New for 2015
The 2015 BMW 7 Series adds a diesel-powered model, the 740Ld xDrive, makes LED headlights standard equipment on 750 models, and lowers the price of the night vision by $300.
The BMW 7 Series is a flagship luxury sedan that combines luxury and exclusivity with a controlled and sporting nature that hides the mass of the full-size sedan. The 7 Series fits above the 5 Series as the most luxurious BMW sedan.
The 2015 BMW 7 Series is an executive full-size luxury sedan that pairs a number of available powerplants with an eight-speed automatic, and offers the xDrive all-wheel-drive system with several combinations. The 740 and 750 are available in standard (SWB) or long-wheelbase (LWB) models, which stretches the body by 5.5 inches and adds almost 6 inches of legroom in the rear seats. The ActiveHybrid 7, V-12, and diesel I-6 are only available in the LWB variants.
Model: 740i, 740Li, 740Li xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 – eight-speed auto
Power: 315 hp/330 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 19/29 mpg (740i, 740Li) – 19/28 mpg (740Li xDrive)
Model: 740Ld xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Turbodiesel 3.0-liter I-6 – eight-speed auto
Power: 255 hp/413 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 23/31 mpg
Model: 750i, 750i xDrive, 750Li, 750Li xDrive
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 – eight-speed auto
Power: 445 hp/480 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 17/25 mpg (750i) – 15/24 mpg (750i xDrive) – 16/25 mpg (750Li) – 16/24 mpg (750Li xDrive)
Model: ActiveHybrid 7
Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6/electric motor – eight-speed auto
Power: 335 hp (combined)
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 22/30 mpg (auto)
Engine and Transmission: Twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 – eight-speed auto
Power: 535 hp/550 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 13/20 mpg
Model: Alpina B7, B7 xDrive, B7 LWB, B7 LWB xDrive
Engine and Transmission: twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 – eight-speed auto
Power: 540 hp/538 lb-ft
EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 16/25 mpg (B7, B7 LWB) – 16/24 mpg (B7 xDrive, B7 LWB xDrive)
The 7 Series offers the type of technology and upscale features you’d expect of a full-size luxury sedan. Some include adaptive LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, an engine stop/start system on some models, four-zone climate control, the Driving Dynamics Control system (Comfort, Comfort +, Sport, or Sport + settings), as well as an Eco Pro mode that can make fuel-saving engine management changes and can decouple the powertrain when coasting. Depending on how much you’re willing to pay for your 7 Series, other available features include blind spot detection (steering wheel will vibrate to warn driver), night vision (can detect animals and pedestrians at up-to 900 feet), active cruise control, full-color head-up display, and a front collision warning system.
The 2015 BMW 7 Series hasn’t been crash tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA.
What We Think
The 2015 BMW 7 Series comes with a wide range of available powerplants, but we think the twin-turbo I-6 is the best balance. BMW has long been good at tuning the silky-smooth I-6 engine, and the 740 is a good example, as it exhibits almost no noticeable lag, and makes more power than the base V-8 from years past. In an Editor’s Notebook review of a 2012 BMW 740i, we pointed out that “BMW doesn’t sell any underpowered cars in the United States, and that goes for the 740i as well. You could tell the average driver that the 740i has a V-8 and they’d believe you — especially if they had their ears plugged and felt the surge of acceleration from the car’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight six.”
The twin-turbo V-8 in the 750 models is impressive, but we found it hard to live with as a stiff throttle made pulling away from a stop difficult. We often struggled between awkward wheelspin and taking off like we were racing the guy next to us in our Four Seasons 2009 BMW 750Li. Should you want more power, and still want some semblance of fuel economy, the ActiveHybrid pairs the excellent I-6 with an electric motor (compared to the V-8 it’s more hybrid and less sport, though), while the 740Ld xDrive starts at thousands lower than the ActiveHybrid and beats its fuel economy ratings with all four wheels powered.
The Alpina B7 is the M7 that BMW never made, and takes the V-8 to a different level. In an Editor’s Notebook review of a 2013 BMW Alpina B7 we said, “A body kit and gigantic wheels don’t sound like what a six-figure 7 Series needs, but somehow, the styling tweaks work — I’ve never caught so many stares in a BMW sedan before … the ride quality is also excellent, if also quintessentially German. Rather than completely isolate the driver with a waterbed suspension, the B7 lets you feel the road but filters out any harshness. The steering oozes the same character — some will find it a bit heavy. The understated interior is standard fare for a 7 Series. Unlike some ultra-luxury sedans, it doesn’t whack you over the head with its over-the-top gadgets and materials, even though it has plenty of both.”
The one problem with the B7, as we noted with the 750 models, is the on/off nature of the power. When the B7 comes on boost the thrust feels limitless, but before then it seems a bit sluggish because of the turbo lag. However, if exclusivity is the goal, an Alpina B7 is hard to beat, being the third Alpina product officially sold in the U.S. (the first was based on BMW’s Z8 roadster, the second was the 2007-2008 7-Series), and only the second in the current BMW portfolio currently (the 6 Series based Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe is the other).
- Just as good driving as it is riding in the back
- Balance of I-6 powered models
- Sporty and luxurious
You Won’t Like
- Turbo lag of V-8 models
- Technology can be overwhelming
- Mercedes Benz S-Class
- Audi A8
- Jaguar XJ
- Cadillac XTS
- Infiniti Q70L
- Lexus LS
- Kia K900