2013 BMW 7 Series Review
We attend the St Petersburg launch of the MY13 Seven
By Fraser Martin
I nearly didn’t do this one. The St.Petersburg launch of the new facelifted 7 Series BMW fell right in the middle of my summer holiday to Scotland, but then I thought a nice break in the middle of what would be interminable gardening duty might not be a bad idea.
Apart from the three o’clock in the morning start from the wilds of Perthshire, to get to Glasgow Airport for the Amsterdam, Munich and St.Petersburg flights (in that order, and almost as tight as they are written here), it was a good trip and the car did everything that was expected of it.
We were thoroughly well looked after – St.Petersburg is an incredible city, founded from nothing on a swamp, and built in fifteen years at the height of Peter the Great’s rule, in 1703. After years of neglect during the Russian Revolution it has been revitalised and is now one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, with access to treasures innumerable. The Hermitage Museum alone is said to have more than three million artefacts stored and if a visitor were to spend only a few moments on each one, it would take 70 years to see them all!
And it was after a very quick tour of this fabulous monument to the profligacy of the period that we were taken by speedboat, through the canals and out across the Gulf of Finland to the Hercules Yacht Port to pick up our mounts for the day.
Now if this is starting to read a bit like a travelogue, you’d be right. The roadwork we did in the car was interesting enough, but between traffic jams and quite Draconian traffic regulations it was fairly tricky to actually get the best from the new 7: quiet, comfortable and spacious it certainly is, but it is difficult to truly appreciate that unless you are sitting in the back. All the cars on test were long-wheelbase models as befitted the style of the event, but I was only able to experience the exceptional space available when the car was parked or crawling along at the roadworks.
The new 7 Series is in reality more of a facelift than a new car. There are changes to numerous components such as new LED headlamps, an 8-speed gearbox, self-levelling rear suspension and multi-functional instrument displays but the over-riding impression is that the car has been designed to reinforce BMW’s self-stated position of being “the most innovative sedan in the luxury segment”.
The words ‘improved’, ‘enhanced’ and ‘optimised’ feature heavily in the Press materials. Engines offered have been refined but are still the in-line 6, V8 and V12 units we are already familiar with and whilst the 8-speed box contributes to fuel consumption and a reduction in overall emissions, these improvements seem a bit academic in what is after all, a luxurious limousine.
If you can afford to run one of these cars, particularly at the top end of the price range, you are hardly going to be worrying about the price of petrol whilst sitting in the back seat manipulating the World economy. In any case, here in our region, we won’t be offered the diesel, which is, in overall performance terms, the best car in the fleet.
It is difficult not to like the new car – it is certainly a tour de force of what BMW is capable of at the top end of its game, and as a halo car for the marque, it presses all the right buttons. It is sophisticated, beautifully finished and has every possible technological advancement the motor industry currently has to offer. BMW should be pleased with this latest incarnation of its flagship – the problem is that Mercedes Benz, Audi and Jaguar will be pretty-much pleased with it too.
2013 BMW 7 series
Price: AED359,000 ($97,550)
Engine: 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder, 255bhp @ 6600rpm, 229b ft @ 2600-3000rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 7.5s, 250kph (limited)
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, Rear-wheel drive, 8.7L/100km
Price: AED396,000 ($107,600)
Engine: 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder, 320bhp @ 5800rpm, 332b ft @ 1300-4500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 5.7s, 250kph (limited)
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, Rear-wheel drive, 7.9L/100km
Price: AED482,000 ($131,000)
Engine: 4.4-litre V8, 449bhp @ 5500rpm, 479lb ft @ 2000-4500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.8s, 250kph (limited)
Transmission: Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive, 8.6L/100km
Price: AED696,000 ($189,125)
Engine: 6.0-litre V12, 544bhp @ 5250rpm, 553lb ft @ 1500-5000rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.6s, 250kph (limited)
Transmission: Six-speed auto, four-wheel drive, 12.8L/100km