Interior and tech
If you’re not enamoured with the latest generation of BMW interiors, you’ll be pleased to hear the 7-series still uses the same basic interior as the previous version, which is both good and bad. In the glamour stakes, the relatively simple architecture might lack the wow factor of the new Audi A8’s twin-screen layout or an S-class’s diamond quilting, but it’s perfectly formed, ergonomically sound and predictable.
It’s the quality that makes the rather demure architecture work so well, with a combination of sumptuous leather, sleek metals and soft-touch plastics enhanced by exceptional build quality and solidity. No touchpoint, aside from perhaps a creaky set of indicator stalks, is unimpressive, and crucially feels worth the high price tag associated.
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The 7’s iDrive system is the same as in pretty much all other BMWs, so it’s relatively clear and easy to use, with a deep level of capability, yet remains mostly logical. It’s more apt than a current Mercedes infotainment system, yet perhaps lacking the clarity of Audi’s MMI Touch system, even if the touchscreen input method still has a few question marks around it. What is new for the 7-series is the digital dial pack. It’s more capable and configurable than before, but can be a little hard to read at a glance and also does away with yet one more BMW trademark – that classic two round-dial interface.
Space is acceptable for this type of saloon in standard SWB form, and predictably the 7 is far more commodious in LWB form. And while the 7-series is not as practical or versatile as a large SUV, it’s still an extremely spacious and practical saloon.