Back in the Boss’ seat: Driving the BMW G12 740Li

Not too long ago, we were invited to go behind the wheel of BMW’s latest and undeniably most brilliant 7 series to date, the G12, and we came away throughly impressed. So naturally, when Performance Motors offered us another opportunity to pilot BMW’s latest luxo-barge around, we were only happy to oblige.

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Key differences between this and the previous car we drove? We now majestically roll the roads sans M-Sport, with much of the key chrome panels (much shiny!) back in place and a more understated set of 19″ wheels in place of the very good looking 5-spokes from the M-Sport. On our dark silver car, the new 7’s distinctive twin upper character lines are a lot more apparent as well.

While we think the M-Sport is the much better looker, this “standard” Pure Excellence Design G12 does have a much more distinguished and dignified aesthetic. More Richard Gere than Liam Neeson perhaps?

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Inside, the differences are much more apparent, deeply lacquered wood trim, creamy creamy baby soft nappa leather everywhere, quilted seats, plush carpeting and leather trimmed grab handles are the first points of contact you encounter when you first enter the cabin. The atmosphere inside our cream on dark silver 7 is vast and light, with plenty of space all around for anyone fortunate to be inside.

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For those even more fortunate few to be ferried around in the back of one of these babies, our 740Li now has an Android-powered Tablet which offers a myriad of controls for those seated in the back. Seat adjustments, massage modes, interior lighting, climate and even access to the iDrive infotainment system. The life of a boss indeed. Another treat for those in the “Executive lounge” is the addition of BMW’s Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge to its Ambient Light package.

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Made up of more than 15,000 light elements. The light design can be switched between the six colours from the Ambient interior lighting menu. It does look pretty cool but unfortunately, it really is something that can only be enjoyed by those in the back once again.

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Although we’ve previously sampled the new 7’s range of high-tech toys, it did take us a short while to get back in the groove of having most controls in the cabin handled with as little effort as possible, cue us twiddling and pinching our fingers in front of the i-Drive while getting a full body massage on the driver’s seat.

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Speaking of which, we can finally show you the biggest car key ever made, in the World… The BMW Display Key, it’s ridiculously big. Granted it does do quite a number of things no other key (in the World) can do. Besides showing various information about the vehicle’s status (remaining fuel, current range and service notifications) it also allows selected functions to be controlled via the touch-screen display (central locking, windows/glass roof).

The 7’s Display Key also has a truly unique party piece, it can be used to remotely move the car in and out of a parking space without anyone inside the car, just press the screen on the key and the 7 will automatically glide itself forwards or reverse and shut itself down thereafter. The Display key can also be used to remotely start the car should you choose to remotely move it out of its parking lot. It’s 007 stuff right there. All in, also a very nifty key to have when playing “Who’s got the most impressive car key” at the next board meeting.

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There are no differences chassis-wise between our car and the previously tested M-Sport, which can only mean that dynamically at least, there is pretty much no equal in this segment and price-range.

Of course, the car also delivers a most cosseting ride and at the touch (or a few touches) of the centrally located Driving Experience Control buttons, allows the driver to explore the 7’s illogical-for-its-size driving capabilities. A big part of which can be attributed to BMW’s innovative and very clever Carbon Core construction which makes the chassis very stiff while ensuring a reduction in chassis flex. This unique method of construction not only ensures a benchmark in handling characteristics, but also reduces weight and lowers the center of gravity to further improve the G12’s roadholding. While less weight also has advantages in efficiency, the part we are most interested in comes alive when this big Beemer hustles down the street.

We’ve previously covered the numbers but for those who are still curious, the century mark comes up in 5.6 seconds and with 326 horses and 450Nm to play with, the newly revised (and highly revered) 3-litre Twinpower Turbo unit will power this limosine to a electronically limited 250km/h. With such a nice amount of juice under the bonnet, we have no doubt it can do plenty more.

But befitting its more stately exterior aesthetics, we kept our spirited driving for this 740Li in check and opted to cruise around in Comfort+ mode for most of our time with the car, massage seats always on and in-cabin fragrance comfortably switched on of course. Throw on some jazz in the background and with a wiggle of our little finger to bring the volume up, there is really no better place to spend any traffic jam in.

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We really enjoyed our revisit back behind the wheel of BMW’s 740Li, and once again, we’d reaffirm our position that the G12 is a Superlative masterstroke, which does make us wonder what will BMW come up with in the future to top their current flagship. With the G12 7-series, the future is now.


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