By Charlie Cooksey
To get to this BMW drive event required the longest journey I’ve ever made, flying from Manama, Bahrain to Los Angeles, California. Some may say I’m mad to travel so far to drive a car for a few days, but such people don’t know the importance of the BMW 7 Series, and this trip included driving BMW’s first-ever fully electric 7 Series.
The 7 Series was the main event, but this trip also entailed driving the majorly facelifted X7, BMW’s flagship 3-row luxury 7-seater SUV. Also, I had the opportunity to be amongst the first in the world to see BMW’s XM. The XM is a special project. It is an SUV like nothing else on the market – a wild cocktail of super performance, ahead of its time. It has style, luxury, comfort, and an aggressive presence, packed with a 4.4L V8 under the hood. It is also a plug-in hybrid. But back to my point – it was worth the 13,500km journey.
This was a beautiful, picture-perfect location that BMW selected for such an important drive event. We were stationed for 3 days in Palm Springs, a desert city located just over 2 hours east of Los Angeles. Palm Springs has a different terrain, climate, and energy compared to Los Angeles. The clear blue skies and rocky desert background littered with nature and palm trees made every corner excellent for us content creators.
45 years ago, in 1977, BMW launched the first generation 7 Series. Funny to think this big luxury saloon back then was only a fraction longer than today’s 3 Series.
The latest 7 Series design has sparked some controversy, dividing opinion. But I remember the same happening in 2019 when the previous generation 7 Series was launched with its forty percent larger kidney grille; it turned out to be a huge success and loved by both existing and new BMW customers.
I drove both the electric i7 and the 760i xDrive. Both cars drive tremendously, as you would expect. Rear wheel steering makes manoeuvring around smaller areas a breeze, and whilst it is a big vehicle, the driving experience feels like you’re driving a smaller vehicle. I like BMW’s direction with the design strategy of their EV’s where both the combustion 7 and the i7 are almost identical in design, likewise with the combustion 4 Series and i4. Some other brands like Audi for example, are taking a different route with designing entirely new vehicles for their EV range. It’s all very subjective.
The 760i pushes 544 horsepower to all 4 wheels from its 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8, which uses mild hybrid technology. The 760i xDrive is powered by a 536-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 and comes standard with all-wheel drive. This engine also uses a 48-volt hybrid system, and BMW claims it will rip to 100 kph in just 4.2 seconds
For comparison, the entry level 740i has a 375-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six as standard, assisted by a 48-volt hybrid system. Rear-wheel drive is the only setup available on this model. BMW estimates that the 740i will run to 100 kph in just 5.0 seconds.
The more I look at this latest 7 Series, the more I love it. From the Swarovski crystal headlights (beautiful split headlights that gives a look you don’t see from other cars on the road) to the incredibly precise steering. The amount of technology is overwhelming and the car is just so comfortable.
I had a chance to test all the technology and gadgets this car is packed with. You can unlock the car with an iPhone app. There are tablet devices in the door panel to control the reclining business-class airline-style seats, climate, blinds, and even the cinema for passengers in the back. The massive 31-inch 8k screen is, to my knowledge, a first for any car brand. This is an incredibly big step in passenger entertainment, even having style in the way it folds out and tucks itself away. I enjoyed sitting in the back of this car as much as I did driving it.
I see BMW as innovative, pushing boundaries and creating products that people don’t yet know they love. By definition, that is what innovation is, right?
The design of the new 7 Series is unlike anything we’ve seen from BMW before. I remember saying something similar during the previous 7 Series drive event in Portugal back in 2019, but the 2023 generation has taken an even greater stride. Personally, I love the new BMW 7 Series, and it’s grown on me ever more since I first saw it revealed back in April this year.
To arrange a test drive in Bahrain, call EuroMotors on +973 1775 0750.
For more information, visit the BMW website.