The new 7 series had no other choice. When you play in the class where Mercedes-Benz is the first thing that comes to your mind, you HAVE to build a limo with every automotive ingredient possible and impossible inside.
The story repeats as with almost every new BMW model in the last 10 years if we talk design. You look and have the feeling nothing changed since two or three generations. You must look harder and longer so that evolution takes shape.
The new 7 has a few stories to tell about how to match an imposing profile with an Apple style design, in other words a short beauty demo and not even a hint of opulence. And this is the first victory. The body is drawn thinking of all the expectations coming from a young hearted customer when making plans for an upper-class limo. BMW invites you to sit on the driver’s seat without ”awkward” feelings. The only exception might be the long wheel base version I drove recently. The visual compromise of an extra 20 cm might be justified by the back-seat comfort plus but you are heading for the rear doors in almost all the situations.
In the interior, the recipe evolves in the quiet BMW spirit but you got caught between a lot of digital accents. It’ obvious no one wanted extravagant exercises, but you receive the perception of a sensorial future in exchange. I remember an Audi presentation where there were discussions about sensations when pushing buttons. In the new 7 you don’t even think about buttons as you have so many other modern ”ingredients” to think about. You have the gestures controlling the audio volume or the phone calls and this apparently just a ”gimmick” grows on you faster that you’d think… The piece to make Star Trek old news is the key, now incorporating a display and missing just the talking function compared to a smart phone. Almost… On the other hand, it keeps you updated with all the car’s function and it allows you to actually move the car in the parking space from outside.
Going under the bonnet, one finds a plug-in hybrid solution that clearly matches the modern philosophy of everything new in BMW. It is about having a 7-series pushed around by only a 2 liters gasoline engine and an electric one, both able to serve you a total power of 326 HP. On paper, this means going from 0 to 100 km/h in 5,5 seconds. In reality, sport is not the story here and therefore you prefer to keep it on the ”cruise” mood. Maybe the normal version is a bit dynamic but for sure the sporty fellows need a bigger engine. As for the city life, keeping the full electric mode on for ,theoretically, 30 to 40 km and charging the car at night makes you help the nature breathe a little bit more. And, yes, it feels right!