BMW 7 Series (2016) Review

BMW 7 Series (2016) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
BMW’s 7 Series holds its head high in the rarefied and competitive luxury sector, up against the might of the Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8.

+Air ride provides outstanding ride quality, huge array of high tech gadgetry as standard, superb long distance comfort, strong performance from all engines.

-Steering feels overly assisted even in Sport setting.

New prices start from £63,040
Insurance Groups are between 44–50
On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure

As you’d expect of a car in this class, the 7 Series rides bumps with a magically smooth ride and it has engines that range from surprisingly frugal to very fast. There’s also a hybrid model to make the BMW in tune with latest trends and you can also specify four-wheel drive. Of course, it’s still a BMW and the Seven is enjoyable to drive, though the steering is a little vague compared to a Jaguar XJ’s.

This BMW 7 Series was launched in 2016, updated in 2019 and is the largest car the German brand has ever produced. The long wheelbase version is huge and stands at more than 5.2 metres long, yet thanks to those familiar BMW proportions it hides its size well, looking more like a 6 Series Gran Coupe. This is no bulky four-door but a surprisingly sleek and good-looking saloon.

Of course, luxury cars are all about wafting around with the minimum of fuss and maximum of comfort, and the 7 Series is impeccable when it comes to how it deals with lumps, bumps and potholes. Its predecessor didn't ride very well but there are no such problems with this generation. 

BMW has ditched coil springs and dampers in favour of what the Americans call 'air ride', where cushions of air take the place of more traditional steel springs to absorb the blows dished out the by the road’s surface.

This sophisticated self-levelling air suspension system comes as standard and means the 7 Series is wonderfully smooth over even the poorest of surfaces. It really comes into its own at motorway speeds where the lack of road noise and its ability to effortlessly glide along make this a relaxing car to drive or travel in. This sort of effortless ability makes it one of the main contenders for your attention and cash at this pricey end of the market.

Performance is all that you'd expect of the flagship BMW model, with the mainstay engine being the impressive 730d.

It offers all the power you need with 265PS but it's the strong in-gear acceleration that makes more of an impression in everyday driving as you just don’t expect a car of this size to build speed with such ease. It's also available with xDrive four-wheel drive for added traction and security in wet or wintery conditions.

Alternatively, there’s a more powerful 740d model or the silky smooth 740i or 750i with petrol V8. If you have bottomless pockets, the V12-powered 760i is the ultimate BMW limo in many ways, but others will prefer the frugal charms of the petrol-electric hybrid 745e.

When it comes to technology, the 7 Series can give the Starship Enterprise a run for its money. It has an iDrive system, an excellent head-up display and an incredible 360-degree camera. You can even remotely park it using the key.

There is, of course, acres of space inside, particularly in long wheelbase models, although the lengthy rear doors mean you have to be wary of standard parking bays which the 7 Series dwarfs. The interior quality is impeccable with a truly luxury feel and great attention to detail.

The only criticism of the 7 Series is the steering, which feels light and overly assisted even in its sportiest setting. Then again, this isn't a car designed to tackle tight corners. What it does do is offer more standard equipment than its S-Class rival for the same sort of money, making the BMW one of the best luxury saloons around.

Ask Honest John

Should I continue to get my BMW 7 Series serviced at a main dealer or switch to an independent?
"My car is due for a service shortly. The last three services have been done via a main dealer. It is a 2016 model with less than 19,000 miles on the clock and does less than 1000 miles a year. Is it worth using main dealer or an independent as I intend to keep the car for the foreseeable future?"
Some people value a car more if it's got main dealer stamps in the book, but if you're planning to hang on to it you should have a look at your options. Is there a reputable independent near to you that you'd trust with your car?
Answered by Keith Moody
What are the best five cars for cabin quietness and insulation from wind and road noise at speed?
"What are the best five cars for cabin quietness and insulation from wind and road noise at speed?"
The most surprising I have ever driven was the Peugeot 407 Coupe. Astonishingly quiet even at high speed. Otherwise, a Mercedes-Benz S500e, a Lexus LS600h (new Lexus hybrid next week), new BMW 7-Series, Citroen C6.
Answered by Honest John
Replacement for an Audi A8L?
"I'm doing some part time driving for a disabled business woman. She currently uses an Audi A8L 4.2 Quattro. The lease on this car is up in March and Audi have already been in touch, suggesting that there is sufficient retained value to go fro a new car next time. I'm trying to work out which cars should be on her short list for next time. The key criteria are heated rear seats and adjustable rear seats. Currently, she only does about 12k per annum, but quite a lot of this is motorway, so another diesel seems appropriate. The list I have put together is as follows - Audi A8 / BMW 7 series / BMW 5 GT (I'm told this has heated rear seats as an option) / Mercedes S-Class (although the cost of maintaining this may exclude it). What cars am I missing bearing in mind the key criteria of heated and adjustable rear seats, for her disability. The long wheelbase is not quite as important. "
The A8 is subtly very good looking and the 4.2 V8 diesel is powerful. This size of diesel is now being dropped from big diesel cars and almost universally replaced with 3.0 V6 diesels. Audi can only sell very few 4.2 V8 petrol models because they increase its corporate average CO2 emissions too much. The latest car in this category is the new BMW 7 Series that is technologically very sophisticated with built-in wireless Internet, self-parking, a multi function key and, most importantly, very comfortable air suspension. For fully adjustable rear seats (there is even a business class bed option) you need the LWB. Others in the class include the Mercedes S Class, Jaguar XJL and Lexus LS600h hybrid. Latest BMW tested here:
Answered by Honest John

What does a BMW 7 Series (2016) cost?