By Jepan Mihai
Just a few minutes behind the wheel of Munich’s two tonne behemoth confirms that the age of computer-driven cars has well and truly arrived.
A virtual supercomputer on 19-inch wheels, BMW’s luxury four-door flagship allows fingertip control of elementary functions like the handbrake, boot-lid and rear-window sun blind, voice control of the sat-nav and mobile phone, and little control during the operation of cutting-edge safety features like ‘active’ cruise control.
Other ground-breaking innovations like ‘Dynamic Drive’, the electronic chassis control system designed to eliminate body roll, means the 7 Series handles far better than a car that’s over two tonnes and five metres long should be capable of.
And inside the roomy, leather-lined cabin up to five passengers are cossetted in the style and comfort that only a luxury car can deliver.
The long wheelbase version of the 7 Series, which arrived in July, takes the mobile boardroom concept to yet another level. At 5169cm from bumper to bumper, the 7 Series limo provides 14cm more legroom for rear seat passengers, with corresponding larger rear doors for easier entry.
Which means that lucky backseat passengers can literally stretch out on the leather, cushioned seats, supported by reclining backrests and individual footrests located behind the front seats. With creature comforts like ventilated and heated seats and separate air-con, two people (there’s provision for three, but a middleman will block entry to the optional fridge behind the middle seat) can enjoy first-class luxury.
Apart from the extra legroom, the stretch sedans offer a similar hi-tech story to the rest of the 7 Series range, with power provided by either a muscular 4.4-litre V8 or 3.6-litre V8 in the 735Li, which we tested here.
Put the silky smooth six-speed, column-shift auto, in ‘normal’ driving mode, dab the throttle, and it slides into second gear for a getaway so smooth the VIP’s in the back will hardly notice they’re moving.
Or for some spirited driving, pop it in ‘Sport’, bury the pedal and with faster kick downs and a civilized V8 roar the big Beemer rockets towards the horizon in a manner that belies its bulk. BMW claims the 735Li takes care of the 100km/h sprint in an effortless 7.6 secs, the 745Li an even quicker 6.5 secs.
Passengers waft along on the pillow-like, all-independent suspension, shielded from all but the harshest bumps. While features like electronic damper control and Dynamic Drive – both options on the 735Li – do a great job of ironing out body roll, and keep the big sedan on a tight and controllable line in the bends.
The sheer weight and size of the car, however, never makes it feel completely at home on curling mountain passes. And for those who like a bit more feedback, the light steering, braking and electro- safety aids, although unobtrusive, often leave the driver feeling a bit removed from the action.
Computer boffins will love the 7 Series in-cabin techno-tricks. Once you learn,the push button starter procedure, driving from A to B is as easy as any other modern cars. Trying to master all the secondary features, including the iDrive system – which provides centralized, finger-tip control of sat nav, television, audio and CD player, etc – will require a few hours spent with the weighty manual.
Some of the 7 Series innovations, like the optional Active Seat, seem to pander to the laziness of the super-rich. Other features, like reverse-activated dipping mirrors and parking sensors, are a godsend on a car this expensive and imposing when trying to park in tight spots.
The 7 Series’ controversial exterior has certainly generated debate, but it’s undeniably muscular and backed up by substantial 19-inch wheels. Extra exterior chrome helps distinguish the long-wheelbase versions from the ‘base’ models.
The release of the extra long 7 Series, together with the arrival of the V12-powered 760Li next year, will extend BMW’s flagship range to five models. But unless you’re transporting heads of state, the limo version makes little sense.
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MLA Style Citation:
Mihai, Jepan "BMW 735Li Computer Driven Cars Have Arrived." BMW 735Li Computer Driven Cars Have Arrived. 23 Jun. 2010. uberarticles.com. 4 Dec 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/automotive/bmw-735li-lots-of-technology/>.
APA Style Citation:
Mihai, J (2010, June 23). BMW 735Li Computer Driven Cars Have Arrived. Retrieved December 4, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/automotive/bmw-735li-lots-of-technology/
Chicago Style Citation:
Mihai, Jepan "BMW 735Li Computer Driven Cars Have Arrived" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/automotive/bmw-735li-lots-of-technology/
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