The full-size luxury-sedan class is rampant with high expectations. But BMW’s 7-series only partially meets them, serving up a comfortable, quiet ride but no distinguishing features or character to set it apart from its rivals. In designing the 7-series, BMW crafted sophisticated looks but left behind its reputation for excellent sporting sedans. At least the turbocharged inline-six, twin-turbo V-8, and twin-turbo V-12 engines that are available in the 7-series live up to the brand’s sparkling mechanical reputation. Even the 740e plug-in hybrid’s powertrain is well executed. Engines aside, the 7-series is luxurious but unremarkable.
What’s New for 2017?
All new for 2016, the 7-series lineup grows by two for 2017 with the addition of the 12-cylinder M760i and the 740e plug-in hybrid. The latest version of the BMW iDrive infotainment system also arrives in the 7-series this year.
- 740i: $82,495
- 750i Sedan: $95,595
- M760i: $154,795
- ALPINA B7: $137,995
- 740e Plug-In Hybrid: $90,095
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Topping the 7-series’ short list of highlights are its engines and transmissions. Every single one, from the 740i’s 320-hp turbocharged inline-six to the 750i’s 445-hp twin-turbo V-8 to the M760i’s insane 601-hp twin-turbo V-12, is buttery smooth and muscular. Even the 740e plug-in’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric-motor combination is powerful and manages to drive with a natural feel that’s absent from most hybrids. All 7-series models share some variation of the same slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is optional on the 740i and 750i and standard on the M760i, Alpina B7, and 740e. But as praiseworthy as its powertrains may be, the 7-series has no other dynamic highlights. The suspension is pillowy soft, and body control is in short supply. The upside of this arrangement is a relaxing highway ride, although the loose damping can sometimes allow harsh road impacts to enter the cabin. The only exceptions to this dynamic disappointment are the M760i and the Alpina B7, which, while not as satisfying as BMWs of old, can still hustle down a two-lane road with considerable of athleticism.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
This latest 7-series has a cabin whose build quality, materials, and design are merely average for this rich class. Sure, it’s spacious, but so is every sedan in this segment. Sure, it’s luxurious, but one turn in a Mercedes-Benz S-class or even the new Genesis G90, and you’ll be left wanting more from a car that starts at $82,495. Even in its most basic form, the 7-series comes with power-adjustable heated front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, dual sunroofs, leather seating surfaces, and dual-zone climate control for each row of seats. Options include massaging front and rear seats, nicer leathers and trim materials, and a rear-seat entertainment system. Despite its average 18-cubic-foot trunk, the 7-series holds surprisingly few pieces of luggage. Similarly, its spacious interior has average cubby space in the door panels and center console for stashing small items.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The BMW iDrive infotainment system is a straightforward, attractive interface. The latest version adds a touchscreen but keeps its signature (quick, intuitive) control dials. Every 7-series model has two USB ports for front-seat passengers and four 12-volt plugs scattered throughout. Bluetooth is standard, and a Samsung tablet with a dock between the rear seats is optional, giving passengers remote access to some infotainment features. Apple CarPlay is a pricey option, but, curiously, Android Auto isn’t available.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer’s CPO program.