BMW BMW BMW. Ya now I am really bored of these cars. Wouldn’t you be, if you are asked to sift through BMW cars for 3 continuous days and on top of it, write about them lavishly? You would say that I am spoilt for choices but then coming from a middle class belonging makes me think about the absurd amounts of money people are willing to spends on cars, in the name of luxury. They say that the BMW 7 series or even the Mercedes S-class are the epitome of luxury. Not to forget the ultra luxurious Rolls Royce and other cars in its category. Now, the time has come to actually ditch this cars back at the dealership and look elsewhere. This is the second last test drive and I really can’t wait for the weekend anymore. So it’s the BMW 7 series in India which has come under the test drive baton. There is the more maniacal M series waiting in the wings for me once I am done with the 7 series. There are an absurd number of variants like the BMW 730Ld, BMW 740 Li, BMW 750 Li and BMW 760 Li. All the 4 are long wheel base variants. For a review, like I said, I really don’t have the time and especially with all the lineup of cars waiting for me as if I am the Pontiac of Rome.
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With the mention of Pope, I am reminded that he also gets chauffeured around in a BMW 7 series. Don’t ask me the version since that is unknown but what is known is that it is a heavily armored vehicle. For the looks of this car, I am always reminded of the controversy the fourth generation BMW 7 series created. Touted as the original design by BMW’s erstwhile chief designer, Chris Bangle, it started the flame surface theory to light. It may be personal but then I feel that the kidney grilles are more upright than any other sedan or SUV, SAV, SAC whatever in the BMW stables. It actually looks more boxy now instead of the curvy design earlier. The air dams are subtler and have small fog lamps. Just to fulfill desires, BMW has provided this car with fog lamps. BMW’s earlier theory was that fog lamps are not necessary for cars which have the cornering lamp function to them. I am being told that the hood is raised as in Europe and other countries, pedestrian safety is given importance. What I or anyone else cannot deny is that BMW 7 series in India reeks of class. This is before you have got inside the car.
The 18 multi spoke alloy wheels and some curves on the door panels define the look of the car from the sides. Needless to say, the Hofemeister kink is present on the roof towards the rear. Earlier BMW 7 series boot design was adopted by our very own Maruti Swift Dzire but since the time Bangle has left the building, the boot has now turned less ugly. From a distance, the new boot looks exactly like the one in the older generation Honda Accord. Nothing exceptional about the boot design then. The twin closely huddled tail pipes give a visual respite at the rear. With this car, BMW has adopted the safe conservative method rather than go all the way sporty.
The same feelings are echoed inside the car as well. The steering wheel feels the richest to hold and look at than the other BMWs which I have so far driven. Just the way, the doors shut makes one aware about the class build quality. The usual simple BMW dials which are actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing are present in this car. Now the difference between all these variants that I have discussed before are only in their engine variants and overall length of the car depending on the long wheelbase as well as standard wheelbase variants. Stepping inside the car, I was comfortable in the driver’s seat within no time. The electronic adjustments for the driver as well as passenger’s seat ensures that one and all would be comfortable in them. One can also specify different interior trims as a high level of customization is available. The new and much improved Idrive system works wonders as it has got 4 small buttons to access the sub menus. There is now USB as well as AUX input connection inside. I don’t know if its me but then the gear lever feels a bit out of place. It is nicely crafted but then it feels artificial to the core. The engine also gets a start stop button as well as keyless entry.
The rear seats would be the most frequently used places for a car buyer in this segment. But if you are buying a BMW, it means that you love to drive. Ain’t it? BMW have taken the back seat buyers seriously now and the individual rear seats are very comfy. Mercedes inspired massaging functions are also available. Moreover they have 3 different settings to them. Rear seat passenger is the king and so he/she (for the female chauvinists) has been provided with a mini Idrive system which can control the climate control, access audio system as well as also check out the DVD screens at the back of the front seat head rests. Just open the central tunnel console and you will find many cubby holes to keep those Iphones or now, the Android ones or even tablets. Speaking of these devices, this car is India’s first car to get Internet connection. So all those corporate honchos, be happy as you can conduct your board meetings from the confines of this car. Boot space is also good for a sedan but not for this class. It ranks somewhere between 500-530 liters. A Toyota Etios has slightly more space than that.
