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Luxury Leviathan

Vikrant Singh | Print Edition: December 14, 2008

Dresden is better known for the brutal destruction brought upon it by some trigger-happy Allied air forces who dropped a few bombs too many on this town. That was 1945, and the Germans were on the brink of losing World War II. Today though, Dresden is a lively city. The war monuments stand tall and like the rest of Europe, bread, butter and wine are easier to find than water.

Located along the River Elbe in the state of Saxony, it is a beautiful town with green, clean and colourful suburbs. And then, you have the roads—not the wide, uninterrupted and boring straight Autobahns, but the curvy roads that flow like the Elbe through dense forests and hamlets. For a driving enthusiast, it is sheer bliss.

Power unleashed: The 7 goes from 0-100 kmph in 6.5 seconds flat
Power unleashed
I can’t, however, say the same about the car I am driving. It’s not as adventurous as the roads or even as involving. The new BMW 7 series is just too technologically advanced to be believed. It pampers me to the hilt as well—all the seats can be adjusted, and they massage my legs and back on the move (besides cooling or heating my bottom depending on the weather!)

I check out the four-zone climate control buttons inside the car, the electric blinds for each window and the airbags that are almost everywhere. In short, it’s brilliant for those looking for a living room on wheels.

But, the 7 does little for a passionate driver. Of course, with its stiff chassis, electronic trickery by the bucket-load and four-wheel steering, it handles splendidly; in fact, it makes corners at speeds you would classify as insane, especially for a car that is as expensive as a luxury yacht. But, it manages all this even without a skilful driver behind the wheels. It is terribly clinical for a BMW.
Falling short on style: The 7 scores in technology, dynamism and performance
Falling short on style

Crazy dash: The BMW is packed with electronic trickery by the bucket-load
Crazy dash
The new BMW isn’t the most beautiful looking car either. It’s pleasing, yes, but unlike the scenery that’s passing me fairly quickly as I drive down Dresden, it’s not one that evokes emotions. The boisterous 4.4-litre, V8 petrol engine with gutwrenching torque, however, does excite me. It can get the hair behind your neck to stand up. Touch the throttle and the car growls in anticipation. Push the pedal to the floor, and in seconds everything around you is a blur while your heartbeat is busy matching the high engine revs.

The 7’s progress may be like a whisper in the styling department, but in terms of technology, dynamism, comfort, safety and performance, BMW has really turned up the volume with this one. The Germans haven’t just rebuilt their towns, they have also forgiven the Americans for that devastation. Why else would they continue to make the 7 series bigger, better and safer when its biggest market is Obama-land?

Specifications engine 4.4-litre, V8, petrol
Max power 407 bhp@5,500 rpm
Max torque 600 Nm@1,750 rpm
Gearbox 6-speed auto
0-100 KM/H 6.5 seconds
Top speed 250 km/h
Price Rs 90 lakh+ (estimated)

Vikrant Singh is Road Test Editor, Auto Bild India

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