By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
Last year, BMW embarked on a major redesign of its flagship sedan, adding more elegance, electronics and luxury while maintaining the car’s performance credentials. The 2017 BMW 7 Series sedan continues this trend, expanding the line to include a plug-in hybrid model and two high-performance trims. BMW’s latest shot at creating a groundbreaking infotainment system scores about nine out of 10, with a great interface but still lacking Apple CarPlay. There are more intuitive driver-assist systems as well as refined engine selections, including a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 for the 740i and 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 for the 750i. The V12 engine returns this year in the twin-turbocharged M760i xDrive, while the Alpina B7 xDrive sees a significant boost in power.
BMW’s 2017 7 Series sedan holds the same appeal regardless if you’re in the back seat or the front. The 7 Series’ air suspension and opulent executive rear seating make it the ideal business sedan, while its powerful engines and taut suspension make driving this limo-sized sedan quite thrilling.
Although Android phones with OS 4.2 and newer can use a BMW app to run Android Auto via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay is still off the menu. With no short-wheelbase option, the BMW 7 Series sedan for 2017 may feel too big for those who live in cramped or congested areas.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series’ Display Key fob is standard on all trims, while xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD) is now available on the base 740i sedan. The V12 returns with a quasi-M treatment in the M760i xDrive. The Alpina B7 xDrive is also back, with more horsepower and more standard features.
BMW’s flagship 7 Series sedan for 2017 is the largest 7 Series to date, yet every bit as nimble and athletic as one would expect of a car wearing the...
... blue-and-white propeller badge. The real attention-grabber is how BMW has enhanced the 7 Series’ handling and steering response while simultaneously improving the car’s ride comfort. The new air suspension includes an optional upgrade that can detect road conditions ahead and adapt the suspension in real time. The driver can also intervene by choosing from three modes: Comfort, Comfort+ and Sport. The 7 Series suspension is so smart it can actually learn your driving style and modify the suspension to match inputs. Equally smart is the 8-speed automatic transmission that is tied into the navigation system. This link allows the transmission to anticipate sudden changes in the road ahead, adjusting its shift patterns to be more responsive.
DISPLAY KEY FOB
The 2017 BMW 7 Series’ Display Key fob includes a small touch screen for remote control of the vehicle’s security systems, as well as the ability to monitor maintenance schedules, fuel levels and range. You can even instruct the car to parallel-park itself while standing outside the vehicle.
BMW’s Gesture Control allows the driver to respond to incoming calls or messages, adjust the radio volume or program unique commands via ordinary hand gestures in front of the display screen. The system can even route a course back home simply by pointing two fingers toward the dash.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series sedan’s interior features elegant wood veneer, aluminum trim and chrome accents. On 740i models, buyers choose from five colors of Dakota leather with Nappa leather as an option, while 750i models are all equipped with the latter. There’s plenty of room in the rear seat thanks to the car’s long-wheelbase design. All models are equipped with a 2-section panoramic moonroof. A Rear Executive Lounge Seating package features seatbacks that recline and a fold-out footrest. This package comes with a Touch Command Tablet for rear-seat passengers to control seat adjustments, navigation and infotainment.
The 6th-generation BMW 7 Series sedan can best be described as an evolution of the previous model despite its all-new sheet metal and extended overall length. The twin-kidney grille is more pronounced, and it incorporates an active-shutter system to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The profile of the car features a striking chrome accent that drops down from the front fender vent and sweeps rearward. The side glass is framed by a chrome strip and the famed Hofmeister kink at the C-pillar is incorporated into the rear door. In back are LED taillights and twin chrome exhaust tips.
The 2017 BMW 740i sedan comes equipped with 10-way-power driver’s seat (20-way seats in the 750i xDrive), 600-watt harman/kardon sound system, leather heated seats, rearview camera, iDrive 5.0 with touch pad, 10.2-inch touch screen and eight programmable memory buttons, navigation, keyless entry and start, power trunklid, soft-close doors, panoramic moonroof, 4-zone climate control, power tilt/telescope steering column, rain-sensing wipers and park-distance control. Also standard are BMW’s gesture control, wireless charging and a head-up display on 750i models. Standard safety items include BMW’s Active Protection System, which pretensions the seatbelts, closes windows and moonroof and activates post-crash braking.
A full suite of driver assists is available: night vision, 3D surround-view cameras, rear-crossing traffic warnings, lane-departure warning and assist, frontal-collision and pedestrian warnings, blind-spot detection and cruise control with stop-and-go function. The new generation of parking assistant can automatically park the car in both parallel and perpendicular spaces and has an autonomous braking feature. Optional audio is a Bowers & Wilkens Diamond surround-sound system of 1,400 watts delivering sound to 16 speakers. An optional Panoramic Sky Lounge roof uses LED modules to light etchings in the moonroof to create a starlit-sky effect in a choice of six different colors.
The 2017 BMW 740i, 740e plug-in hybrid, 750i and M760i xDrive each have their own unique turbocharged powertrain. A twin-turbocharged inline-6 powers the 740 cars while a twin-turbo V8 is used on the 750 models. The 740e plug-in hybrid sees the first time a turbocharged 4-cylinder inhabits a 7 Series’ engine bay, paired with a 111-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 322 horsepower. The car can run in a number of modes including full electric. There is also the high-performance Alpina B7 model which tweaks the 750i’s V8 to supply an additional 155 horsepower. Lastly, there’s the twin-turbocharged V12 in the new M760i xDrive, a first for a BMW V12.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4/AC Synchronous electric motor (740e xDrive)
255 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
111 horsepower @ 3,170 rpm (electric motor)
(Total combined: 322 horsepower)
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,550-4,400 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 0-3,170 rpm (electric motor)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 (740i, 740i xDrive)
320 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 1,380-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 19/28 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (750i, 750i xDrive)
445 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 16/25 mpg (AWD)
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (Alpina B7 xDrive)
600 horsepower @ 5,750-6,250 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 (M760i xDrive)
600 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 BMW 740i has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $82,500 including destination. Adding all-wheel drive bumps the price up another $3,000. The 750i xDrive starts just over $98,500, while the limited-production 740e xDrive starts just over $90,000. The Alpina B7 lists for around $138,000. The twin-turbo 6-cylinder BMW 740i compares favorably with the base 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan, which is V8-powered and lists closer to $98,000. The Lexus LS 460L starts a few thousand less than the 740i, while the Audi A8 L is about a grand more. Do check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying for their new 7 Series BMW. While this is a relatively new 7 Series, it should be noted that resale values for the big BMW tend toward average rather than exceptional.