BMW 7 Series review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Long-wheelbase 7 Series is hugely spacious and luxurious; few cars are better to sit in the back of
While there are both long and short wheelbase options, the extended 7 Series is more popular and ultimately a more impressive place to spend your time. Opt for some of the more expensive interior trims and one of the rear seat packages (reducing the number of seats from five to four) and you can transform the rear quarters into something special.
You couldn’t really want for any more in terms of space and specification, while BMW has also managed to replicate the air of quality common to some of the world’s greatest (and most expensive) saloon cars – clearly it has taken a few pointers from luxury brand Rolls-Royce in that department.
Up front, there are no complaints about the amount of space on offer, and the cabin layout will be familiar to anybody that has driven a modern BMW. While BMW has added touchscreens and even gesture control (whereby a hand waved in a set movement achieves specific commands) the iDrive control wheel and shortcut buttons are still some of the most user-friendly controls you'll find in any car.
As you’d expect from a BMW there’s plenty of adjustability for the driver to toy with, so you’ll find no problem getting into a comfortable driving position. The controls at hand are all ergonomically sound – the wheel especially – lending particularly well to the 7 Series’ status as a good limo to drive. You’ll find plenty of storage around the cabin too. It is a big car, after all.
The latest G11/G12 (standard and long-wheelbase generations) 7 Series is 26mm longer than the previous model, so there’s no shortage of space inside. A six-foot adult will have more than enough room sat behind another adult, but the long wheelbase model adds another 140mm to the length of the car if required. The 7 Series is slightly shorter than a Mercedes S-Class, but it is marginally wider.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The regular-wheelbase length 7 Series is a spacious executive limo, but long-wheelbase cars boast the wow factor. Legroom is enormous, while the 7 Series’ width means shoulder room is good too. Up front, the driver should have no problem finding a comfortable driving position.
Be default the rear seating arrangement is a bench capable of seating three, but BMW offers two expensive optional packages. The Rear Seat Comfort Package adds comfort seats with massage function and an entertainment pack consisting of two ten-inch monitors capable of receiving digital TV. On long-wheelbase cars the Rear Seat Comfort Plus Package is available, adding full-size executive seats and a middle centre console, transforming the car into a proper limo.
A 515-litre boot provides plenty of space, but there is no split folding rear bench to boost capacity. That volume of space is five litres bigger than you'll find in the 7 Series' main rival – the Mercedes S-Class – although in reality you're unlikely to be able to tell which one has more space in everyday use.
That’s said, opt for either of the plug-in hybrid options we prefer and you’ll have to deal with a slightly smaller boot, given the battery and motor tech eats a little into the BMW’s boot space.
In this review
- 1BMW 7 Series reviewBMW’s latest luxury limo gets a bold look, better plug-in hybrid tech and is closer to the Mercedes S-Class than ever
- 2Engines, performance and driveSmooth, powerful and a very refined way to make progress, but the 7 Series is best experienced as a passenger
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsOnly the diesel and plug-in hybrid versions of the new 7 Series can be considered kind to your wallet
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe BMW 7 Series' looks divide opinion, but the on-board technology is undeniably impressive
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingLong-wheelbase 7 Series is hugely spacious and luxurious; few cars are better to sit in the back of
- 6Reliability and SafetyBMW has included an impressive level of driver assistance tech in the 7 Series, combined with a three-year, unlimited-mile warranty