What's New for 1998
BMW introduces Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). DSC is designed to automatically correct the yaw on all 7 Series cars, preventing plowing and fishtailing.
Last year, the big Bimmer was set to compete with all manner of luxury transport. The reintroduction of the "value leader" short wheelbase 740i allowed BMW to go after lower-priced models such as the Lexus LS400 and Infiniti Q45, as well as its usual target of the Jaguar XJ-6 Vanden Plas and Mercedes S-Class sedans. The strategy has worked well enough, BMW decided to keep the 740i in the lineup for the 1998 model year as well.
The news for this year is the addition of safety equipment to this luxurious autobahn cruiser. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is designed to prevent the 7-series sedans from slipping and sliding across the tarmac by controlling the car's yaw. If the system detects a steering wheel angle that is significantly different than the angle that the car is heading, one or more of the car's antilock brakes will engage, putting the car back on the proper course. This, of course, means 7-Series owners' will no longer be able to impress their kids by performing doughnuts in the parking garage of their law firm, but such is the price of safety.
The 7-Series sedans come in three flavors. Those who can't live without will want to check out the amazingly appointed 750iL. Want a stereo that sounds better than symphony hall? Check. Want an anti-theft security system that can put Fort Knox to shame? Check. Want a heated steering wheel? Check. Want 41 inches of rear legroom? Check. There aren't many features in the automotive marketplace missing on this car. Heck, they even addressed our only gripe by adding a steering wheel to the standard equipment list this ear. What's not to love?
Those on a budget, ha ha, should take a look at the 740i. Priced $33,000 less than its big brother, the 740i is geared towards buyers who are merely wealthy instead of obscenely rich. This car has almost everything one could desire, but there are a few items on the option sheet that buyers may want to check.
Nestled snugly between the 750iL and the 740i is the 740iL. The 740iL offers all of the space of the 750iL, but leaves enough money in the checking account to send your pride and joy to Stanford for a year.
The 7-Series long list of standard and optional features includes an integrated cellular phone, all-season traction control, xenon headlights and extra-thick window glass. Personal safety features include double locked doors, coded driveaway protection, two-step unlocking and the elimination of the passenger door locks--with a car this fine you have to be prepared for some unwanted attention.
It is always difficult to choose the "best" in a class of outstanding competitors, with entries from Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus and Infiniti; it seems flippant to say that one of these vehicles is totally superior to the others; but, we know which one we would buy if we won Lotto. BMW has a tradition of improving on excellence; the 1998 7-Series cars are no exception. If you have the money and need an impressive set of wheels, this is the car for you.