7 Series

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2021 BMW 7 Series Overview

Changes abound for the 7 Series in 2021, although it’d be easy to miss most of them. Features like Drive Recorder, remote engine start, and heated armrests all become standard, while night vision, the laserlight headlights, and the CD player have all been removed. Additionally, a long list of wood trim, leather, and exterior paint options have also been canceled, so make sure your favorites are still available before you sign the forms.

2020 saw a multitude of changes and updates to the 7 Series, a model that’s now 7 years into its sixth generation. With BMW steering hard toward an electric future, we can expect to see the flagship sedan roll slowly toward the sunset, patiently awaiting its seventh generation debut in a year or two. Besides, everyone is focused on the new i7, coming as soon as later this year.

But then, the 7 Series has long been a fan of electrification, as the first hybrid version debuted way back in 2010. Today, you can still get your 7 Series in hybrid form with the 745e, but it’s always been the massive V8 and V12 engines that have defined the flagship. Want something a little more tame? Well, the 7 Series starts with the 740i, powered by the same ubiquitous turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-6 that can be found powering BMWs of every sort and station. With 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, you should have plenty of power to push you around, and with an 8-speed automatic, efficiency isn’t anything to sneeze at either, with 22 mpg city and 29 highway. But don’t worry, there are definitely still options out there for those with the need for speed. A 750i will add a couple more pistons to deliver 523 hp and 553 lb-ft via a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, and still manage to return a respectable 17 mpg city, 25 highway at the pump. But if you really want to help keep oil a profitable commodity, the M760i boasts a stonking 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 that’ll deliver 601 hp and 627 lb-ft on command, while returning 13 mpg city and 20 highway for the effort.

Those are some frightening numbers, and for those who’d prefer a little electric assist in their driver, the 745e starts with a detuned version of the turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-6 and adds an electric motor with the equivalent of 111 hp for a combined total of nearly 400 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, meaning 60 mph will come in just under 5 seconds. This comes on the heels of big changes for the 745e that happened in 2020, notably a jump from a 4- to a 6-cylinder gasoline engine, and a major increase in battery size. Now you can expect between 15 and 20 miles of all-electric range at speeds up to 87 mph, and an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 56 MPGe. To be fair, real-world testing hasn’t been able to recreate anything close to those numbers.

As for tech and features, the 7 Series does anything but disappoint. Standard features include luxury standouts like an adaptive air suspension, power trunklid and doors, a panoramic sunroof, and all the latest safety tech like parking sensors front and rear, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and low-speed auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo handles audio duties, while a 10.25-inch display offers navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 740i starts in a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration but can be had with BMW’s xDrive, their branded all-wheel-drive (AWD) platform. All other 7 Series trims come exclusively with xDrive.

And there’s good reason for that. The kind of power the 750i can put down is best handled by splitting the responsibility between all four wheels. But it’s not just more power you get by moving up to the 750i, as things generally improve in lots of little ways, like upgraded leather and interior trim and a head-up display. If nothing but the biggest and best will do, the M760i will not only get you that glorious V12, but a whole lot of extra luxury, like heat and ventilation for every seat, slide and recline on the rears, and massage on the fronts.

Regardless of the version you choose, you'll be rewarded with one of the most refined rides on the road right now, with the option to add your own distinct flavor, whether you prefer the effortless power of a V12, or the high-tech stab of a hybrid.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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