2017 BMW 7 Series Driving Impressions

For 2016, two new engines join the existing 3.0-liter inline-6, and 4.4-liter V8. The sexy V12 comes back to BMW, as a 600-horsepower twin turbo in M760i xDrive.

The 8-speed automatic transmission is linked to navigation data, making the shift characteristics change with curves and terrain. To save fuel, it coasts at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Also to save fuel, automatic start-stop turns off the engine when the car stops, then back on again when it’s time to move.

The Carbon Core chassis combines high-strength steel, aluminum, and carbon-reinforced plastic. Lighter suspension pieces reduce unsprung weight by 15 percent, a significant step in the chase of good handling. The latest bonding methods add thermal and acoustic insulation, reducing the amount of sound insulation needed–more weight saving.

The 7 Series is sporty and comfortable to drive. With double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension, with active air dampers, it can be set for firm or comfortable; the ride height changes with the settings.

The separate and standard Driving Dynamics Control sets the steering, throttle, shock absorbers and transmission, to three modes: Sport, Comfort and Comfort Plus.

In Sport mode, the active anti-roll bars keep the 740i fairly flat in fast corners, and help this car feel unlike any 4600-pound sedan you’ve ever driven. The power is responsive, the light steering is made heftier and quicker (some might think too quick), and there’s road feel without rigidity, although sharp bumps get through the low-profile tires. The Comfort mode backs off on the aggression and smoothes out the ride, while Comfort Plus adds float.

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