Whenever one thinks about the BMW brand, the first cars that often come to mind are the 3 Series or the M3. What we have here today, however, is the 7 Series flagship luxury sedan, which received a refresh for the 2021 model year. Specifically, we’re driving the 2021 BMW 730i Pure Excellence, and it’s a car that’s a bit different from the typical BMW that’s all about sporty driving dynamics. Full-size luxury sedans often have astronomically high prices, but from what I can remember, this is the first time in more than 10 years that a 7 Series costs even less than a 530d.
Despite that price tag, this 730i Pure Excellence looks every bit as stately and bold. BMW is proud to highlight that the grille of the new 7 Series is 40 percent larger than the pre-facelift model. Flanking it are a pair of adaptive LED headlights. This model is riding on 19-inch wheels, though I do think having 20s would make it look even nicer.
Moving towards the side, and the profile is largely unchanged, except for the new vertical side air vents. At the back, the facelifted 7-Series is the first BMW to feature an LED light bar connecting the traditional L-shaped LED taillights. Overall, the 2021 BMW 730i Pure Excellence commands a lot of road presence.
As BMW’s flagship vehicle, the interior of the 730i Pure Excellence is luxurious and top-notch in terms of materials and build quality. It’s also an honest interior, which means if you think it’s wood, it’s wood. If you think it’s leather, it is definitely leather. If you think it’s metal, well, you get the point. Its design may not be as special as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS, but this is actually by design. BMW wanted each of their models to feel familiar, which means if you’ve come from a 3 Series or X5, the control layout will be familiar.
Infotainment duties are controlled through the new BMW iDrive 7 infotainment system, and it really is the industry standard for what an infotainment should be. The rotary control knob continues to be my favorite way to interact with an infotainment system, though you can still control iDrive 7 via touch. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, along with BMW’s new Intelligent Personal Assistant voice command feature. It’s not as good as your smartphone’s Google Assistant or Siri, but it’s one the most smartphone-like so far in an in-vehicle voice command.
iDrive 7 also powers the car’s Live Cockpit Professional digital gauge cluster. I prefer it aesthetically over Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX, though it doesn’t have the flexibility that Audi’s Virtual Cockpit or Jaguar Land Rover’s Pivi Pro system.
Moving towards the back seats, and there’s still no shortage of amenities. Unlike past 7 Series models though, this 730i is actually the standard wheelbase, as denoted by the lack of “L” in its badging. Despite that, there’s still a whole lot of space for the rear occupants. While this is considered the “entry-level” variant, the 730i is equipped with the electrically adjustable Comfort Rear Seats package, which truly offers a first-class travel experience for under P6 million. The seats are extremely soft and comfortable, and it’s your most affordable ticket to a chauffeur-driven full-size luxury sedan.
Other rear seat amenities that the rear seat passengers can indulge in are the powered side and rear blinds, rear two-zone climate control, soft-closing doors, integrated headrest pillows, and a good but not outstanding Harman Kardon sound system.
Trunk space in the BMW 730i Pure Excellence measures 500 liters, which ironically is smaller than a Honda Civic’s, but is on par with other flagship luxury sedans. The electrically adjustable rear seats can’t be folded down for obvious reasons, and besides, the kind of cargo that 7 Series owners will carry will most likely be gold bags.
Under the 730i’s hood is one of the primary reasons why this car is priced so competitively. It’s a 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine that while it’s small and leaves such a huge gap under its hood, still produces a meaty 265 hp and 400 Nm of torque. This is the engine that’s also fitted in the 330i, 530i (not sold in the Philippines), and other BMWs with the 30i label.
Make no mistake at its compact displacement. This is one mighty engine, with 0-100 kph time of just 6.2 seconds–faster than a lot of hot hatches and sports cars. Mated to this engine is my favorite automatic transmission in the industry, an 8-speed unit made by ZF. The responsive engine with its meaty torque curve, lack of any turbo lag, smooth delivery, and an automatic transmission that’s slick and telepathically responsive, BMW indeed makes one of the best powertrains in the industry.
And of course, being the brand’s flagship, the 730i’s refinement levels are top-notch. There’s a complete lack of road and wind noise. If you’re coming from a mainstream vehicle, you might even find it disconcertingly quiet at 100 kph. This is one of those vehicles that feel “bitin” when driven at legal speeds. Even when you push the engine hard, you only hear a whisper of its four-cylinder engine.
While fuel economy isn’t a concern to those who could afford a 7 Series, it’s still noteworthy that over a week using the 730i, I achieved a fuel economy figure that hovered around a very impressive 11 to 13 km/l. Again, remember that I live in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where traffic is almost non-existent, but under the same circumstances with other vehicles, even subcompact commuter cars, this is definitely an impressive figure.
Don’t expect the 7 Series to feel like a sports sedan, though. While it may have a degree of sportiness that isn’t found in the S-Class, LS, or A8, its hefty 1.8-tonne weight and comfort-oriented, height-adjustable air suspension mean there’s more body roll compared to a 5 Series or a 3 Series, which are indeed truly sporty BMWs. Its steering is indeed responsive but is too light and numb to promote any form of driver connection. Still, if you want a flagship luxury sedan with a bit of driving engagement, the 7 Series is your only choice.
Lastly, as for advanced driver-assist safety tech, the 730i Pure Excellence gets a Parking Assistant self-parking feature, adaptive matrix LED headlights, rear automatic emergency braking, and a useful Reversing Assistant feature. This feature remembers your steering inputs for the last 50 meters, and then it replays all your steering inputs as you reverse in let’s say a dead end or a narrow street.
The new 2021 BMW 730i Pure Excellence is more than just a more accessible variant of its flagship sedan. It represents a paradigm shift at BMW Philippines. Ever since San Miguel took over the distributorship of the brand, all of its vehicles have been priced competitively whilst still having a comprehensive amount of features. As a matter of fact, the introduction of the 730i Pure Excellence is what led Lexus to introduce an entry-level variant of the LS 500.
In conclusion, if you have a spare P6 million lying around the house, the 730i Pure Excellence is one of the best luxury cars you could buy, period.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★★
Overall: 4.5 out of 5