BMW 7 Series (2016-present)

The BMW 7 Series is a luxury car that's comfortable, economical but also good to drive

Strengths & Weaknesses


Advanced technology options
Good to drive


Not as comfortable as a Mercedes S-Class
Options are expensive
Some gimmicky gadgets

Choose a BMW 7 Series, and as you sail through the traffic, you can't help but have a rose-tinted view of the world. A rose-scented one too, thanks to the ventilation system, which allows you to have different fragrances wafting through the interior - like a posh Glade plug-in.

From the option of massaging seats - front and rear - to an integrated tablet for rear passengers to control their entertainment, the positioning of the rear blinds and the temperature around them, the 7 Series is design to cocoon and comfort you - much like the alternative luxury saloons: the Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ.

In these cars, the rear seats are as important as the front ones, because owners are as likely to be reclining in the back as sitting behind the wheel. There's the option of a longer 7 Series for that reason. This car has had the space between the front and rear wheels, known as the wheelbase, extended for extra space for passengers in the back.

But, like the Jaguar, the BMW is also meant to appeal to drivers. The 7 Series’ vast bulk vanishes the moment you drive it. The steering is quick and direct, the car feels stable, and the ride is a good balance of sporty firmness and comfort.

However, if you're looking for a car to drive with enthusiasm, then you would be better off with a BMW 5 Series, which also has plenty of space in the back.

And the way it drives has also forced BMW to compromise on comfort. If you're going to be travelling in the back, then the Mercedes S-Class is likely to be a better option, as it's more comfortable. The difference isn't enormous, but it's noticeable that the 7 Series bobs over bumps that are smoothed out by the S Class.

In other respects, passengers are pampered by the 7 Series. The cars are built solidly and loaded with technology: even the cheapest models have a big 10.25in touchscreen on the dashboard, full leather upholstery and four-zone air conditioning, that allows each passenger (apart from anyone sitting in the middle rear seat) to set the temperature for their part of the car.

As you move up the range, some of the additional extras seem like gimmicks: the car offers gesture control, for example. Raise your hand in front of the dashboard screen, pinch your forefinger and thumb together, then twist - as if you were adjusting a dial - and the volume of any music will go up or down, depending on which way you turn. But it's much easier and more reliable to just use the buttons on the steering wheel.

Engines range from smooth, quiet and economical diesels to a supercar-beating 6.6-litre V12 petrol. There’s also a plug-in hybrid car, which has an electric motor and petrol engine. the major benefit to company car users are that its carbon dioxide emissions are as low as 49g/km, putting it into the lowest company car tax bracket.

Not even the Mercedes S-Class can manage this - not yet, at least. And the cost of owning one is also reduced by the generous BMW 7 Series deals that are currently being offered. Added together, it measn that the 7 Series offers the best all-round package for luxury car buyers, even if - in the back of your mind - you'll know that the Mercedes is more comfortable.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 18:00