Used 1997 BMW 7 Series Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

BMW reintroduces the regular length 740i after the uproar caused over its cancellation for the 1996 model year. Like the rest of the 7 Series, the 740i has a standard equipment list that will leave the Sultan of Brunei drooling with desire.

Vehicle overview

The big news for big Bimmer fans this year is the reintroduction of the regular wheelbase 740i. It seems that there are enough fans of the "little" 7-Series to justify its continued existence in the US. We agree; the cozy 5-Series is a wonderful car, but we think that rear seat passengers will appreciate the room afforded by the larger 740i. With the second coming of the 740i, the 7-Series offers a variety of models to compete not only with the gargantuan Mercedes and Jaguars, but also with the merely large Lexus LS 400 and Infiniti Q45.

Those who can't live without the finer things in life, 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.

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 toward buyers who are merely wealthy instead of obscenely rich. This car has almost everything one could want, 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 1997 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.