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 Roger on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 184,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "awesome driving machine!"
Cons: "bad radio reception"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car with 60K miles in it and now have 184K and I can say it has been the most rewarding 124K I have ever driven. This car drives amazing, yet the gas mileage is 29 to 31 HWY MPG. It is spaciousness and comfort are unequal, yet never fails to turn heads wherever it goes. The best part is that this car is made for a driver and someone who doesn't trust anyone with their car but who is a doer himself. You can reset and read almost all codes through the dash and when you need to buy parts, they are far less expensive than an American car. The only reason I am selling is because I would like to upgrade to a 2010."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Art on Sunday, August 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort and ride"
Cons: "No backup camera"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought car used, but certified, 100,000 mile warranty. Love the car! Although they had to put a new $8,000 transmission, under warranty . They bent over backwards for me, always a loner car. Sarasota BMW. Even the owner sent me a gift basket because of the inconvenience. Car now runs like a top. Perfect for me, I'm 6'5."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Ultimate Driver on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The last repair this year after spending $3700 was the $710 yesterday for the rear seat belt buckle and a new battery at the BMW dealer. Going home and after 10 minutes every light lit up in the dashboard. Made a U turn dropped the car back at the dealer. Got a call this morning to fix the faulty brake light, ABS light another $2200. The ultimate driving machine has been nothing but an ultimate spending machine. Seriously BMW?"
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Car ent on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We love the car, but it's just coming out of warranty. So far this year the dealer has performed over $13,000 worth of repairs and we've paid out an additional $3,000 not inc tires. We had the extended warranty with the service plan included. We are not going to keep it or buy another BMW ever."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By C Burns on Thursday, April 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, total head turner!"
Cons: "iDrive system is a little awkward"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased this car used with very low mileage. I would not spend $110k on a car, but I digress. The car is comfortable and fast. There are a few things that could have been done differently or "better" and i think BMW addressed that in 2007 and on. It is a very rare car, rumor has it they only made about 1200 of the 760i in 2006, that may or may not be true. This car should have power retractable mirrors! In closing, if you can find one have it checked out, and BUY IT!!"
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Jay on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great comfort and the car responds very well."
Cons: "Expensive to maintain. Bad during snow."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The car is indeed a great car, but the maintenance on this car take a bite on one's pocket. This is not a car one could take to any mechanics otherwise, they would mess it up real bad. One needs to be very cautious. The car doe s not handle itself well in the snow. The company needs to decrease the service's charges for this car and make them cheaper. One does not know when one part or all of the computer will go bad. One morning I stated the car, a message appeared on the dashboard about lighting it costed me $1,470 plus dollars and change to have it fix,even though it never got wet. I like the fact that most of the features of the car are hidden so that prevent people, especially kids from playing in the car. The gas mileage could be better but for a big car like mine, it is alright."
15 people out of 18 found this review helpful