Used 1999 BMW 7 Series Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

All 7 Series engines achieve low emission vehicle (LEV) status. Revised standard and optional equipment add to the cars' appeal.

Vehicle overview

The big news for this year is the addition of more standard luxuries to this sophisticated autobahn cruiser and, for those with a bent to environmentalism, the declaration that all 7-Series models are now Low Emission Vehicles.

The 7-Series sedans come in three flavors. Those who must have it all will want to check out the amazingly appointed V12 750iL. Want a stereo that sounds better than a symphony hall? Check. Want an anti-theft security system that can put Fort Knox to shame? Check. Want a heated steering wheel? Check. Want forty-one inches of rear legroom? Check. There weren't many features in the automotive marketplace missing on this car, yet they still managed to add a bunch of new standard equipment this year: Xenon headlights, full body-colored bumpers, five-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, infra-red reflecting windshield (which keeps the car's interior cool), new alloy wheels, car and key memory, "Brilliant Optics" dual glass-covered headlamp design, door-mounted puddle lights, full Nappa leather interior, clear lens rear light clusters, twin kidney grille with chrome, and the biggie, the popular On-board Navigation System. What's not to love (besides the price)?

Those on a budget (ha, ha), should take a look at the 740i. Thirty thousand dollars 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 out, particularly the brand new Sport Package. Springing for the package will buy you a five-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, 3.15 rear axle ratio and higher-stall speed torque converter, 18-inch alloy wheels, high performance tires and a sport suspension.

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 one year. Many of the styling changes mentioned above that are new to the 750iL can also be found on the 1999 740iL, such as the infra-red reflecting windshield, full body-color bumpers, "Brilliant Optics" headlamps and new grille design.

The 7-Series' long list of standard and optional features includes an integrated cellular phone, all-season traction control and extra-thick window glass. Personal safety features include double locked doors, coded drive-away protection, two-step unlocking and the elimination of the passenger door locks; with a car this fine, be prepared for some unwanted attention.

It is always difficult to choose the "best" in a class of outstanding competitors and, with super-luxury entries from Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus and Infiniti, it seems flippant to say that one of these vehicles is superior to the others. Still, we know which one we would buy if we won Lotto. BMW has a tradition of improving on excellence and the 1999 7-Series cars are 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.