BMW 7 Series 730Ld – In the Lap of Luxury
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The 7 Series is the top most full sized luxury car from the German auto giant BMW. This car was introduced in the year 1977 and the 7 Series happens to be the flagship luxury sedan from BMW around the globe. The world has seen 5 generations of the 7 Series since it was introduce and the one BMW sells in India is the Long Wheel Base version hence the abbreviation L in its name LD.
The wheelbase for the 7 Series L versions is extended by 140mm i.e. 5.5 inches over the regular 7 Series which directly increases the in-cabin space. The 7 Series has grown longer and wider through the years and the current 7 Series has one of the biggest cabins among the Luxury sedans. The 7 Series is always been known for being the pinnacle for comfort, safety and luxury combined with the typical driving pleasure associated with BMW cars.
The current BMW 5 series is also based on the 7 Series in terms of exterior design and a lot of the interiors also. We drove the 730LD which is the flagship model of BMW in India and which is also the diesel variant in the 7 Series family available here in India.
Exteriors – Overall Design
The exteriors of the 7 Series are typical BMW with a lot of natural presence and sheer sportiness and a lot of elegance involved. The progressive modern look is evident from any angle you view the car from. Going with the sporty character which BMW cars are known for, the perfectly proportioned dynamics with the low and stretched side view make its design hone. Body panels look as though they are sculpted with proportioned sculpt lines seen all around. The front has the typical family low slung BMW kidney grill which BMW is now so famous for.
The 7 Series has a very large grill keeping with the overall large dimensions of the Luxury sedan. The now so familiar BMW’s stylish head lamps do their duty on the 7 Series along with the family Corona -rings in it which are HID Xenon type. These headlights look amazing even during day time. There is also an extra light bar on the headlamp which looks like eye-lids running across the headlamp.
A set of 8 orange LEDs glow in a cluster inside the headlamps as turn indicators. Apart from the car’s long wheel base that is more than evident from outside, the long and sleek bonnet with a shortish overhang upfront make up the car’s profile. The low slung roofline adds a lot of character to the car’s stance when viewed from practically any angle. The wheel arches are taut and blend with the sporty side profile of the 7 Series. Huge doors have an auto shut mechanism which doesn’t need to be closed with a bang, you just need to simply tap the door and the motor sucks the door till it is closed.
The sculpted lines running from the headlamps through the front fender extend till the rear tail lamp clusters accentuating the elegant character that the 7 Series possesses. The low slung A-pillars meet with the low roof line all the way till the rear with a very soft and gentle slope. The additional body length naturally makes the doors large which when opened, help in the entry and egress to the car.
At the rear the horizontal lines and light edges adds to the powerful and muscular wide tracked stance of the car. The tail lamp cluster has lines which glow when the lamps glow which make the car look much wider from the rear. The luggage compartment lid opens via the remote electrically and also closes automatically when a button on the lid is pressed.
Turn indicators are also LEDs. So is the high stop tail lamp seen in the rear window as well as the number plate illumination. Fit and finish is the finest that we have seen considering that the new Rolls Royce Ghost is also based on this 7 Series. We need not say more, Should we?
Interiors – Cabin – Gadgets
Generous proportions on the outside mean big space in the cabin. The 7 Series has one of the best and biggest cabins among the cars from its segment. Leg room, knee room and head room, shoulder room; well loads of them are here. Genuine leather upholstery is used abundantly in here on the seats, door panels and on the dash as well. Bright interiors thanks to the upholstery and cabin lights highlight every corner of the cabin. Ambient soft red lights glow during the night. Real wood inserts on the dash, door panels heighten the richness of the interiors.
Typical BMW 3 spoke steering wheel with the mandatory control buttons for the cruise control and the music system looks and feels very up-market. 4 – Zone climate control works seamlessly; so does the music system which practically has all the needed connections. A 6 DVD changer is carefully hidden inside an opening just above the glove-box.
Instrumentation is again typical BMW style and very visible round dials look soothing to the eye during any light conditions. Glove box is generously sized with an USB port hidden inside via which one can load music to the on-board 80GB hard-disk drive. We are told that BMW 7 Series uses the world’s first ceramic on selected control elements and switches instead of the galvanized materials used by others. Yet another family feature, the i-Drive sits neatly on the center arm-rest console along with the BMW auto transmission drive leaver. The i-Drive dial controls practically all the menu functions seen on the large 10.2 inches big monitor screen that sits in the center of the dash.
Seating in the 7 Series is better than sitting on the Business Class Airline seats, every setting on the front seats are electrical with an extra setting which when used engulfs the sides of the seat which holds the drivers and front passengers waistline adding to the comfort level. The large front seats offer the best in class seating comfort which in turn result in a very comfortable drive experience. Rear seats can accommodate 3 passengers but is best suited for 2 if you want to experience the business class Airline like seating comfort.
The rear 2 seats have electric settings for adjusting the recline and incline along with the height and tilt adjust settings. Everything here is electrically operated. 9.2 inches screens are installed behind the front two seats and can be individually viewed by the back seat passengers and this can again be controlled by an i-Drive dial which is richly placed on the rear centre arm-rest.
Electrically operated side window sun blinds and rear sun blinds are standard here which help to increase the privacy for the rear passengers and also to cut out the sun glare when needed and also give you a celebrity like feel.
Leg room, head room, knee room and shoulder room are abundant at the back with the seats perfectly shaped to soak out the long distance drives. The night drive vision with person detection is a very unique function which shows the front outside view on the front monitor via an IR camera which is fitted just inside the front grill. This vision is very helpful while driving under zero visibility conditions like heavy rains, total blackout, fog etc.
