Overview & Reviews
Since its introduction for the 1978 model year, the BMW 7 Series luxury sedan has remained true to its original character. It's the BMW flagship, and this full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan has always represented the pinnacle of technology and luxury in the German automaker's lineup. As such, it's an obvious choice for discerning buyers seeking a spacious and elegant sedan with a high level of curbside prestige.
There's a fair amount of competition in this elite vehicle class, but the 7 Series sedan's athletic handling dynamics have long set it apart, starting with the early 733s and carrying through to the five present-day 7 Series models. While other manufacturers have historically been content to build high-end sedans with soft, serene rides, BMW engineers its 7s to engage their drivers on an emotional level. There are a few recent contenders that have gone after this emotional engagement, so the 7 Series is no longer the only game in town, but it remains a prime luxury sedan for people who like to drive.
Current BMW 7 Series
The current 7 Series is offered in five different models. The 740i and long-wheelbase 740Li feature a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. The 750i and 750Li feature a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that cranks out 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. The top-of-the-line 760Li features a 6.0-liter V12 that produces 535 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard across the board, while all-wheel drive ("xDrive") is optional for the 740 and 750 models. All are very quick, with even the 740i being able to run from zero to 60 mph in a claimed 5.6 seconds.
The 7 Series boasts a handsome, spacious interior with supple leather and rich wood accents adorning almost every surface. Highly adjustable front seats ensure comfort for virtually every body type. The 7 also showcases a wealth of high-tech luxury features such as a night-vision camera and sideview cameras. Some may still find the iDrive electronics interface system a bit complicated, but we think the current model's improved layout is an elegant solution to a button-heavy dashboard.
Although rear passenger space is limolike, especially in Li form, the 7 Series remains a standout in the handling department. The "Dynamic Driving Control" system contributes to this status, featuring four different settings that alter the driving characteristics of the car. We'd bet good money that most folks will leave it on "Normal," but it certainly rewards owners who like to customize their cars to their own driving tastes. Only recently has the 7 Series begun to be challenged by athletic new rivals in this segment.
Used BMW 7 Series Models
The current, fifth-generation 7 Series debuted for 2009. Compared to the controversial previous model, its styling is considerably more restrained, with tauter bodywork and a conventional trunk design. The interior is also more traditional. The gear selector has migrated from the steering column back to the center console, for example, and the iDrive electronics interface is vastly improved. Turbocharged engines are now the norm for BMW's top sedan.
There have been a handful of notable changes during the current 7 Series' production run. In its first year, the big Bimmer could only be had in 750i or 750Li trim with rear-wheel drive. The 760Li arrived for 2010, while the 740i debuted the following year, becoming the first six-cylinder 7 Series in two decades. For 2013, the 750's twin-turbo V8 was upgraded from its original output (400 hp, 450 lb-ft) to current levels, while the 740 received a new inline-6 with a single turbocharger in place of the original twin-turbo engine. The iDrive interface was also updated for 2013, and an eight-speed automatic became the standard transmission on all 7 Series models.
The previous-generation BMW 7 Series was produced from 2002-'08 and was by far the most radical version of the nameplate. Traditional exterior styling cues from the previous 25 years were largely abandoned in favor of a more aggressive, avant-garde design. The car was still recognizable as a 7 Series, but many purists found the look abrasive. A refresh for 2006 smoothed out some of the harsher elements, but it's still a stretch to call this car beautiful, whether in standard-wheelbase 750i or long-wheelbase 750Li/760Li form (previously known as "iL").
With the exception of 2002, when only a V8 was offered, the fourth-generation 7 Series lineup always included sophisticated eight- and 12-cylinder engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 745i and 745Li sold from 2002-'05 were equipped with a 325-hp 4.4-liter V8, while the 750i and 750Li that succeeded them had a 360-hp 4.8-liter V8. The 750s were slightly heavier, so performance was about the same as for the 745s.
Offered continuously from 2003, the 760Li had a 6.0-liter V12 capable of 438 hp. Unlike the V8s, which are eager to rev, the V12 delivers a massive wave of thrust as soon as you nudge the accelerator pedal. BMW offered a short-wheelbase 760i from 2004-'06.
The edgy exterior styling of this generation carried over to the cabin, where BMW's typically button-heavy control layout gave way to an all-in-one system called iDrive that governed climate, audio and navigation functions via a single console-mounted dial and a central display. Although iDrive assured the 7's place in the information age, its steep learning curve proved bewildering for many a 7 Series driver. During the car's lifespan, iDrive was consistently upgraded, so newer models will come with later (and less maddening) versions of this control device. Be sure to thoroughly exercise the iDrive system before purchasing a 7 Series of this vintage.
Despite its quirks, the 2002-'08 BMW 7 Series proved quite popular, not least because of its superb driving experience. Here BMW applied its arsenal of technology to great effect, as features like self-stiffening antiroll bars, self-leveling air springs and adaptive shock absorbers worked together to keep the big sedan exceptionally stable when driven hard. However, it's complexity like this that makes the fourth-generation 7 Series an intimidating used car in terms of expected maintenance costs. "Buyer beware" is the operative phrase here.
The third-generation 7 Series, sold from 1995-2001, is generally regarded as a high point in the model's history. It was a true driver's car just like today's 7, but there was less in-car technology to distract from the task at hand. And most people agree that its sleek, classically styled body is easier on the eyes.
The model lineup included the regular-wheelbase 740i sedan, which was offered every year except 1996, and the long-wheelbase 740iL and 750iL, which had an uninterrupted run. The BMW 740s were powered by a 282-hp 4.4-liter (4.0-liter in 1995) V8, while the 750iL had a 5.4-liter V12 good for 326 hp. All 7s came with a five-speed automatic transmission. Either setup provided strong acceleration, but fuel economy was poor by today's standards.
A well-kept third-generation 7 Series could be a rewarding purchase if you've got the time and budget to keep it on the road. The main advantage to choosing a car from later in the model cycle is added standard feature content. BMW's Dynamic Stability Control system, for example, debuted across the line for 1998. Quality was generally excellent on these cars, but like most high-end German products, this 7 Series can incur hefty repair costs over time.
Similar in style and focus to its successor, the second-generation BMW 7 Series was on sale from 1988-'94. This was the first 7 Series to include both regular- and long-wheelbase models, the advantage to the latter being increased rear legroom. For most of the cycle, the base engine was a 208-hp 3.4-liter inline six-cylinder offered in 735i and 735iL models. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard, but a five-speed manual was offered as well. The 282-hp 4.0-liter V8 replaced the inline-6 in 1993, yielding the 740i and 740iL, both of which took a five-speed automatic only. The BMW 750iL was offered throughout the run; the first V12-equipped BMW, it had a 296-hp 5.0-liter engine and a four-speed automatic.
The first-generation BMW 7 Series enjoyed a long run from 1978-'87. It was the largest sedan the company had ever built and directly targeted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. All 7s of this era were powered by an inline six-cylinder engine.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 906.00
The best of the best for that year. - 2000 BMW 7-Series
By The best of the best for that year - January 19 - 7:05 pm
Good car love it.
No complaints - 2007 BMW 7-Series
By A. Joseph Galli IV - December 30 - 12:18 am
Beautiful and well conceived. Years beyond most other cars. Powerful, dependable, impressive. If you are concerned with maintenance costs, well, don't buy the top of line luxury sedan on earth.
2016--This BMW 7 Series is The King of the Road!!! - 2004 BMW 7-Series
By Matthew Tison - December 28 - 12:31 pm
I will NOW only OWN a BMW for the rest of my life!!! I recently purchased this Great Condition Used BMW--745 Li Automatic on Dec. 20th! Merry Christmas to ME! I got a fair price and it only had 51,000 Miles on it! So far I have a mechanic change the oil w/Full Synthetic and I only USE 91 Premium Gas from Chevron and it drives like an absolute GEM! I mean it's nearing 2016, that means this vehicle is 12 years old! It's NICER, ROOMIER, and Better Equiped than any LATE Model American Car. I'm SOLD on German/European Engineering! My Mechanic looks it over and he drives a 7 Series! He said, Matt this is a GEM! Smooth, Seamless shifting on acceleration, and AMAZING Power! Pure Comfort for me and my guest in the front and in the Rear! My 11 year old daughter sits in the back at times w/a friend and says, "Dad, it's like a Living Room back here!" Amazing electronics, Amazing unparalleled POWER, Simply put--It's truly "The Ultimate Driving Machine" I just bought Bridgestone Blizzak Snow Tires and put 2 sand bags in the rear trunk and it's better than a 4 wheel drive truck I used to own! WOW--I'll NEVER drive another vehicle. Thank you BMW and the owner that took care of this previous to me!
Big Mechanical Waste - 2004 BMW 7-Series
By Patrick wheat - December 23 - 9:23 pm
bought this car for my wife and what a waste of space. transmission, head gaskets, sensors galore. bought is used and it spent 3 out of the first 5 months in the shop. i will never buy another bmw again. worst of all this site does not reflect what i here from every other mechanic and 2004 bmw 7 owner. shame on edmunds and to anyone looking at this car please please please look else where.
2013 BMW 750i x-drive - 2013 BMW 7-Series
By Nagesh Sridharan - December 14 - 8:19 pm
Worst Car I ever had - 2008 BMW 7-Series
By Sam - December 9 - 6:18 pm
I would never buy this piece of Junk. It is just a waste of money. Too many issues. I purchased a 5 year old CPO 750i. A few months later I found out that it has original air filters installed, the dealer did not even bother to check the basics. I filed a complain, both written and by phone. I wasted so many hours but no results. The customer rep says that the dealer is not answering them, what a BS.
Stay away - 2010 BMW 7-Series
By Habibi - December 6 - 8:09 pm
Do not buy this car unless it's under warranty, valve problem burning and leaking oil .. It's a 7,000 dollar job don't waist ur money and this is my second car but never again
What a waste of money!!!! - 2011 BMW 7-Series
By K Rasheed, M.D - November 16 - 1:59 pm
Please do not spend any big dollars and buy BMW. I have this car and it has been to dealership five times in matter of just three years. Car stopped while I was driving!!! they had to change fuel injectors and then it happened again after few months. Then the back up camera did not work!!! The fuel injectors started to make clicking noise and they said it was normal. !! I have just 27000 miles and it is four years which is not much for any car. So please take my advice and think and do more research before you spend huge amount of money on this car.
Classy, Stylish, Head Turner.....Still - 1998 BMW 7-Series
By Robert W. Eiser - November 10 - 5:17 pm
First they are inexpensive to purchase. I own a 1998 740l, was skeptical at first, 130K miles on her but in pristine condition other than needing new shoes. Hands down the best car I've ever owned or driven long distance in. Smooth ride, adjustable comfortable seating, cold a/c, strong and still turns heads after almost 18 years. Original paint still looks great as does the leather interior. Doors are heavy, it's a touring car, weighing in at some 4200 lbs. Keep on top of her maintenance as you would any other machine and she'll treat you right. My problem is with parking lots and people bumping into her front and rear fenders. These are impact trip guards that are easily replaced. Forget the BMW dealer on parts, check out eBay and you'll find what you need way cheaper. Find a local mechanic who understands BMW's and you'll save a ton of money plus have a mechanic that knows your car. The digital display lose pixels but the instrument panel is perfect. For the price they are a steal and a piece of BMW history. Mine is my daily driver. Window regulators could be constructed stronger, plan on replacing these every few years, again eBay is the place to buy them. Like everything else, pick a good one.
My Second 7 Series and Still Loving it! - 2015 BMW 7-Series
By Aaron - November 1 - 6:51 pm
I recently traded in my 2010 750 Li to get the 2015 model. I loved my 2010, but am head over heels for the 2015. I was fortunate to find a model with many options included. This just gives me more toys to play with! This is a magnificent car, but it is a BMW and that means it's a driver's car. It has all the luxury appointments that you could want, but that 445hp V8 is a beast that needs to be driven to be appreciated. The car offers all of the occupants many creature comforts, so no one will be disappointed or feel left out while enjoying the pampering that the car provides. I owned an S Class for ten years and while I so enjoyed that car, I enjoyed true driving engagement more and moved over to the 7 Series. Spending this much on a car, you might expect a super comfortable ride and all of the luxury appointments.... Even though BMW is more focused on comfort with the 7, at it's core it is still a BMW - a drivers car. It's not for everyone, especially in this segment. I can guarantee if you decide to get one, the driving and luxury experience will be both engaging and exhilarating.