If you love to drive, you buy a BMW. Well, that’s the general motto or thought behind buying any BMW. But then have you heard of a BMW which has excellent ride quality as well? Nah. Shake hands with the BMW 7 series in India. I got the opportunity to sit and experience one and all of the BMW 7 series cars available in India. First the ride quality. It is exactly as to what you call as a Magic Carpet thing. Even on the not so perfect roads (where do we find one in India by the way?), the car didn’t let me know of what is going on underneath it. This is achieved via the air suspension which is variable and depends on speed. The rear suspension has been damped in a soft manner and this helps it to achieve this supreme ride quality. The best part is that this sublime ride quality is achieved via the usual tyres that BMW uses for its cars, the run flats. Earlier I remember most of the automobile scribes rushing to be behind the wheel of a BMW but with the 7 series, I am sure, the trend would be reversed. Not that the car has lost out its edge in the handling department but then the ride quality at the back is so good that you would rarely think of moving in the driver’s seat. So for the now so called handling prowess of the BMW 7 series in India, it is the same as one would expect from all BMWs. Except for the fact that the steering wheel is now ultra light and more in the category of Audi. BMW steering wheels are known to be more of a heavy thing at parking speeds and tend to get a bit light but then still provide the maximum feedback one can get from a steering wheel. This one does provide for good feedback but then as I said, I have been accustomed to driving BMWs since the past 3 days and I was a bit nervous behind the wheel of this car. Slot the mode into sports and you can literally feel the dampers tightening and the car is now an agile cat around corners.
NVH is also very low and almost non existent if one is in the rear seats. For the driver. Speeds above 140 clicks can produce some much needed audio motivation to the chauffer to go on faster and make sure that his master reaches the conference on time and safely. There is also 4 wheel steering system added to the car. Don’t get confused. It is actually a technology which aids the car while making quick turns. To improve maneuverability, the rear wheels move in the opposite direction than the front ones at slow speeds, below 60 kmph. Above this speeds, the rear wheels don’t do any antics and follow the path of the front ones albeit not more than by 3 degrees. If I sit down to write about the various technologies working behind the scene to keep things from going out of ground, I would exhaust myself as well as two to three pages. I will save it for some other day.
Engine options in the BMW 7 series in India is limited to 3 petrols and one diesel. Obviously keeping Indian likes in mind, the diesel is the one which impressed me. BMW 730Ld’s engine gets the 3.0L I-6 engine from under the hood of the BMW 520d. The motor has been tinkered around with to give it some extra muscle and all this has now resulted in the motor making 245 Bhp as well as 550 Nm of torque. Figures would be able to better explain the car’s performance. This car races from 0-100 kmph in only 7.2 seconds. So much for a small diesel engine and a car weighing two tonnes. The top speed is electronically limited to 230 kmph. The 740 Li gets a 3.0 liter petrol engine which gets 321 Ps of power and a huge 459 Nm of torque. Since this was a test drive, I couldn’t establish the 0-100 kmph dash figures for all the cars except for the diesel one. The next in line, BMW 750 Li which gets a 4.4 liter V8 engine which has a power output of 407 PS and 610 Nm of torque. The last and the most powerful engined variant, the BMW 7 Series 760Li gets a 6.0 liter V12 engine which makes 543 Ps of peak power and 760 Nm of torque. This one is for the serious performance enthusiasts who want more of bragging rights at their personal car meetings and all.
The transmission for all the variants is the 6 speed auto. It feels slightly bogged down in the diesel and may be the 8 speed transmission from the 5 series would have worked wonders for this engine. All the petrol engines have their top speeds limited to 250 kmph. Brake feel is exemplary and knowing that you can stop such a big, fast car with all the electronics behind you is satisfying. So the brakes are ventilated discs on both the ends, CBC, EBD, brake assist, ABS and also traction control. 6 air bags, side intrusion beams, lane change warning, night vision camera and 3 point ELR with pretensioners make up for the safety package.
BMW 730Ld photo Gallery
What about fuel economy? Remember it’s a test drive of the BMW 7 series in India and not the review. So approximate figures point out that the BMW 760 Li is the most thirsty one whereas the diesel one is the least sipper of the quartet. With diesel running costs, it is fairly easy on the wallet and is also the cheapest of the lot.
Test drive results: The 7 series is a large car which one can be very intimidating to drive in traffic but then you are expected to hire a chauffer and get on with the task of checking out the gizmos at the back. This is the place where you are expected to sit and relax. You can also think about the next business strategy or even the annexation of a company. Enjoy the 12 CD changer music system or even watch news on Doordarshan. Its your choice boss. If you are tired, stretch your legs and enjoy the massaging functions of the seats. To buy one, if you are a fairly rich person, you would still have to sell off one or two of your properties. For the starters, the BMW 7 series price in India for BMW 730Ld is Rs 85.7 lakhs, whereas the price for the BMW 740 Li is Rs 88.57 lakhs. The BMW 750 Li would take you back by Rs 1.02 crores and the monstrous BMW 760 Li costs a whopping 1.45 crores. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. For the latter one, also purchase a petrol pump. Trust me, you would need one for it.