By Keith Buglewicz
If you're in the market for a high-end luxury sedan like the 2015 BMW 7 Series, then congratulations on your success. The good news is that you don't have to sacrifice driving pleasure just to convey your status in life, thanks to the 7 Series. While the BMW 7 Series is great to be driven in, thanks to the roomy Li long-wheelbase models with their extra rear-seat room, all 7 Series BMWs are even better from the driver's seat. Whether you choose the 6-cylinder-powered 740i, the V8 750i, the monstrous V12-powered 760i, or the high-lux Alpina B7 model, you can get your 7 Series in short or long versions with extra rear-seat room, and in rear-drive or all-wheel drive.
If you still want to take your big sedan on mountain roads, then the BMW 7 Series is what you're looking for. It sacrifices next to nothing when it comes to luxury, but still offers up a compelling driving experience that's often hard to come by in high-end luxury sedans.
While the BMW 7 Series is still an excellent luxury sedan, in recent years it has been surpassed by the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class when it comes to pure extravagances like in-cabin aromatherapy and built-in hot-stone massage.
The biggest news for the BMW 7 Series this year is under the hood, in the form of a new 6-cylinder diesel engine. This turbocharged 6-cylinder offers up fuel economy that's superior to the ActiveHybrid 7 model, and it can accelerate to 60 mph in just over six seconds.
The 2015 BMW 7 Series puts a focus on handling and performance in a way that most other high-end luxury cars don't – despite being the biggest...
... BMW sedan you can buy. The strong brakes, precise-feeling inputs, and sporty suspension keep the driver more in touch with the road than its rivals. That said, we'd skip the non-diesel 740i's turbocharged 6-cylinder engine in favor of the 750's twin-turbo V8 any day of the week. With 445 horsepower on tap, the difference in fuel economy is marginal (although the difference in price is not). Both the all-out-enthusiast Alpina B7 version and the range-topping 760Li deliver performance numbers once reserved for dedicated supercars. In terms of ride comfort, the 2015 7 Series dispatches bumps and road imperfections with a hardly a shake of the cabin. Selecting the Sport or Sport Plus driving mode increases suspension firmness, alters steering effort and improves throttle response.
BMW's 6-cylinder diesel engine is one we've fallen in love with. The smooth power and surprising silence of this engine make it a pure luxury-car engine, but the 23 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway make it downright sensible.
The 7 Series allows iPhone users to access various BMW-developed and 3rd-party smartphone applications like Web Radio, Facebook and Twitter through the 10.2-inch navigation system display.
Buyers of the 2015 BMW 7 Series will quickly discover that this flagship sedan is a rolling showcase for BMW's in-vehicle technology and design. The optional "multicontour" front seats adjust 20 ways to suit a variety of body shapes and sizes, while rear-seat passengers are provided an assortment of luxurious features such as seat massagers, rear-seat entertainment with two 9.2-inch displays, and power-sliding sunshades for the side windows. New for 2015 is a standard leather-wrapped dash on V8 and V12 models. The latest iteration of BMW's iDrive is easier to use than ever before.
Compared to the controversial designs of its predecessor, the 5th-generation BMW 7 Series is visually sleeker and more refined, particularly when outfitted with the striking body and wheel modifications of the available M-Sport package. LED headlights are now standard on V8 and V12 7 Series sedans, and the luxurious and powerful Alpina B7 now has a 19-inch wheel option with all-season tires, although this lowers the top speed to "just" 130 mph. We still prefer the look of the standard Alpina B7's 21-inch wheels.
Given its $75,000 starting price, the entry-level 2015 BMW 7 Series comes equipped with an array of high-end accouterments. Highlights include 4-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, navigation, a 16-speaker audio system with two subwoofers, adaptive headlights that swivel with the steering wheel for greater visibility around corners, and BMW's driving dynamics control with a choice five separate vehicle performance personalities. Newly standard this year are Bluetooth and USB connections, and BMW Online and BMW Apps are now standard. Safety items include eight airbags, and BMW Assist with emergency services like collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery and roadside assistance.
If you love audio, you'll want the Bang & Olufsen sound system upgrade, and the full-color head-up display is a must-have for anybody who calls him or herself a techno geek. A cabin chock-full of distracting tech features necessitates the Driver Assistance Package, which includes lane departure alerts, pedestrian warning, side- and top-view cameras that provide a more comprehensive look at the vehicle's surroundings, and an active cruise control system designed to automatically maintain a prescribed distance behind the vehicle ahead. Bespoke adornments from the BMW Individual menu are available for buyers looking to take personalization to the next level.
With the addition of the 2015 740Ld xDrive, luxury-minded fuel-efficiency fanatics have one more reason to check out the 7 Series, thanks to its excellent power, torque and fuel economy. Hybrid fans can still opt for the ActiveHybrid 7. Non-diesel 740 models get a 315-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder, while a twin-turbo V8 motivates the 750 model. Alpina B7 variants use the same V8, modified for an additional 95 horsepower. The twin-turbo V12 in the 760Li puts out 535-horsepower and an earth-moving 550 lb-ft of torque. Every 7 Series model sends power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, and you can get rear-wheel drive by opting for BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (740)
315 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 19/28 mpg (AWD)
3.0-liter twin turbocharged inline-6 hybrid (Active Hybrid)
350 net hybrid system horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
360 lb-ft of net hybrid system torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-6 (740Ld xDrive)
255 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
413 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (750)
445 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 16/24 mpg (AWD, Li and Li AWD)
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 (760)
535-horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
550 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Alpina B7)
540 horsepower @ 5,200-6,250 rpm
538 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 16/24 mpg (AWD)
The base price for a 2015 BMW 740i is about $75,000. The 740Li with its extra rear seat room adds $4,000, with another $3,000 on top of that if you want an all-wheel drive model. The V8-powered 750i starts at a little more than $88,000. Adding all-wheel drive or the long wheelbase adds about $3,000, or $6,000 if you want both. The new 740Ld xDrive runs about $83,500, while the ActiveHybrid 7 starts at a little more than $85,000. Limited-edition Alpina B7 models start around the $130,000 mark, while the 760Li models start above $142,000. That's in the same ballpark as rivals like the Lexus LS 460, Audi A8, and Jaguar XJ sedans, all of which start in the mid-$70,000 range. Check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area, and rest assured that your BMW's resale is on par with Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.