Used 1996 BMW 7 Series Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

BMW's flagship gets stretched; the only 7 Series models available for 1996 are long-wheelbase models. The 740iL receives a larger V8 that substantially increases torque. BMW's killer 440-watt sound system is now standard on the 750iL and optional on the 740iL. A sophisticated interior-motion theft-deterrent system is now available.

Vehicle overview

The big Bimmer is barely into its second year of production, and the geniuses at BMW are already finding ways to increase passenger comfort. The regular wheelbase model has been dropped altogether, and interior comfort has been upped from last year's already impressive cornucopia of features. The 7-Series successfully competes with the Mercedes S-Class, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 400 and Infiniti Q45; offering an amazing degree of performance and opulence in the luxury-car segment.

The 750iL enters 1996 with few changes. Like last year, the only option is metallic paint because these cars come with everything. 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. The 750iL has achieved levels of comfort and refinement that even the Sultan of Brunei would appreciate.

Those on a budget, ha ha, should take a look at the 740iL. At $30,000 less than its big brother, the 740iL is geared towards buyers who are merely wealthy instead of obscenely rich. For 1996, the 740iL receives an increased displacement V8 that BMW claims will launch this 4200-pound vehicle to 60 mph in around seven seconds; thus, making it nearly as fast as a non-turbo Nissan 300ZX.

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.

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 1996 7-Series is no exception. If you have the money and need an impressive set of wheels, this is the car for you.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.