Ride and Handling
The BMW 7-series is built on the same CLAR platform as a majority of the BMW range, but with one key difference: double wishbone front suspension. This single element, in conjunction with the 7’s standard air-suspension, helps it ride with a serious level of sophistication; more than you’ll find on a 5-series, without doubt. Of course, part of the 7’s core requirements is to ride flawlessly, which it does, but the expertly judged ride quality also avoids the floaty sensation that so often afflicts cars of this type.
In absolute terms, an S-class still might have the edge on outright comfort, but the BMW finds a more satisfying balance than the pillowy Merc. One thing that even an S-class cannot avoid is a challenging secondary ride, nor overcoming the sheer physics of 2000kg of metal crashing into a road imperfection with only an inch of sidewall on the tyre. Yet even when shod with 20-inch tyres with a bold profile, the 7 remains incredibly composed, floating over said imperfections as if they weren’t even there.
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Raise the speed and the 7 just gets better, attacking British back roads with a level of compliance that’s almost spooky. We stopped and checked the specifications to see if this was a camera-based predictive system, but BMW doesn’t use this tech on the 7, meaning it’s a completely reactive set-up that even in firmer modes smothers the most corrugated surfaces with serious capability. It’s something that even the best SUVs just can’t replicate – a serious USP for large, traditional saloons like this.
Start to take liberties and the chassis responds, but with perhaps a little less enthusiasm than something with less mass behind it would. Still, it’s much better than an S-class down a challenging road, not to mention a Range Rover or BMW X7. The rest of the dynamic package is nearly as impressive, with accurate if light steering, sharp brakes and a level of overall dynamic capability that honestly renders these monster luxury SUVs completely pointless, being better at both soothing and surprising the driver with a sheer breadth of capability impossible to replicate when lugging around an extra 250kg.