The Mercedes S-class has some serious competition with the arrival of BMW’s 7-series flagship. The BMW 750i M Sport oozes luxury, offers bags of style and pushes the boundaries of motoring technology, writes Tiff Needell
Although BMW has set the standard in the compact executive and executive model ranges – with its 3-series and 5-series saloons – when it comes to the luxury end of the scale it’s the Mercedes S-class that sets the pace. With around 40 per cent of the UK market, the German manufacturer dominates the sector, which is why the launch of the new BMW 7-series is a major event.
BMW has spent the last five years and around £1bn developing its new limousine, which arrives packed with innovative technology and premium luxury. This is the sixth generation of a model that made its debut in 1977 and since then it’s grown 10in longer, 4in wider and put on 290kg.
Let’s start with the key, because this is no ordinary door opener and ignition activator. No, this is a remote control device that will park your 7-series into the tightest of garages or car park spaces, with you standing on the outside.
The car’s BMW 750i M Sport styling is a smooth evolution of the previous model but a slightly more raked bonnet leads down to wider front lights. These link up with a larger kidney grill which has flaps that open and close depending on engine temperature, in order to reduce drag. Naturally, I chose the fastest model, the 750i, but prices start at £64,530 for the more frugal 730d, and you could spend a lot more if you get carried away with the many tempting extras. All models come with the cushioning comfort of air suspension combining with electro-mechanical anti-roll bars, which provide S-class ride quality in comfort plus mode and impressive handling when switched to sport.
Not that sprightly cornering is the prime concern for cars of this size because it’s the luxurious confines of the interior that will be most buyers’ prime requirement – and the new 7-series doesn’t disappoint. It oozes quality wherever you look – from seats that massage to the Rolls-Royce-inspired Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof.
Gadgets galore will help ease the driving chores, with a bigger display and the introduction of a gesture control system. Rotating a finger to alter the volume control or swiping sideways to reject an incoming phone call are just two of the modes available, while a Touch Command tablet in the back allows your rear-seat passenger to organise their own entertainment.
Even the headlights bring a new innovation – laser lights. These can double the length of lights penetration to up to 600m and are backed by a curve light system that helps you look round corners and a selective beam which automatically diverts away from oncoming cars.
With this and many other aids, the new 7-series takes one step nearer the autonomous driving dream. That’s much further away than some seem to think, but here is a car that will sort out your lights, maintain your lane, brake if anything untoward looms, read the road ahead and adjust suspension accordingly – and do it all with its occupants relaxing in virtually soundproof luxury. The S-class now has some serious competition.
BMW 750i M Sport
For more information on the BMW 750i M Sport, visit bmw.co.uk