You may have read that BMW’s iDrive system is not intuitive and is difficult to operate, we found it quite the opposite and after a day or so, it became second nature, although there is a learning curve.
Ease of Use
You may have read that BMW’s iDrive system is not intuitive and is difficult to operate, we found it quite the opposite and after a day or so, it became intuitive and second nature, although there is a learning curve. iDrive controls functions such as the Satellite Navigation System, the Entertainment Systems and the 730 Customised Settings for Climate Control and the Trip Computer - via a joystick/wheel which sits on the central console between the front seats. Of course should you find it all too complex you can use the Voice Input System which allows you to use voice commands to control the telematics.
One thing that we didn’t like was the volume control for the entertainment system was difficult to use and a little on the small side. It is replicated on the steering wheel, where you can find the controls for the phone, voice commands and the gearbox mode selector.
You can buy a phone holster for most mobile phones, so that the phone can be used hands free, there is even a phone keyboard which slides out of the dash, so you don’t have to touch your own phone or you can link your phone to the car via Bluetooth.
The telematics system gives you access to BMW assist in case you breakdown or suffer an accident.
Parking is always going to be an issue with the BMW 730Ld as it is rather big, 5179 mm long and 1902 mm wide. The non limo version is 140 mm shorter, which might make a difference but of course you lose the rear leg room. You do have to hunt out spaces to fit the car, in my local car park, it was hard to fit the car precisely in, with one side or the other touching the white line, plus of course there was the length to consider. Then there is always the concern that someone is going to open their door on your car, they don’t care that you have spent nearly £60,000 on your BMW. We were surprised that the door mirrors did not power fold in and out as standard, which was a shame as we were the victim of a drive by scraping of one of the mirrors when tightly parked to the kerb.
All round vision is pretty good, although when parking the height of the boot might hinder some drivers. There are all round parking sensors, which not only give you audio feedback that you are about to hit something, they also utilise the TFT telematics screen to give you a pictorial representation of the distance to objects around the car.
There are isoFix child seat fixing points on the two outer rear seats. Our child seat fitted well without any movement whatsoever, there is also a top tether fixing point should your seat use that fixing point. The boot is very accommodating (500 litres), although the boot opening is a little restricting and your luggage would have to be carefully loaded, disappointingly the rear seats do not allow access to the boot.
The gear lever is mounted on the edge of the steering wheel, it is very simple to operate, if not a little un-natural if you are used to central mounted floor levers. The parking brake is electronic which can be set to operate automatically when you come to a halt, for example in queuing traffic or when parking. Occasionally it would snatch the brakes on but of course you can switch this function off, which is especially welcome when manoeuvring at low speeds.
Less mobile front seat passengers might be surprised that entry to the 7 Series is not as easy as you might expect due to the sweeping roof line. Perhaps they would be better off in the rear where the rear doors open wide. Headroom and shoulder room is more than adequate, even the tallest of passengers and drivers should be comfortably accommodated. Being a long wheel based model, the rear legroom is exceptional and it was a pleasure to be chauffeured in the back.
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|