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"A Pleasure to Drive" - this BMW slogan is not just a hollow phrase, because never before in my now 33 year career of driving motorized vehicles have I experienced this pleasure as with the new BMW 735i which I happened to testdrive just yesterday, a sunny late autumn day in Lower Austria. Maybe I am a little prejudiced because I have driven BMWs for 13 years, currently being the owner of a 740i.
I have been to the presentation of the new 7 series before and was already familiar with its new stockier looks my wife isnīt really keen about, its shark-fin on top of the roof (conceals the Global Positioning System antenna) and the gadget of "i-drive", the revolutionary BMW feature that lets you forget hundreds of buttons for the manifold controls in such a high tech car. It consists of a silvery knob placed where usually the gearshift is found and directs you into different levels of interfaces by just pulling, shifting and pressing. In combination with the voice controlled GPS Navigation system - too bad that Hertz has the copyright on "never get lost" - it represents just a quantum leap in easy operating and being securely guided through most of Europe, even if you are not following the instructions, the "lady speaking to you" adapts to the new situation and asks you to "turn around if possible" or takes you on from the next intersection...
Hedonistīs heaven I would call the interior: leather abound, seats that adjust to dwarfs and giants, elegant wood and a comfortable steering wheel which has all the vital controls placed on and around it. The remote control is to fit snuggly into a slot beside the start button - yes, itīs truly a F 1 feel - and then the 272 HP V8 comes inaudibly to life. Iīm sure I donīt have to get specific on the performance of an engine Bavarian MOTOR Works put under their hoods - in short, itīs terrific and beyond it the fuel consumption has been lowered by 14% compared to its predecessor.
For a "turbo-thrust" when passing you just need a slight press with your right thumb into "S" and the manoeuvre is shortened to a few seconds... The new 6-shift automatic transmission is one more of the many superlatives that come with this car, braking has always been very efficient (in fact, it makes you frequently look into the mirror if the other guy is going to make it ;-). The road holding (Dynamic Drive) reaches new dimensions - even in fast driven curves the body remains level, a whole new feel!
What my wife liked very much was the audible and visible park distance control, on the screen colours change from green to yellow to red the nearer you move up to an obstacle accompanied by intensifying warning sounds, one more useful thingie when talking about a 5+ metres limousine. Other remarkable features include the automatic air condition individually to set, so that the ever frozen feet of my wife get their cozy 25°C while mine get along with some 19°...
Yes, there is still a list of extras available (like different heating for seat and back, a cooler for your onboard mini-bar, rain-sensor, a.o.) and if you think you canīt live without these be prepared to get set back around GBP 70000, prices start at GBP 55000 here in Austria.
That leaves just one question: "Can it get any better?" You bet it can - the V12 760 will be ready to drive in less than a year...
An excellent opinion. Also I have been wandering what the 'sharks fin' on the roof of the new BMWs is for ages now, thanks for putting me out of my misery! When I get older and have kids one of these will do nicely thank you.
sarsons 03.11.2002 18:48
Info on what the car has to offer would have resulted in a higher rating (eg comfort, ride, equipment, insurance costs etc.). If you ever redo this op, please let me know and I'll reread it and review my rating :)