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 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."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Nod on Thursday, February 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good drives good when it works"
Cons: "Mechanical poor and too expensive to keep up. BMW"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I read these reviews and think I must be on another planet. I purchased this car with 71,000 miles. The valve guides a bad - the transmission is bad and the cateletic converter was bad. This is after I ran the diagnostics at a BMW store for $100. To fix it was more than the cost of the car. In fact the mechanic told me the E 62 engine was the worst they ever made and they don't stand behind them. He felt they shiuld have extended the warranty as they did on the 3002-03. Even my own BMW mechanic said they were horrible- if you buy a 7 series you are purchasing a time bomb!"
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By bil on Sunday, January 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "The best!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am 82 and take 6 car magazines-been to Pebble 3 time and many other shows-Owned 2000 Arnage Bently a 456 Maranello Ferrari and many others-I get this a car washed about evey 19 days Many compiemts at my CC-Trump National in Bedminister NJ by the parker fellows!!"
By Gio on Thursday, January 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been nothing but a pleasure to own. I haven't had any problems with the car at all in the last 7k or year and a half of ownership. I bought this car with 14k miles and paid 1/3 of what it cost new, even though it still looks, drives, smells, like new! It is fast, sleak, gets good gas mileage, its rare, its comfortable, its basically a luxury sedan, and supercar combined into one ultimate driving machine. They depreciate quickly because no one knows what they are, so if you can buy one slightly used and maintained like I did, you can live like you are rich with a middle class income."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jake 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~...."
15 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Beemer Man 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."
20 people out of 20 found this review helpful