There is also a Head-Up display that projects the current speed and other important information on the front wind shield allowing the driver to keep his eye on the road and not needing to move his eye on the dash. There is also the Dynamic Driving Control in the 7 Series which enables the driver to vary the setup of the car at the touch of a button and choose between Comfort, Normal, Sports and Sports+ modes. The dynamic damping control and the stability control changes in these modes and one can either stiffen the suspension and shorten the gear ratios or soften the suspension and ease out the gear ratios by these modes. As with the current BMWs, the 7 Series also comes with an electrohydraulic hand brake with auto-hold function for added convenience.
Loaded with a long list of gizmos and gadgets, the 7 Series has one of the best and well-appointed cabins among the current list of luxury sedans. Everything is built to last and quality is ultimate. Things work in perfect harmony and nothing much to complain about, except that we would have liked the 730LD to come with paddle-shifters too.
Engine – Suspension – Drive Feel
The 730LD is powered by the same Six-cylinder straight Diesel engine that also powers the 530D. It may look a bit under powered but that’s just on paper. This is a 2993cc (3liter) Diesel unit that makes 218PS of power @ 4000rpm and has a torque figure of 500Nm @ 1750rpm.
This inline 6 cylinder shoots the 7 Series from a standstill to 100 in mere 8 seconds and mind you the 730LD weighs close to 2 tons of dry weight. Remember BMW has made some of the best engines and this one-the N57D30 unit on the 730LD-is nothing but sheer joy to drive. This engine is designed for pure driving pleasure keeping in mind the efficiency too for all the efficiency hungry people. The engine is as super silent at idle yet when you need it to fly, you just need to tap the throttle and the 730Ld is zooming.
This is the third generation Common-Rail injection technology unit with a single variable geometry turbocharger while driving the car feels as agile and responsive as though you drive a much smaller sedan; throttle response is instant and the power is nerve wrecking, thanks to the mind blowing torque available. Engine noise and vibrations are well taken care of by the special damping possible by the use of ceramic glow plugs. Breath taking power and torque is generated at the rear wheel through a six-speed intelligent automatic transmission, it has the manual shift mode and this is when the paddle shifters on the steering were missed. The 730LD also impressed us with its suspension system.
The driver simply has to choose between the Dynamic Driving Control options: Normal, Comfort, Sports or Sports+ that automatically adjusts the suspension to the desired preset settings. Double-arm front axle a first for any BMW vehicle helps in enhancing the comfort level during drives on bad roads. The 730LD also uses an all new V rear axle that’s specially developed for the 7 Series along with an all new elastokinetic swing arm bearings that provide perfect interaction between the driving dynamics and motoring comfort.
The 730LD stays planted at all speeds perfect in harmony due to its dynamics and the Run-flat 275/40R19 rubber. These runflats can take you 250kms to a safe destination even after getting punctured. The steering feedback is perfect and the 730LD is more often to be driven by the owner than chauffeured. The active steering feature increases the driver feedback considerably and maneuvering this 2 tonner is pure joy.
In-cabin comfort level is high with the best being at the rear, set the rear seats to the lazy incline level and just doze off, you won’t know a thing in this super silent cabin. This car is capable of doing 250kmph and so the brakes have to be good, the 730LD is loaded in the braking department too with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), ABS, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Trailer Stability Control (TBC) we could go on and on with the technology that goes in to safely bringing this massive car to a stop.
All the systems work in tandem maximizing brake pressure on both axles as soon as it detects that the driver wishes to apply brakes with full power. We were more than pleased with the way the 730LD braked in all condition it was put in. The 730Ld is super fun to drive and it knows how to keep the driver involved at all times.
As with all BMW cars safety is at the highest in the 730LD with the body itself designed with deformation zones. A long list of air bags come as standard fitment that include airbags even for the hip, thorax, side, front curtain and head.
This is a fast mover; we did the 100kmph speed dash in about 7.5 seconds flat and crossed the 210kmph speed while the car can do 245kmph easily. The 730LD isn’t bad at efficiency either we got close to 10.10kmpl on the highway run while during city drives in tight traffic conditions the 730LD returned with figures close to 7.50 kmpl.
An overall efficiency of 8kmpl is what we got during a mix of city as well as highway driving that includes a lot of traffic drives. With fuel tank capacity of 80litre in the 730LD, one could easily do close to 800kms without stopping on one tankful just perfect for the intercity drives.
So, we have spent a lot of time with the BMW 730LD and the big boy surely does amaze us with its light handling like a smaller sedan for a car weighing nearly 2 ton and huge dimensions it’s no mean feat. The BMW 730LD is a fun to drive car and there is a lot of driver involvement that comes automatically in the package too. The BMW 730LD comes with a never ending list of gadgets and gizmos plunked on this huge sedan that should make a gadget freak smile from east to west for a long long time.
BMW did not initially get the Diesel 7series to India until it realized that true Indian need for a Diesel car was much higher than the Petrol. The BMW 730LD is the perfect choice for someone who is looking for the best comfort on four wheels along with efficiency figures that will make him happy, also not forgetting the super duper performance that the 730LD is capable of. Well with the ex-showroom Thane prices at 80.90 lakhs, this is a small price if you are out in the market looking for a Super Luxury car, consider the unmatched comfort levels and high standards of luxury along with the best rear seat comfort, tout handling and elegant looks that the 730LD offers.
Well one more lame excuse to get the 7 Series is that the Indian Prime Minister also drives around in a 7 Series but that being an armored version of this Beamer.
Audi A8, Mercedes S Class.