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Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class finally has a worthy competitor. The new BMW 7-series is a car of few compromises, one that manages to combine opulence with performance along with a seemingly endless array of bells and whistles. More crucially, the new flagship drives like a dream, and is backed up by a chassis that’s competent enough to perhaps someday spawn an even higher performance M-car variant. Despite its lean, mean underpinnings, the 7-series’s interior is plusher than its predecessor and outfitted with a seemingly endless slew of tech features. Quilted leather and inlaid wood wrap around passengers, while all buttons are galvanized metal—no cheap plastics here. BMW has taken a cue from Mercedes-Benz’s playbook by teaming up with a French perfume supplier for an in-car atomizer. iDrive is more tolerable than ever and the centre stack has been augmented with more hard buttons, though there are oftentimes too many menu layers required to perform basic tasks. Countering that complexity is a 12.3-inch screen that is now a touchscreen, and features like gesture recognition which enable basic commands like volume adjustment to be controlled simply by waving your hand in the air. Rear seat passengers are spoiled with the Executive Seating Package, which adds massaging seats, a backrest that reclines to 42.5 degrees and a power folding footrest. Twin flat screens, a fold out tray table, and a wireless 7-inch touchscreen controller make these perches more enviable than many first class airline cabins—and on par with some private jets. Net sum? The new 7-series is a flagship that has become considerably more opulent and feature-laden than its predecessor. But more importantly, this BMW finally earns back its fabled slogan.

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