Turns out, this really is the year of the 7 for us. Having had the wonderful opportunity to go behind the comfortable leather clad wheels of no less than five iterations of BMW’s flagship luxo-barge. While the 750Li we last drove impressed us much with plenty of toys and powerrrrrr, the one i was more keen to test is what have with us today. The G11 730i, in non BMW-speak, the normal wheelbase, “entry level” 7 series. A 4-cylinder, 2-liter (Twin power turbo) 7 series.
Still interested? You should be.
For those keen in numbers, 258 horses and 400Nm of torques. That’s a similar horsepower output to the previous 3-litered Straight-6 engined F01 730i but a lovely 90Nm increase in pulling power. Those extra 90Nm make all the difference, enabling the G11 to hit 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, 1.5 seconds quicker than its predecessor. With peak torque coming in from 1550rpm (to 4400rpm), overtaking manoeuvres can be easily dispatched with some light flexing with your right foot. The same right foot that by now has helped diminish all thoughts of doubt pertaining to BMW’s choice of engines in a 7. What BMW has done with their “entry level” 7 is very impressive.
Before i go on and on about the car, let’s get to the most important bit of this review. How does a 7 series drive and perform with an engine that takes up less than half the space its been given. In short, its drives rather well. The engine might be compact, but it packs a mighty punch that belies its size.
The G11 730i marks the introduction of BMW’s brand new modular B48 engine to the 7 series stable, replacing the much heralded N-series engines. Featuring a impressive list of tech, direct injection, valvetronic, variable valve timing (Double VANOS), and turbocharging amongst many others. What it means to us though, is more power and more torque while consuming less and emitting less.
The only complaint i might have with this engine, is probably the lack of an emotive engine note. But i’m guessing for buyers in this segment, they’d prefer serenity over excitability.
Which isn’t to say this 730i can’t perform. Far from it. Having thrown the extended wheelbase G12s around a couple of bends with aplomb and coming away rather pleased, we expected the G11 to perform just as well if not better.
We were of course not disappointed, with a lighter front end and much better balance (looking at where that engine’s sitting, it looks pretty much like a front midship layout), our 730i happily took in most of what threw at it and carved through winding bends like no other car in this segment should, quite naughty this 7.
While a variety of driving modes can be selected using the Driving Experience Control switch, we personally feel that an engaging drive can be had regardless of whichever drive mode has been selected. Maybe with the exception of Eco Pro mode.
Some understeer is dialed in when pushing in hard but easily corrected by easing off the throttle. Brakes are excellent overall with strong bite when scrubbing off speed in a hurry. Steering feel can sometimes be a little vague when driving in an “enthusiastic” manner, but in everyday situations, the electric steering system does make pottering around the business district much easier and more relaxing.
We’ve pretty much covered the exterior visuals of the new 7 is our previous drives and while we are fans of this new evolution in aesthetics, it is in standard wheelbase where the styling really shines. Without the extended rear doors, the sporty intent of the design is much more apparent.
While all 730i’s come standard in Pure Excellence spec, we very highly recommend ticking the box for the M-Sport package.
This optional package adds in the BMW Individual Alcantara headliner, Shadow Lines the trims and clothes the body in the M Aerodynamic Package before dropping the car on a very choice set of double spoke 19″ shoes. On our test car’s metallic grey paintwork, the overall effect is very lovely indeed. If we were to spec a 730i, this M-Sport grey car is exactly how we’d do it.
While the 730i might be the base-spec entry level 7 series, one can be hard pressed to notice much difference on the inside. The interior space is still once again, a very inviting place to be, with most of the new hallmark technological features remaining intact. To name a few, Gesture control, the touchscreen iDrive interface (with the latest and best iDrive build loaded in), ambient air, Driving Experience Control and the dual axle self-leveling air suspension system are all available in the 730i.
Unfortunately, those at the rear will have to make do without reclining seats nor any massage functions. But we reckon there is still plenty of space for the boardroom executives pack.
So do we like? Of course we do. BMW have done an excellent job putting this together. It drives well, looks handsome and has a fantastic drivetrain that belies its engine and physical size. Go try it and tell us you are not impressed. BMW clearly has an ace in this base.