The sixth generation of the venerable BMW 7 Series full-size luxury sedan debuted last fall as a 2016-MY. With a standard long wheelbase, carbon-fiber construction, and a host of new comfort and safety features, the new car has officially caught up to the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class at the top of the luxury sedan hierarchy — German or otherwise.
The succeeding model-year will mark the arrival of the 740e xDrive, an all-wheel plug-in hybrid, and the Alpina B7 xDrive, a six-figure supersled that is unlikely to generate many fleet registrations. Meanwhile, BMW already offers four variations of the 7 Series — each of which bears distinctive, elegant design language and more features than you can shake a finger at.
The 740i is a rear-wheel-drive, four-passenger sedan powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six that delivers 320 horsepower (hp), 330 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, and 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in highway driving. The all-wheel-drive 740i xDrive boasts the same output and, remarkably, only gives away one highway mpg to its single-axle stablemate.
The 750i and 750i xDrive are rear- and four-wheel-drive editions that boast a 4.4-liter turbo V8, 445 hp, and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. Highway mileage clocks in at 26 and 25 mpg, respectively.
The front captain’s chairs and armrests are heated and adjustable, and they can provide a back massage upon request. BMW’s Gesture Control system allows the driver to casually wave, point, or twirl a finger in the general direction of the 10.2-inch touchscreen to accept or decline calls and raise and lower the volume.
Chauffeured passengers may insist upon one of the available rear-seat luxury packages, which bring a list of features that includes a removable Samsung tablet for Wi-Fi hotspot and personalized audio and climate control, ample legroom with a built-in footrest, a fold-down writing desk, and, yes, a back and butt massage.
Finally, the 7 Series includes BMW’s much-admired “Display key,” which features a miniature touchscreen that allows the driver to activate the climate control, lock and unlock, and park the car; all from outside the vehicle, where drivers can admire the vehicle’s universally praised and decidedly artistic sheet metal.
Pricing for the BMW 7 Series starts at $81,300 for the base 740i and escalates quickly from there, but even the 445-hp, all-wheel drive 750i xDrive remains at a hair under $100,000.