I’ve just got back from our first go in the new BMW 7-Series – a technical presentation about all the new tech that’s been crammed into it, and a chance to take it for a spin in the controlled environment of a test track.

750Li_11 And, if early impressions from the Miramas track in France are anything to go by, the new 7 will be more suitable to British roads and driving conditions than any of its predecessors.

The new four-wheel steering system, integrated with the familiar active steering, makes it feel remarkably agile for such a big car. The adjustable damping of the suspension means the car can offer both limo-like refinement (in ‘Comfort’) and genuine athleticism (in ‘Sport’ or ‘Sport Plus’). The latter setting cuts intervention from the car’s built-in stability control to a minimum, but keeps other traction preserving functions.

Granted, our test cars were pamper pre-production models, but in default suspension mode they rode noticeably smoother than the current car – which had been laid on by BMW for comparison purposes.

Engine noise in the 740i I drove was extremely subdued, too. Okay, it’s lost the V8 engine of its predecessor, but the 7 has never been the sort of car you drive next to acoustically reflective surfaces so as to sample its bent-eight exhaust note. The new motor’s increased frugality and lower emissions will be of far more concern for most modern drivers.