By KBB.com Editors
There is no sweeter reward in life than vindication, which is why BMW's styling guru Chris Bangle must now be sporting a smile wider than the Mississippi river. Known as the father of the 7 Series, Bangle's critics delivered him a horrible thumping after the car's unveiling, yet the same bulbous curves and distinctive bustle trunk that so offended four years ago have unexpectedly shown up on such stalwart vehicles as the new Toyota Camry and Lexus LS 470. Vindication indeed! For its part, the 7 Series continues to serve as the BWM flagship and offers unparalleled levels of luxury, interior space and overall performance. Available with a choice of a V8 or V12 engine, the 7's appeal grows stronger as its once controversial design becomes the new norm.
If you like a car with an IQ higher than yours, the 7 Series is sure to please. There is almost nothing this car can't do, and the stretched L version makes a perfect rolling office for the businessperson (or rap star) on the go.
You may not like the 7 Series if you are a traditionalist driver who is not willing to relearn the BMW way. Just about every feature, from the gearshift lever to the temperature control to the starter, operates differently than in a standard sedan.
New standard features include three-stage heated front Comfort Seats, power folding feature for side mirrors and an auxiliary audio input. Twenty-inch wheels replace 19-inch wheels in the Sport package, but the Sport Seat option is no longer offered. The short-wheelbase 760i is discontinued.
Driving Impressions If you're lucky enough to be the one behind the wheel, you'll be surprised at the level of steering response, control and acceleration the 7 Series possesses. The braking, the...way it turns into corners, the turning radius and the vehicle stability are all exemplary. You can push the 7 Series into the tightest turns and never feel as though you will lose control of the vehicle. Even when the traction control is prompted to intervene, a simple easing off of the throttle brings the car back into line.
Steering Wheel-Mounted Controls
Just about every function can be controlled from the steering wheel-mounted touch controls. There is even a "soft button" you can set to operate any number of automated functions.
20-Way Comfort Seats
If you can't get comfortable in these, you should lie down in the back seat and let someone else drive.
If you're not driving, the 7 Series is a great place to stretch out and relax. Rear-seat passengers can recline and have their backsides heated or cooled. Front-seat passengers can speak commands to the audio and navigation systems while they get comfy in their 20-way adjustable seats. BMW has improved the functionality of the audio controls, leaving you the option of avoiding the iDrive system when making simple adjustments such as frequency and source settings.Exterior
The 7 Series strikes an imposing pose even standing still; the car looks substantial because it is. Riding on enormous optional 20-inch wheels and wide tires, the 7 Series takes a bulldog stance that says to all other traffic "don't even try." Its exterior size translates into excellent comfort inside, especially in the long-wheelbase version.
When it comes to notable standard features, there are almost too many to list. We like the flawless six-speed automatic transmission with hill-holder device, electronic parking brake, hands-free phone and the myriad of airbags that surround the interior. Other 7 Series goodies include xenon adaptive headlamps, Park Distance Control, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, Active Roll Stabilization and an interior loaded with yards of leather and wood.
Options include the Logic 7 premium sound system with 13 speakers and a six-disc CD/MP3 player, Adaptive Ride Package with self-leveling rear suspension, sport suspension, heated steering wheel, power-closing doors, power trunk lid, Adaptive Cruise Control, rear side-impact airbags, the Individual Package that includes Merino leather seating and unique exterior colors, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Night Vision and rear climate control.
The 4.8-liter V8 is yet another example of BMW's masterful engine design process. The increased power and torque are much appreciated, as a loaded 7 really packs on the pounds. The V8 is more than adequate for most drivers' needs, but the V12 is as much a status symbol as it is a performer so, if you have the cash, go for it.
360 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
438 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
444 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22
By Jake (CA) on Sunday, September 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styles, Great looking, Comfortable"
Cons: "Costly, Oil leaking issue(too early)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Very nice looking, and very comfortable when working fine. But, It seems not reliable enough when you see the price. Could not understand where the $$$ goes. So expensive to fix and not reliable on basics. Wonder where is the German engineering goes? Buy for style and comfort~ if you can handle~...."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Beemer Man (FL) on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car used at 110K. I had to spend some money on small plastic parts and I had to have the seals and gaskets on the engine repaleced as all BMWs leak when over 100K. But they also tend to get 200K plus on the drivetrains if you keep up maintenance. What a stout Panzer. The car rides like you are on air and is fast and nimble. It handles like a big sports car in the curves and accelerates like a jet. As with all german cars the plastic starts to degrade after 10 years and you have to replace plastic components. The car can be costly if you take it to the dealer but is feasible if you search the web for parts. This is my fourth BMW and 6th German car. I love to drive this machine."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Preston (MI) on Sunday, August 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,005overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, Seats, Drive, Looks, Solid Resale"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My experience with the car has been positive overall. In face of poor reliability reviews from consumers, I purchased a 2003 745li in 2006/7 at @41,000 miles from dealer -certified. The car looked great and felt solid. Now I have 125,005 miles on the car. I do not recall major repairs under warranty except radio but it seemed like the dealership was prone to adjust electronic/computer stuff at every service even though I did not report problems. Perhaps they were taking special care to prevent a problem? Post warranty I have had repaired/replaced: fuel pump, battery, tires, O2 sensors, vaccuum hose and Angel light-- All basic stuf. I feel as the car is just settling in- I consider it loyal. This makes it tough for me to part with the car. I get asked a couple times a month about the year of the car; people think its much newer. Every now and then I get offered a very fair price in parking lots or at gas stations. I will accept the next great offer I get and purchase a 2011 certified 750li M or Alpina. As with most vanity possessions, the bottom line is that in the case of a 7 series you should not get such a vehicle if you cringe at the possibility of expensive repairs and wonder if you over reached and got too much car."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Eric (NC) on Tuesday, July 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, comfort ride, plenty of leg room"
Cons: "Power train not reliable, high maintenance costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The car has nice features and comfortable to drive, but that's no good if the vehicle isn't reliable. I was averaging 2000 dollars a year by maintaining the vehicle. At 95,000 miles my transmission failed. The sad part, tranny maintenance isn't until 100,000 miles. The cost for replacement? 8600.00. Overall, the car is a head turner, but reliability just isn't there."
25 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By MX BMW (CA) on Wednesday, July 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great comftrable ride, the only down side if you are young like me, you will see your insurance premium skyrocket. I pay $500 on insurance."
By hammer65 (NH) on Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Luxury galore, very safe, comfort, nice power, MPG"
Cons: "BAD in snow, sunroof is loud"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is remarkable. The comfort is great. I'm 6' 3" and this car is amazing. I have had 4 - 5 series and an X5 and this by far is the best....unless you are talking about snow- NOT GOOD! I figured because of the perfect weight balance this would be good but it is terrible! It would be the only reason I go back to a 5 series. Even without the Xi badge the 535 was amazing in the snow. The only other small complaint i can even think of is the sunroof. It is very loud with the slide pulled back. I just don't understand that on a 90K car."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful