New Car Review

2015 BMW 7 Series: New Car Review

RELATED READING
See all BMW 740Ld xDrive articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

When the 2015 BMW 7 Series was brand new back in 2009, it was hard to imagine that this majestic sedan would ever need improvement. But time waits for no car, so BMW has been steadily tweaking the so-called 7er ever since. This year, the big news is the new 740Ld xDrive model, which boasts a turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder engine capable of an estimated 31 miles per gallon on the highway. If you want the torque of a V8 with the fuel economy of a family sedan, the 740Ld definitely hits the spot.

This is the part where we're supposed to mention our criticisms, but the 7 Series makes that task exceedingly difficult, especially with all the recent changes. Our only real complaint is completely subjective: BMW's big cruiser hasn't looked quite right since the E38 generation that debuted two decades ago. Otherwise, pretty much everything about this car is first rate. BMW easily could have stood pat over the past few years, but instead it's kept the 7 Series in conversations about the best sedan in the world.

What's New for 2015?

The latest model year debuts the diesel-powered 740Ld xDrive and adds a few standard features (including LED headlights and extended leather trim) to the 750 models.

What We Like

Excellent engines; choice of two wheelbase lengths; sumptuous interior with tons of features; capable handling; fuel-efficient 740Ld diesel model

What We Don't

Bland styling; mediocre fuel economy (except the 740Ld)

How Much?

$74,950-$143,850

Fuel Economy

The entry-level 740i is powered by the turbocharged N55 inline 6-cylinder, rated at 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque in this application. Fuel economy is 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg hwy with rear-wheel drive (both regular- and long-wheelbase versions) and 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy in the all-wheel-drive, long-wheelbase 740Li xDrive.

The 740Ld xDrive comes only with all-wheel drive and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder rated at 255 hp and 413 lb-ft. Fuel economy is an impressive 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.

The ActiveHybrid 7 combines a turbo inline 6-cylinder with an AC electric motor for a total of 350 hp. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.

The 750i's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 pumps out 445 hp and 480 lb-ft. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy for the 750i, 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy for the 750Li and 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy for both the 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive.

If you want even more speed, all 750i models are also offered in juiced-up Alpina B7 form (540 hp, 538 lb-ft). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy estimates are unchanged from the regular 750i equivalents, except for the short-wheelbase, rear-wheel-drive B7, which is rated at 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

The range-topping 760Li's twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 churns out a monumental 535 hp and 550 lb-ft. Fuel economy is 13 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 BMW 7 Series sedan is offered in five basic trim levels distinguished mainly by engine type: 740i, 740Ld, ActiveHybrid 7, 750i and 760Li. The 740i and 750i are short wheelbase by default but offer an optional long wheelbase (740Li and 750Li) that adds a few grand to the bottom line; the 740Ld, 760Li and ActiveHybrid 7 are long wheelbase only. Note that the long-wheelbase models ride on a self-leveling air suspension.

The 740i ($74,950) comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlamps, fog lights, electronically adjustable suspension and performance settings, front and rear parking sensors, a sunroof, leather upholstery, power front seats with lumbar support and memory functions, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, quadruple-zone automatic climate control, iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a 12-speaker audio system (including dual subwoofers) and the hard-drive-based iDrive infotainment system with navigation, digital music storage and a 10.2-in widescreen display with a rearview camera.

The 740Ld ($83,450) is similarly equipped but features the turbodiesel engine.

The ActiveHybrid 7 ($85,250) tacks an electric propulsion system onto the 740i's inline 6-cylinder and includes hybrid-specific information displays, among other eco-themed tweaks.

The 750i ($88,250) adds a twin-turbocharged V8, LED headlights, 19-in wheels and niceties such as power automatic soft-closing doors, a head-up display, a hands-free power trunk lid, 20-way Multi-contour heated front seats, Nappa leather upholstery and a leather-trimmed dashboard.

The 760Li ($143,850) goes to town with such indulgences as a twin-turbo V12, rear bucket seats with power adjustments, a Harman Kardon audio system and side- and top-view cameras.

Many of the higher trims' standard features are available as options on lesser models. Among the choice extras are an M Sport appearance package, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and a radar-based self-parking system. The Rear Entertainment package boasts twin 9.2-in screens that "appear to be 'floating' on" the front headrests, according to BMW.

The very rare, high-performance Alpina B7 model ($129,250) boasts a stronger version of the 750i's twin-turbo V8, 21-in wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and various Alpina-specific styling cues.

Safety

The 7 Series comes with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, active head restraints and eight airbags (front, front-knee, front-side and full-length side-curtain).

A standout among the numerous standard and optional safety technologies is Attention Assistant, a Mercedes-inspired program that monitors your driving habits and notifies you with a cup-of-coffee icon when your attention wanders.

Neither the government nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 7 Series.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we noted that even the bone-stock 740i has a mind-blowing roster of luxuries. You could drive one for the rest of your life and never want for more. Well, we take that back. You'll absolutely want the sublimely supportive Multi-contour front seats, which are a bargain at whatever BMW is charging (and come standard on 750i and above).

The gauges use BMW's classic white-on-black theme, changing to orange-on-black at night, but they're complemented by an electronic display that adopts a unique aesthetic theme to complement the selected driving mode. The quality of the interior materials is outstanding, and the tastefully understated dashboard design incorporates a subtly driverward-canted center stack in a nod to BMW tradition. The iDrive system includes a beautiful 10.2-in widescreen display and incredible feature depth.

The standard 7 Series back seat is roomy enough for all but chauffeur-driven shoppers, who might plausibly want more legroom while they're kicking back with their iPads, and extended-wheelbase Li models certainly satisfy that desire. The regular 7 Series' trunk officially measures a modest 14 cu ft., but the Germans seem to have a funny way of translating their trunk sizes to our measurements, because this trunk is huge. The ActiveHybrid 7's trunk only loses about 1 cu ft. of space to the hybrid hardware, checking in at just under 13 cu ft.

Under the hood, the 740i's acceleration is swift and seamless enough to satisfy most tastes, while the 740Ld's turbodiesel engine packs a formidable low-end punch. Still, we wouldn't be able to resist the siren call of the 750i's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. This is one of our favorite engines, doling out force and refinement in equally awesome doses. The Alpina B7 offers even more power, of course, but we can't imagine feeling dissatisfied with the 750i's output. As for the 760Li's twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, it crushes most others with its 535-hp output, but it's only offered in long-wheelbase form, which is a bummer. The only real disappointment, though, is the ActiveHybrid 7, which delivers about the same acceleration as the 740i and doesn't impress on the fuel economy front, either.

On the road, you'll be getting one of the world's supreme fast-lane cruisers in the 2015 7 Series. BMW engineered this car to do 155 miles per hour on the German Autobahn with maximum composure. We can't go that fast in this country, of course, but nevertheless, the 7 Series has few peers at high speed. We do prefer the invincible Mercedes-Benz S-Class on rough roads, but the BMW's underpinnings are nonetheless highly skilled at soaking up bumps.

On winding pavement, the 7 Series' BMW DNA remains detectable. Turn-in is crisp and body roll well-disciplined through corners; however, the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Porsche Panamera could give the 7 Series a run for its money.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Audi A8/S8 -- The executive-class Audi may have cookie-cutter styling, but try the twin-turbocharged S8 for acceleration that rivals the best from BMW.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- The new S-Class is once again the car to beat in this class. It's not as involving to drive as the 7, however.

2015 Jaguar XJ -- The XJ doesn't have the consistent excellence of the German models across the board, but it compensates with loads of British driving character and easily the most expressive styling of the lot.

Used Aston Martin Rapide -- If you're looking for a used car that's out of the ordinary, the ravishing 4-door Rapide delivers with its V12 engine and inimitable British style.

AutoTrader's Advice

The 750i is an immensely satisfying car at a price that's pretty reasonable for this segment.

Find a BMW 7 Series for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 BMW 7 Series: New Car Review - Autotrader