There is something commanding and empowering about driving a luxury sedan. And, when your luxury sedan is a Teutonic titan like the freshly redesigned BMW 7-Series pictured, lesser peoples will actually fall over themselves trying to get out of the way. Cars like the 7-Series look and feel more at home shuttling dictators, monarchs, or pop stars to and fro, and if that’s the look you are going for (which would be a lot of fun, even if you’re not a plutocrat), then this may be the car for you.
In the hierarchy of uber-sedans, which interestingly seems to come mainly from Germany, the 7-Series has always wound up playing second fiddle to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the car that practically created the big luxury sedan market, and continues to set the standard for the rest of the luxury sedan world. In the mid 2000’s, BMW fell short primarily because of its hideous iDrive computer system. Confusing menus and incomprehensible commands made the system the bane of every car reviewer’s existence. Fortunately, BMW heeded the hate mail and totally revamped the system. For the 2012 model year, BMW’s flagship also features four wheel steering, a higher use of aluminum to reduce weight, more tech than Bill Gates’ server room, and a night vision camera system that would make SEAL Team Six jealous. Should you wish to have prodigious power reserves to go with your prodigious amounts of class, you can order up your BMW in 760Li-guise that uses Bimmer’s colossal twin-turbo V12 which, besides using the tears of the poor as fuel, makes 535 horsepower, and 550 lb-ft. of torque.
One of the things that BMW focuses on in differentiating the 7-Series from its competitors is “sport.” Normally, sportiness and superior luxury are mutually exclusive terms, but BMW continues to work hard to dispel that notion. Great steaming loads of technology go into the driving experience such as active body roll stabilization, and Driving Dynamics Control, which allows the driver to adjust several driving parameters like suspension setup and steering feedback.
So does the 7-Series finally unseat the S-Class as the superior, superior luxury sedan? Every review you read says the big Bimmer comes close, but once again, it’s no cigar. However, if you’re looking to purchase a car in this class that’s been bred with a little more athleticism in its genes, perhaps the big 7-Series will be your superior choice.
In a Starbucks parking lot huh? You’d think that the owner’s servants would be the ones getting the coffee.
Truth. The owner probably dragged them behind the car the whole way there and then sent them in for coffee. At least that’s what I would do.
Love the post as always D, but what about the Audi A8L? I believe it I’d a competitor for the second best luxury sport sedan. Audi has come a long way in the past few years; technology and styling. When I see an A8, it commands the road. The car isn’t on he road, the pavement is glued and conforms to the wide aggressive nature of the A8’s body. In my opinion more stylish than the 7-series. Further more, a twin Turbo V12 that only puts out 535 HP, please. If I’m going to spend the money and want to flex the size of my engine, that double forced induction V12 better be putting down at least 600hp! Albeit the A8 is powered by a tome trustee and flawless 4.2L V8 that produces 400 HP, but wait, 2012 there will be a 6.3L V12 option. It will put out 500 HP, naturally aspirated. Thats respectable. 35 more HP from twin turbos? BWW needs to rethink that!
Emile, astute observations my friend. I do agree that the A8 is better looking car that the 7-Series, and I like the way you describe the road being glued to the car rather than the car to the road. As for horsepower figures, I think a lot depends on how the power is delivered and put to the road: I guess we’ll have to borrow (steal) both and try them out!
Gorgeous ride but also torn between the A8L and the 7-series if I had to choose. So glad BMW overhauled the iDrive system. It was a confusing mess. I also agree that a twin-turbo W12 seems like it should put out more than 535 HP/550 lb ft but it’s definitely no slowpoke. An A8 vs 7-series showdown is in order…
BKris, I completely agree with a showdown between with A8 and the 7-Series. The landscape will become even more competitive/exciting when Mercedes-Benz updates the S-Class and improves their flagship car as well. Both Audi and BMW have done major updates and overhauls to their brand-leading cars, it will be interesting to see not only what MB does, but also how it stacks up to the competition. Bring it on!