A big question often arises in our minds. Is a BMW bike called as Bimmer or a BMW car? Few searches in Google showed a conflict, the same way as our thoughts were. Some say that Beemer is the word for BMW cars while others contest that Bimmer is the word. Whatever it is, both the products are from BMW and can be safely called as Bavarians. Wonder where this discussion is leading to, then take a close look at the title of this topic. Yes, its about BMW’s flagship model, the 2011 BMW 7 series and to be more precise, the 2011 BMW 740Li. Now, the 7 series is known to something more than just 8 furious stables under its long hood. To fit into more modern times, all the manufacturers including BMW have toned down their products but have maintained the power quotient with appreciable enough fuel economy. Who says that buyers in this category don’t need fuel efficiency or are least interested in the fluctuating prices of oil. They are equally at tenterhooks when the prices of crude rise. Here’s a review of the 2011 BMW 7 series.
There were many conflicts with the styling essence of the 2009 BMW 7 series but then the newer designs don’t leave anything to controversy. The sinister look that any big barreled BMW would carry is reflected on the looks of the 7 series. The kidney grilles have become smaller and the blue and white propeller badge has moved further back to the hood. The inner Corona ring has become more prominent with a special brightness to it. Like our tester came with optional goodies thrown in like the M sport package, the looks can be altered for. Front chin spoiler and also wider air dams comprise of the M package. The side profile reveals BMW’s wafer thin sidewalls of the runflats mounted on 19 inch rims. Nowadays, even for the developing countries, BMW doesn’t have the standard wheelbase variant and it is only the L or long wheelbase variant which is available. Sprawling at a tad more than 17 feet, this is one long sedan. By the way, peer closely and the M logo on the wheels can be found peeping out. From the side profile, the tail pipes are quite visible and the rear portion has been blended in nicely with the overall package with the sick looking earlier tail lamps replaced now. The twin tail pipes also look and feel chunky now. Though the front portion would resemble a BMW, the rear one doesn’t look as much BMW as the earlier generation one.
Needless to say, the first thing that would catch the eye is the M badging on the steering wheel. The door entrances also have a subtle M logo attached. Inside, the use of even more plusher materials mark the arrival of the 2011 model. Far fewer buttons than the earlier one is also a welcome change. The seats from the earlier bit hard one have being replaced with soft ones but one long trip in the 2011 7 series and we knew that the old seats are much better suited for long distance traveling, which we suppose many owners of the new 7 series would be keen on doing. BMW have made use of a twin system lighting effect for the multi functional clocks. Moreover, since our vehicle was configured with the optional packages, there was the Camera package which we were explained comes in for a cool $1200 and which helps in getting feedback from both the sides as also the rear, when reversing. There is an attention to detail that we usually see in more of German products. Soft touch switches and many more of the details can be seen. However, a vehicle as big as the BMW 7 series, grows up on its owner over the period of ownership. One of our staffers has got a BMW 5 series model and he did mention that living with a German car is learning about its functions every single day of the ownership. A noteworthy thing is about the door handles in the 7 series. They are beautifully crafted and look the part as well. If at all, the BMW 7 series price does seem expensive, it would be easily forgiven with one peek at the inside door handle. At the rear, the 7 series is a strict 2 seater. Strict 2 seater since the middle hump limits the capability of seating a third passenger in comfort. Boot space for such a big car is though disappointing at 15 cubic feet with a ski pass rack. The rear seats don’t split and this would also limit the practicality. However, a BMW 7 series owner is sure to have atleast one more vehicle in his fleet, which would take care of the mule duties.
Handling and ride quality
Though BMW have shifted a bit of their focus from handling prowess of their vehicles with the first step pointing towards the shift from hydraulic steering to electronic power steering, there is still some way before the other cars in its category catch up with the Bavarian’s way of handling. While, there are many cars which would lay claim to being the ultimate driver’s machines, few come as near as a BMW. In all, one wouldn’t feel the bulk of this car while piloting it in traffic or even on the freeway. Its got more to do with the driver centric focus that BMW have adopted for this car. The steering wheel has lost some of its feel, however it still is a precise unit requiring not more than a deft flick to change directions. The major change in feel is that while the hydraulic unit used to be a lot more heavy, the electronic one is light. While the preciseness or accurate feedback from the earlier variant is missing, we can still live with the new one. Though, there are enough talks about how the driving experience has diluted, the new engine and gear combination have eliminated this entirely. As for the ride quality, what do you expect with runflats? They aren’t very cosseting but are not overtly hard like the previous generation ones. Admittedly, our chief correspondent wasn’t too happy giving his back the massages caused by road ripples. However, typical of German saloons, the BMW 7 series did mask all the road imperfections once the speed was above 45 mph. As far as noise control is concerned, the 7 series had it perfectly in its stride.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The starting para says it all that BMW have downsized and fuel efficiency being bumped wouldn’t be more good than in this section. The 3.5 liter mill of the 2011 BMW 7 series is an extension of the older motor. While BMW could have plonked in their newer N55 engine, they still went ahead with the N54 one. Before you scream at the prospect of owning a vehicle with older technology, let us assure you that apart from the cast iron block, there is nothing old in this engine. Infact, all the technology used in here is an entirely new thing. The reason why BMW persisted with this old motor is coz the new one cannot take the additional pressure of boost pressure which the new old one does so easily. At 5800 rpm, the motor produces 315 Hp of power and at the same time 330 pound feet of torque. The torque figure is achieved at a relatively lower 1600 rpm. The earlier 8 speed auto has been axed in favor of an EfficientDynamics 6 speed one. Throughout the entire time that we had the car with us, there was not once that we could get the needle to go past 2800 rpm. Not that the motor isn’t free spinning but it is just that the gearbox has been tuned to be more on the comfort end of things rather than being hurried and the torque being accessible from such a low end, it was but natural that there is always enough lugging power at disposal.
If you need an enthusiast machine and one which promises luxury at the same time, then looking any further than the BMW 7 series is a futile waste of time. Armed with 8 airbags and a billion other safety features, there is little that can dent a BMW 7 series reputation for safety. Although the 2011 model hasn’t being crash tested yet, our estimates say that it should reflect the 5 star ratings that the 2010 model gathered. Moreover with its rear axle biased power delivery, the BMW 7 series is up for some serious action with some of the electronic aids switched off. The best part of this whole exercise is the fuel efficiency. Believe it or not, the 2011 BMW 7 series did achieve a realistic combined figure of 20 mpg. This corroborates the EPA figures of 17 mpg for the city cycle and 26 mpg on the highway. The pure absence of any body roll further accentuates the driving pleasure.
The 2011 BMW 7 series price starts from $74,641 and goes all the way to $88,325. This price is steep, however, as discussed earlier, the entire process of procuring a BMW car and especially the 7 series is done by the heart and eventually supported by the mind also.