Mercedes-Benz has locked out the World Luxury Car title since it became a standalone category in the World Car Awards in 2014. However, on the 2016 honours list, the BMW 7 Series takes pride of place.
At a World Cars Awards press conference hosted by the New York Show for the 10th consecutive year, the Mazda MX-5 was declared the 2016 World Car of the Year, but significantly, the BMW 7 Series succeeded last year’s winner in the World Luxury Car of the Year category: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and its predecessor, the S-Class (in 2014).
The BMW flagship, which was recently introduced in the South African market, was selected ahead of the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 (click here to read a comparative review) in this category by an international jury panel comprised of 73 top-level automotive journalists from 23 countries around the world, including Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen and Cars.co.za Content Manager Mike Fourie, who were the two South African representatives.
The World Car Awards press release stated the following: “It (the 7 Series) has sporty driving dynamics that its rivals in the segment cannot claim as their USP and as well as 25 new features, of which 13 are segment firsts! Inside the cabin, BMW has taken things up a notch on luxury, pampering the owner with very comfortable seating and loads of entertainment. The 7 Series brings in new features like the ambient ‘sky lounge’ sunroof, ambient air package and the all-new gesture control.”
BMW has a more-than-respectable record in the World Car Awards programme, but it can be argued that the 7 Series’ 2016 accolade is the most prestigious since the 3 Series won the overall World Car of the Year title in 2006. The i8 and i3 were named the World Green Car of the Year in 2015 and 2014 respectively (when the latter also won the World Car Design of the Year title). More recently, the i3 EV/EV with range extender received the Design of the Year and Game changer of the Year awards in the inaugural Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, which were announced in January 2016.
2016 World Luxury Car voting results:
|BMW 7 Series||8.8||8.5||7.1||8.8||7.3||7.6||7.6||815|
|Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe||7.6||7.7||6.5||8.2||6.7||6.6||7.3||735|
"The segment we refer to as "First Class" cars in the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards is increasingly defined by how many onboard conveniences and always-connected technology features manufacturers can squeeze into their flagships saloons, so much so that it parallels the intense battle for supremacy between smartphone manufacturers," said Fourie. "For now, the 7 Series takes the lead in that regard, but the relentless progress of technology means it won't rule the roost for long."
"What's most impressive about the BMW is that it strikes a near-perfect balance between cosseting luxury and an involving driving experience, more so than any of its predecessors and, arguably, its current rivals," he concluded.
Watch a video that demonstrates the functions of the 7 Series' Smart Key:
Watch a video that demonstrates the integrated touchpad in the 7 Series' rear console: