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 current 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 five years ago has begun showing up on a number of new designs, most noticeably such stalwart vehicles as the Toyota Camry and Lexus LS 460. Vindication indeed! For its part, the 2008 BMW 7 Series continues to serve as the company's flagship and offers unparalleled levels of luxury, interior space and overall performance. Available with a choice of regular or long wheelbase, a V8 or V12 engine and, for the lucky few, the 500-horsepower Alpina B7 trim, 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 2008 BMW 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.
The 7 Series is essentially unchanged for 2008.
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 2008 BMW 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 maintain exceptional control. Even when the traction control is prompted to intervene, a simple easing off of the throttle brings the car back into line. Assisting you is BMW's six-speed automatic transmission, which offers crisp, precise shifts and eliminates off-the-line lag. The 4.8-liter V8 is smooth and powerful, and you can feel the added torque when passing. If you are truly power-happy, the 760 offers a direct gasoline injection V12 engine that develops over 400 horsepower.
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 2008 BMW 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, GPS navigation, 13-speaker Logic7 Surround Sound Audio (on the 760Li), auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 20-way power front Comfort Seats with three-stage heating, Active Roll Stabilization and an interior loaded with yards of leather and wood.
Most 7 Series options can be found bundled into packages. Among the available features are the Logic7 premium Surround Sound system with 13 speakers and a six-disc CD/MP3 player, the Adaptive Ride Package with self-leveling rear suspension, power-closing doors, power trunk lid, Adaptive Cruise Control, rear side-impact airbags, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Night Vision and rear climate control. The Cold Weather Package adds a heated rear seat and steering wheel, and the Sport Package adds 20-inch wheels, sport suspension and sport steering wheel.
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: 15/23
4.4-liter Supercharged V8 (Exclusive to Alpina B7)
325 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
330 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21
438 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
444 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20
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."
By don (AZ) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great drive"
Cons: "high gas and repair cost"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"My BMW 750i is a joy to drive, when you can afford to drive it. Only 16-miles city, premium gas only. The repair cost after the warranty is super crazy. after 5-years things began to break quickly. A break repair can be $2,000. After warranty used up. The service department care less about your car care. The resale value drops like a falling rock! If the thrill of driving is what you want with no concern of gas and repair cost. I highly recommend. Otherwise, do as I did, buy a Toyota or Honda product and drive in peace."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Rich (SC) on Monday, April 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort of ride, dependability and quality."
Cons: "Fuel milage. But who cares."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have even had this car on the race track and the handeling was exceptional. I drive this car like it should be, I often (continually) drive the car in excess of the posted speed limits, and usually in the 100 MPH range. The car performs as advertised. I will be trading the vehicle for a newer model of the same car, not because it is worn out, not by any means. This car will make the next owner an excellent vehicle. BMW 75Li is an excellent car."
By JK (TX) on Sunday, April 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "most comfortable to drive and can be sporty"
Cons: "repair costs, no back up cam,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Great car until the repairs come,,,which can be very pricey. Beautiful and comfortable, but can be sporty and quick when needed (although long). Had a great time with it, but repairs that do come along keep asking myself if I should go for A8 or something else."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By scott (WA) on Friday, March 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"before I bought the car I was told that if you own it get rid of it before 50k. Didn't listen, got 66k on it and in the last 2 years I have had to put in over 4000 bucks. Now I just found out that the tranny has to be replaced, at 66k, unreal, cost 10k for a car that might be worth 20k. I paid 85k when I bought it new. My advise, get a lexus or an audi. THis is a nightmare. Im just gonna park the beast."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By MICHAEL (CA) on Monday, January 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned over 30 cars in my life time. This unit is the best. First used car I have bought in 25 years. Great value, comfort, style, and the list of options is almost endless. I also own a CLK350 Conv. also another fine German car."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful