The 740e hybrid model comes paired up with a seamless 8-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox, while rear-wheel-steering can be added for £1,195. Doing so boosts agility even more, leaving the rather more cumbersome LS Saloon in its wake.
The hybrid engine develops up to 322bhp. Despite being an engine clearly designed for lower emissions and better economy, it hasn’t sacrificed much performance. It does 0-62 in 5.4 seconds, runs on just electric for almost 30 miles, and has plenty of mid-range shove.
It’s also remarkably quiet, smooth and composed. However, we’d caution against adding four-wheel-drive as it adds even more weight to the already heavy 7 Series Hybrid.
Lightweight carbon core construction has shaved some kilos off the 7 Series’ total weight, though, and this helps to keep running costs down. BMW claim that the 740e hybrid can return 134.5mpg economy, but in the real world this will be hard to achieve. You would have to drive like a monk to get near those figures.
Inside, the 7 Series is a seriously charming car. The materials used are all top quality, the design is stunning, and the advanced tech is state-of-the-art stuff. On the move, the hybrid is so quiet that you’d hear a pin drop, while the suspension setup is pillow-soft.
The dash is hi-tech, and sports a crystal clear, large infotainment screen that houses the iDrive system. Rich wood trim is a luxurious highlight, while standard kit includes a three-spoke steering wheel and LED brake lights. The Lexus gets much more standard equipment, though, which explains why the BMW’s starting price is so much lower.
How practical the BMW is doesn’t really hinge on whether you go for the short or longer wheelbase model. Both are roomy, with the shorter version now longer than last time. However, the longer variant is 14cm lengthier, which means that – like the Lexus – it can offer airplane-style interior space.
Passengers in the back will be just fine, and you can choose to sit them in either a conventional three-seat back bench, or two reclining armchairs. Get you!
The boot, meanwhile, measures 515-litres. It can’t be extended, because the car does without a split-folding rear seat.
Lexus – £100,700 – £102,200
BMW – £61,300 – £135,340