. Everything becomes soft and squishy. Be
advised the 730Ld dislikes potholed roads and the suspension bottoms out, we
blame the weak back roads and not the car at all. Another setting is the Eco
Pro which optimises shift points, throttle response and the air conditioning to
provide maximum efficiency. Regenerative braking now comes as standard on all 7
Series models. The system uses engine power on overrun to charge the battery
for the electrics of the car.
It is said that the 7 Series is a confused car. Neither
is it completely for the driver, nor for the passenger. I say this is a big
misconception. What the big BMW does is give you the best of both worlds. You
can either be driven in it, or have fun driving it yourself, you decide. The 7
Series exactly knows what it is doing; its loyalty rests with you both as a
passenger and as a driver.
BMW 730LD SPECIFICATIONS
in-line 6 cylinder, turbo diesel
automatic with Steptronic
Brake: Front/ Rear
Fuel Tank Capacity
Tyres: Front/ Rear
control arm axle/Integral-V multi-arm axle
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