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2018 BMW 7 Series Overview
The BMW 7 Series has been around for 40 years now, although the sixth generation of the Bavarian automaker’s full-size luxury sedan was introduced just a few years ago, in 2016. With its most recent V12 and hybrid additions still offering a wide range of choices for a variety of buyers, the 7 Series lineup sees no changes for 2018. The 7 Series current platform is built from a weight-reducing combination of carbon-reinforced plastic, steel, and aluminum, and all models are now long-wheelbase versions with extra legroom. Base models start at around $83,000, but adding option packages or opting for one of the larger engines can quickly drive the price up to over $150,000.
The 7 Series lineup starts with the 740i trim, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight 6-cylinder engine good for 320 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Stepping up to the 750i adds a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that’s much more potent at 445 hp and 479 lb-ft. Both trims can be had in either rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration, and all 2018 7 Series models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The two newest 7 Series models exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, with one focused more on fuel efficiency and the other on serious but smoothly delivered horsepower. The plug-in hybrid 740e xDrive iPerformance does have a somewhat convoluted name, but the “e” clues you in to its electric component. It pairs a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined system output of 322 hp and 369 lb-ft. The M760i xDrive is a different animal, with a turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 churning out 601 hp and 590 lb-ft—enough grunt to get the massive sedan to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, placing it in supercar territory. Both the hybrid and V12 models can only be had in AWD configuration.Buyers looking for something a little more bespoke might want to consider the Alpina B7 from the famous BMW tuner. Based on the V8 model, the Alpina boosts power to 600 hp and 590 lb-ft and boasts the same 0-to-60 time as the M760i xDrive. It also features Integral Active Steering, with variable-ratio power-assisted steering in the front and active steering at the rear.
The 7 Series comes standard with an adaptive air suspension and several selectable drive modes. An Autobahn package is available, with Integral Active Steering and predictive suspension adjustments. The 7 Series has a 50/50 weight distribution and is reported to be quite agile for such a large luxury-oriented sedan, which is as expected from a BMW. It offers average amoung of trunk space for its class—the cargo area is plenty large enough to fit golf clubs, but the battery pack in the hybrid model will cut down a little on available room.
The moment you step inside, the 7 Series’ high price tag begins to make sense. The cabin comes outfitted with ample leather and wood trimming, with an abundance of options available to turn your 7 Series into a downright luxurious space. Standard features include BMW’s iDrive 6.0 infotainment system with a touchpad controller and Gesture Control, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon Surround Sound system, wireless charging, 14-way power heated front seats, 4-zone climate control, a panoramic moonroof, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. You can upgrade your 7 Series interior with a premium Bowers & Wilkins sound system, an LED light for the moonroof, and Apple CarPlay (although no Android Auto).
Other appealing options for the 7 Series can be selected via pre-bundled packages. An Executive package adds 20-way power front seats with cooling and massage functions, rear window shades, and a ceramic switchgear. The Luxury Rear Seating package comes with heated, ventilated, and massaging rear seats and a tablet for rear-seat passengers to adjust the rear climate control and seat functions. A Rear Executive Lounge Seating package adds a rear entertainment system and reclining rear seats with extendable footrests, while the Parking Assistance package gets you a 360-degree camera and a parking assistant feature. An Interior Design package lets buyers further personalize their car with extra wood trim and more color options for the leather and interior paint. Finally, 7 Series buyers in colder climates may opt for the Cold Weather package, which adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
An expensive car like the 7 Series likely won’t see serious crash testing, but BMW gets generally high marks on its other models so one can assume its flagship sedan would perform similarly well. To avoid an accident, the car can be ordered with a Driving Assistance package that includes forward-collision detection with automatic braking, blind-spot detection, and a head-up display. A Driving Assistance Plus package further adds adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping with side-collision avoidance, and the optional Night Vision system comes with pedestrian detection.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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