Like all BMW cars the 7 Series is rear wheel drive which combined with near 50:50 weight distribution offers surprisingly reassuring handling for such a large car.
On the road the BMW 730Ld feels quite quick and is certainly very refined with a rewarding and satisfying grunt rather than the diesel chatter of old. We used to hate diesel engines in executive cars, now in most cases they would be our first choice, the BMW V6 2993cc diesel engine is no exception. This is the same engine that is fitted to the 3-Series and 5 Series and we were expecting to struggle, losing roughly 1 second on the 0-62 mph dash over the much lighter 3-Series 1610kgs compared to 2015 kg's for the 730Ld but we were pleasantly surprised by the 730 Ld's performance.
BMW quotes the following fuel consumption figures: urban 25.7 mpg, extra-urban 44.8mpg and a combined figure of 35.3 mpg. On our road test we achieved 29.1 mpg which we considered to be fairly frugal considering our mixed urban test route and the weight of the 730Ld.
Standard across the 7-Series range is their six speed automatic gearbox. The ‘intelligent’ Steptronic gearbox features drive-by-wire technology and learns the individuals driving style, resulting in predictable near seamless changes. It offers three modes, totally automatic, which is self explanatory and to be honest most drivers will not venture out of this mode. Sports mode allows the automatic gearbox to hang on to the gears for a little longer, offering a more rewarding drive. The manual mode allows you to manually change gear from the steering wheel mounted buttons. The auto gear lever is mounted on the steering column, which takes a little time to adjust to and selecting reverse gear in a hurry can be a little challenging.
Again the BMW’s arch rival the Mercedes Benz S-Class features a 7-Speed gearbox which probably pips the BMW gearbox on the refinement front but in practice makes little difference to your overall enjoyment.
We loved the engine and enjoyed the gearbox so pretty much top marks to BMW.
How It Drove - Ride and Handling
Like all BMW cars the 7 Series is rear wheel drive which combined with near 50:50 weight distribution offers surprisingly reassuring handling for such a large car. Our car was fitted with 20” alloy wheels with 245/40 tyres which coupled to BMW’s superb suspension set up offered plenty of grip, even on wet roads. It took a lot to provoke the Dynamic Stability Control into play and even then there was barely a grumble from the car.
There is some body roll and the more enthusiastic driver can opt for the Adaptive Drive package which combines BMW's Dynamic Drive active anti-roll bar and Electronic Damper Control (EDC) system. Dynamic Drive converts body roll during cornering into hydraulic pressure to deliver a near-flat cornering experience. EDC offers three separate ride settings - Comfort, Normal and Sport. All long wheelbase models are equipped with self-levelling air suspension at the rear which gives the 730Ld a velvety ride which will be enjoyed by all passengers’ front and rear.
Our only criticism of the Servotronic steering is that at low speeds it is probably is a little bit too sensitive but that is nick picking as at speed, where it counts it is perfectly weighed.
Sometimes the BMW 730Ld does not feel like the most engaging of cars to drive, it can feel a little remote but that doesn’t mean it is not rewarding or good to drive, it is both, in fact it is one of the most relaxing cars to drive - perhaps a little too relaxing, which makes it perfect for chauffeuring work and for company executives, who would like to enjoy stress free motoring, especially over long distances - we loved it.
BMW 7 Series Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW 730 Ld|
|Body Type||4-Door Saloon|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||7.9 Seconds|
|Top Speed||148 mph|
|Transmission||Six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||44.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBC|
|Warranty||3-Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 27/01/08)||£54,550|