What is it?
It's BMW's new flagship model, and one that is looking to derail the sizeable market share that Mercedes has accumulated with its undeniably impressive S-Class. More than that, the 7 Series seems to be out to steal some of the limelight the S-Class enjoys as a known benchmark for cutting-edge technology and safety.
BMW has really gone to town. Not only has it used carbonfibre in the 7 Series’ construction but it has also included a wirelessly chargeable key with a 2.2in screen that acts as a remote for various functions as standard - including, eventually, remotely driving the car from the outside. Its exterior cameras will also recognise traffic jams and roadworks, then beam them back to a central hub before warning other BMW drivers. For relatively little extra, you can have a tablet included in the back, too.
Maybe the biggest hint that it's out to ruffle the S-Class's feathers is the Executive Drive Pro option, which acts like Mercedes' Magic Ride by studying the road ahead and slackening the suspension to glide over large bumps. BMW is keen to point out, though, that unlike with the Mercedes, it can be fitted to both diesel and petrol models and works in the dark and rain.
Oh, and while the Mercedes provides four perfume choices to be pumped one at a time into its S-Class's interior, BMW has developed eight, two of which you can flick between at your leisure. Now that's progress.
Here we drive what's likely to be the best seller, the 30d diesel, in what should be the similarly popular long-wheelbase form. It's a compelling package, being closely priced to the equivalent S-Class, but quicker, and officially cleaner and more frugal.