7 Series

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2015 BMW 7 Series Overview

Anyone shopping for a high-end luxury sedan like the 2015 BMW 7 Series is likely accustomed to having many options in life. This latest version of the 7 Series fits nicely into that multiple-choice theme. You can sit in the driver's seat and enjoy it as a road-gripping sports sedan, or you can be chauffeured in luxury from the back seat, which gains an extra 5.5 inches of legroom if you choose the long wheelbase L models. You can pick one of 5 driving modes with the Driving Dynamics Control, choose rear- or all-wheel drive, the optional features list is pages long, and there are 5 powertrain choices, including a hybrid version and, new this year, a turbodiesel.

The addition of the diesel option is the most noteworthy change for the 2015 7 Series, which is in the fifth year of its current generation. Other updates include a leather-wrapped dash and LED headlights that come standard on the V8 and V12 models and standard Bluetooth and USB connections for all models. That may not seem like many changes, but remember that BMW keeps its flagship vehicle current with yearly updates. Two years ago the company revamped the V8 engine choices and the front and rear seats, and last year there were changes to the front fascia, the navigation system and the iDrive infotainment system, as well as new ambient lighting and extra sound insulation.

Powertrain choices distinguish the 7 Series trims. The 740i, 740Li (long wheelbase) and 740Li xDrive (all-wheel drive) come with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline 6-cylinder (I6) that produces 315 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque and gets 19 mpg city/29 highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/28 with AWD. The 740Ld xDrive gets the new 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-6 that turns out 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The most impressive numbers for the new diesel, however, are its 23/31 mpg. That's even better mileage than the Active Hybrid 7, which gets 22/30 with its combination of the 3.0-liter, turbocharged I6, electric motor and 120-volt lithium-ion battery. That system generates 349 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque, a significant increase in power from the 740 models, but the weight of the electric motor and battery negates any increase in acceleration. The Active Hybrid 7 is available only with the long wheelbase and RWD.

The 750 models (available with standard or long wheelbase and RWD or AWD) come with the V8 engines that were redesigned in 2013. The 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 produces 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, gets 17/25 with RWD or 16/24 with AWD, and can get from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The 760Li (not available with a standard wheelbase or all-wheel drive) is powered by a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V12 monster that cranks out 535 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque, goes from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and gets 13/20. Finally, there's the Alpina B7, for those of you who want to make the ultra performance choice with your 7 Series. This autobahn conqueror comes with a modified version of the 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 that generates 540 hp, 538 lb-ft of torque, gets 16/25 mpg with RWD or 16/24 mpg with AWD, and moves from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The Alpina B7 also comes with other performance enhancements including a firmer suspension and larger brakes.

It's hard to go wrong with any of those engine choices, but the experts seem to agree that the V8 is the best choice with its balance between power, efficiency and weight, although the new diesel is also an intriguing option. All engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual and automatic shift modes and fully synchronized electronic gear changes.

The high-end mechanical function under the hood is matched by the luxurious form of the 7 Series' exterior lines and interior styling and comfort. The sedan's stance is confident and athletic, the silhouette is refined, and the proportions are impeccable. Inside, the 7 Series is loaded with technology, but it doesn't feel cluttered. The iDrive, once criticized as difficult to use, has evolved into an intuitive system that has been upgraded in recent years with a touchpad, sharper graphics, 3D technology and improved speed and memory. The cabin materials are first-class, from the wood trim to the leather dash to the ceramic-finished knobs.

The list of standard equipment on all 7 Series models is impressive, but that's what you'd expect with an entry-level price of $75,000. Standard highlights include leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, adaptive headlights that swivel with the steering wheel, navigation system with voice command, dynamic cruise control, a rear parking camera, a 10-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, BMW Online (access to Google search, telephone directories, restaurant guides and more) and BMW Apps (lets iPhone owners use apps like Facebook, Twitter and various web radio choices with the 10.2-inch display screen).

The optional equipment list is truly mind-boggling and could end up costing you more than a new economy car for your teenager. Some of the more noteworthy options are the rear-seat entertainment package (which includes an iDrive controller for the rear seat and two “floating” 9.2-inch rear display screens), the M Sport package (19-inch wheels, Shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headliner, unique steering wheel and paddle shifter, and aerodynamic body kit with assertive front and rear bumpers), Attention Assistant (monitors driving and issues an alert if it senses fatigue), Collision Mitigation (applies brake when a potential collision is detected, top- and side-view cameras, local speed-limit info), heated rear seats, a heads-up display and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.

Standard safety features for all 7 Series models include traction and stability control, crash sensor (disconnects the alternator, fuel pump and starter from the battery, automatically turns on hazard lights and unlocks doors), dual front, side and side curtain airbags, knee airbags and front-seat active head restraints. AWD versions also come standard with hill descent control to help with icy roads.


After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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2015 BMW 7 Series Top Comparisons

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