BMW's facelifted 7 packs more luxury and gizmos within a bigger, bolder exterior
Massive endeavour The BMW 740Li comes with features such as wireless smartphone charging and adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping. PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Measuring well over 5m long, BMW's 7-series is already a fairly big car. The folks in Munich, however, feel you can never have enough of a good thing, which is why they have made the flagship even bigger.

The facelift of the sixth-generation limo is 5,260mm tip to tip, or 22mm longer. The extension has largely to do with the car's new and oversized grille. The massive protrusion - 40 per cent larger than the previous grille - adorns a front section which is 50mm taller, giving the 7 a stonking stature.

Its royal inflatedness is matched by deep channels on either side of the front apron. They direct air to help cool the front brakes, which sit behind massive wheels - 20-inch standard issue which can be upsized to 21 inches. Vertical vents rising up to half the height of the front fenders help dissipate gale-force turbulence churned up by wheels.

Even the BMW badge is not spared in this chest-thumping exercise. Its diameter has grown from 82mm to 95mm, well beyond the width of a human yawn. If you are not blinded by the grille and alloys, you will notice the bonnet, which is now more contoured.

Walk down the length of the car to the back (it might take a while) and you will see more subtle styling tweaks. The tail-lamps are slimmer and joined by a thin chrome strip underlined by an even thinner LED strip. This gives an elegant twist to the full-width LED illumination favoured by Porsche, Audi, Dodge and certain nightspots.

Talking about nightspots, the 7's tail-lights do a dance sequence whenever you lock or unlock the car.

As with other premium BMWs, the revamped 7 comes with two keys - a regular one which you can carry in your pocket without raising eyebrows and a multi-function phone-sized one which you plonk on the bar counter on ladies' night if you want a bit more attention.

The best revisions, however, are inside the car. Quilted Nappa leather upholstery line the seats and armrests, elevating the cabin ambience to a level Bentley buyers are more accustomed to. Ditto the improved acoustics. The front seats are sofa-like, and come with a massage function.

The luxury is accompanied by plenty of tech. New features include the latest operating system for its digital instrumentation, wireless smartphone charger and flat chromed control panels on the multi-function steering wheel. The switches are easier to use than those on an equivalent Mercedes.

The car's voice command system will now receive upgrades remotely.

BMW's wonderfully tactile gear lever retains its charm. Its clicking sequential-style operation is still the best in the industry.

Other standard fare includes adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping, parking assistant for both parallel and perpendicular spaces, and reverse assistant which retraces backwards the car's path for 50m.

But if you choose to do the parking yourself, the car's 360-degree camera system is handy but could be less cluttered.

The 740Li's engine has been tuned for a bit more power and torque, but with more revs. The boost is not obvious, with delivery that is as creamy, unwavering and relentless as before. But you will notice a slightly more vocal exhaust when you fire up the engine.

On the move, the 7's two-axle air suspension system irons out the humps and ruts effectively. But at the same time, the ride is too willowy - even in Sport mode. And it could do with more anti-dive to smoothen stops.

On the plus side, the car's manoeuvrability is astounding, negotiating tight spaces like a far smaller car. With this trait, size really does not matter.