“Oh, my God, that’s ridiculous,” cried my poor long-suffering wife as our brand new super-slick black BMW 730d XDrive MSport rolled stealth-like up our drive. “You didn’t tell me we were going in that!” The problem exercising my usually very accommodating wife was: we were late. Very late. And it was all my fault.
We were due to meet some old friends halfway across the country in about 10 minutes, and I had apparently cooked-up some half-baked plan to take delivery of a flash motor, which also required having my photo taken and driving licence scrutinised when we should have already been halfway across the country. So the late arrival of the piece of high-tech machinery that looked like it’d need Tim Peak to get it booted up didn’t go down too well.
To make matters worse, the garage then insisted on explaining the intricate computerised
key fob with screen showing petrol gauge, climate control, whether you’d remembered
to turn your lights off and with more power than a ZX Spectrum - before we as much as climbed inside.
We set off, in silence. I toyed with the idea of taking a spin past Blackfriars where all my chefs drive BMWs but thought the better of it. Then: “where can I plug in my sat nav?” the boss demanded. “It’s already got one,” I said quietly, avoiding eye contact and looking at the stunning 10.3 inch colour interactive touch-screen display. “And it’s too hot in here - can you open a window?” “I think it’ll have aircon,” which it did - powerful automatic four climate control zones together with rear controls.
I pressed a button and just before tempers reached boiling point, a cool refreshing chill swept over us. Things began to calm down, and we relaxed into our new surroundings for the day. To be fair, whatever anxieties you arrived with, there was little about this luxurious limousine that wouldn’t sooth you into a relaxed warming glow of bliss.
The multi-adjustable seats were beyond comfortable, the 12 speaker interactive entertainment system (which even works with hand gestures!) was more dynamic than the Ministry of Sound’s, and there was even an in-house iPad in the back to entertain the kids.
This model also comes with a stability control system, LED headlights, dusk sensors, oncoming vehicle sensors, night vision and automatic ride height adjustment. In fact, it does pretty much everything apart from drive the car for you.
But this is no seat-of-your-pants raging sports car, it’s more like a time machine effortlessly transporting you to wherever you want to go in the world without murmur or complaint. It’s like a loyal butler submissively obeying your every command, without question.
Size does matter; weighing in at a hefty two and half tonnes and boasting over five metres in length, it does feel solid - big and solid. But also smooth, quiet and effortless. Nought to sixty in just under six seconds doesn’t sound particularly quick, but blink once more and you’re gently cruising at top speed with the ride of the Japanese Bullet. All you need to remember is to ease off the pedal well before your over-excitement inadvertently fires the three litre diesel engine boasting 265hp to its maximum cruising speed of 155mph.
Time (and the miles) flew by as the sat nav’s predicted time-to-destination dropped dramatically from an hour and a half to… umm, better not say! Safe to say, we were making good progress and perhaps we’d make our rendezvous on time after all.
Everyone seemed happy; the kids were playing with their blinds, reclinable seats, personal air vents and other backseat gadgets while the wife watched the world go by before nodding-off for a quick 40 winks with her seat massaging function turned on. I, meanwhile, decided it was time to see what this machine was really capable of!
We’d been in comfort and eco mode so far. Now it was time to enter sports mode. The suspension stiffened, the body lowered while the engine grunted. Well, a very muffled sound-insulated grunt that reminded me we were still inside the cocoon. All the same, I tried to give it some welly and, in return, it kicked my backside… albeit with a velvet slipper! Suddenly, like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, we were gliding round corners like we were on rails - silky smooth rails at that. It felt great!
So, any down sides to this executive’s luxury dream machine? Anything not to like? To be honest, you’d have to be a bit pretty picky. Some of the interior trim is a bit Peter Stringfellow and it looks great but not jaw-dropping from the outside. Perhaps that’s the intention for a car that’s intended for the discreet executive businessman woman.
To understand how good this BMW really is, you’d have to compare it to the masterful Audi A8, the simply astounding Mercedes S Class and the very British Jaguar XJ. Which one comes out best? Well that’s a very hard call.
Yes, the Audi is super-well equipped and refined, while the stunning and stylish Jag has few drawbacks at the end of the day, and despite its high running costs, the Mercedes reliability, safety, interior and comfort on the road is very, very hard to beat.
But did I care? Not really. We arrived pretty much on cue, having kept our friends waiting barely five minutes. I manoeuvred my machine into a somewhat tight parking spot using my front radar-type parking distance sensors, rear radar and camera-type parking sensors with virtual overhead camera display, that allow you to see all round your car.
We all spilled out, happy as Larry, all set for a great day.
Supplied by Lloyd Newcastle BMW & MINI, Fenham Barracks, Newcastle upon Tyne,
Tel: 0191 2617366 or visit www.lloydgroupcorporate.co.uk