Traditionally, the top-end models from the big three Germans marques have taken a conservative route in their styling, leaving the smaller models in the lineups to experiment with new ideas.

The just launched all-new BMW 7 Series has surprised everyone with its sleek, innovative shape. Take a look at the complex front and the positively avantgarde bling in the lower surfaces of the doors, bling that sweeps up into the front guards. The large inbuilt exhaust outlets do their share in the strong appearance.

Fascinatingly, there are even traces of Chris Bangle’s styling at the rear of the new ‘7 maybe showing the maligned-at-the-time BMW designer was years ahead of his time?

If you think the standard Pure Excellent 7 Series body isn’t quite bold enough for your taste, BMW Australia can provide one with the M Sport package at no extra charge.

At first glance the interior of the new 7 Series isn’t quite as adventurous in its style as the all-new body. There’s more to it than looks though, pop along to your local BMW dealer one evening for a demonstration of the ambient lighting system. And while you’re in there sample the freshness of the air inside and the various fragrances on offer. The large cabin is a most pleasant place.


The designers have trimmed about 130 kg out of the new car. Some of that by using the carbon fibre reinforced plastic developed body technology developed by BMW’s electric and hybrid i-car division.

At long last there’s a head-up display that doesn’t disappear when you put on polarised glasses. We first experienced a HUD in an X5 many years ago and I bemoaned the fact it wasn’t visible through my sunnies. It’s good to see the problem has finally been addressed.

New 7 Series is positively crammed with technology, though interestingly the company which invented the iDrive in cars has again made more features manually adjustable should owners prefer it that way. New to the controls is a ‘gesture’ function similar to that we see on topline TVs. This lets you turn the sound system volume up and down as though you’re turning an invisible knob in mid air.

Safety features do everything they can to control the car should the driver not be paying attention. Lane keeping and distance keeping work nicely and cameras around the big Bimmer give you a variety of views – particularly useful when parking.


Power for Australia 7 Series imports comes from either a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel (195 kW) in the 730d, a new-design straight-six 3.0-litre turbo-petrol (240 kW) in the 740i, or a 4.4-litre V8, tagged 750i that has been reworked for the new-gen 7 Series and produces up to 330 kW.

All engines drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with sporting settings on call, and manual overrides for the driver who wants even more control than the computers provide.

We sat in the back seat of two BMW 7 Series with a chauffeur transporting us to and from meetings and our hotel. The big BMW is impressively smooth and quiet and the adaptable suspension keeps it flat and feeling extremely sure-footed on the road.

The standard wheelbase model has enough rear legroom – but only just. The long-wheelbase is much more comfortable and should be the vehicle of choice for anyone intending to carry adults in the rear for trips of any distance.

The turbo-diesel 730d in our test car in the Melbourne area provided fast response with a minimum of initial turbo lag. Once the maximum torque of 620 Nm was on call it accelerated with plenty of purpose, just the thing for safely overtaking slower vehicles and spending the minimum amount of time on the wrong side of the road.

Behind the wheel there was the same feeling of near silence and comfort we had experienced while being spoiled by professional limo drivers.

Our initial driving impressions from behind the wheel were shorter than usual due to circumstances beyond our control. We will bring a full range of driving comments after road testing a new 7 Series on our home ground in south-east Queensland as soon as we can get our hands on one.

Big, smooth, powerful and very BMW the all-new 7 Series is an impressive machine that will appeal to those who like to drive and enjoy grand touring in this vast continent we call home.

The complete range of the new BMW 7 Series is:
730d: $217,500
740i: $224,200
740Li: $238,000
750i: $289,600
750Li: $312,700
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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