2017 BMW 7 Series Review
Pros & Cons
- Well-mannered engines provide relentless acceleration
- Plug-in hybrid variant available soon
- Standard long wheelbase means more rear passenger space
- Standard adaptive air suspension enhances both comfort and control
- Lack of regular-wheelbase option may be a drawback for some
Edmunds' Expert Review
Following last year's full redesign, the big news for the 2017 BMW 7 Series is the expected arrival of a new plug-in hybrid variant. Dubbed the 740e xDrive, this all-wheel-drive technology showcase will derive around 320 combined horsepower from its gas-electric power system, along with an all-electric driving range of over 20 miles. If you like the idea of owning a Tesla Model S but prefer to skip the range anxiety, this new 7 Series might be a viable alternative.
A stretched wheelbase comes standard on the 2017 BMW 7 Series, but the sleek styling does an admirable job of hiding it.
Of course, the specialized 740e and top-model M760i will only account for a small fraction of 7 Series sales. The main attractions continue to be the six-cylinder 740i and eight-cylinder 750i models, with both now providing optional AWD (the 740i came only with rear-wheel drive last year). Every current 7 Series has a long-wheelbase body style that boasts nearly 2 more inches between the wheels than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, breaking with the longstanding BMW tradition of offering both standard and long wheelbases. Other 7 Series highlights include a standard adaptive air suspension with an available camera-based predictive program (Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview) that monitors road conditions in real time, changing the damper profiles in milliseconds to ensure the ride remains as smooth as possible.
The primary rival in this rarefied segment is the dignified S-Class, which has hit its stride for the current generation with a veritable smorgasbord of powertrains and options. If you want to enjoy the drive to the fullest, the redesigned Porsche Panamera remains the top athlete of this group. For those who want to ride in unique style, the Jaguar XJ is an unusual but worthy choice, while the Audi A8 still merits consideration ahead of next year's redesign. But if you're looking for a technological tour de force with performance to match, the 2017 BMW 7 Series merits strong consideration.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and active front head restraints. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency response button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle recovery. The available surround-view camera system includes a wide panoramic view, a top view and a 3D view that features a computer-generated landscape of the car and its surroundings.
A number of additional safety technologies are available via the two abovementioned Driver Assistance Plus packages. A night-vision camera system is a stand-alone option.
2017 BMW 7 Series models
The 2017 BMW 7 Series is a full-size luxury sedan. It comes in a single long-wheelbase body style.
The base 740i comes standard with 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, automatic windshield wipers, LED foglights, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming, power-folding heated side mirrors, an adaptive air suspension, adjustable drive and suspension settings, front and rear parking sensors, power-closing doors, keyless entry and ignition (including a touchscreen-equipped Display Key and a hands-free power trunk lid), a power-adjustable steering wheel, wood trim, four-zone climate control, leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
BMW reserves its finest materials for the 7 Series, including loads of high-end wood and leather trim.
Standard tech-oriented features include a digital gauge cluster display, the iDrive infotainment system with a touchpad-enhanced controller, a 10.2-inch central display, a rearview camera, a number of features from the BMW ConnectedDrive portfolio (BMW Online with MyInfo and BMW Apps), Gesture Control, onboard Internet with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless phone charging and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and dual USB ports.
Options include the Autobahn package (variable-ratio steering and the camera-based Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview system that anticipates changing road conditions and adjusts the dampers accordingly) and the Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats). There's also a pair of safety packages, starting with the Driver Assistance Plus package (lane departure warning, speed limit info, automated parking, blind-spot monitoring, frontal collision mitigation with automatic braking and a surround-view camera with driver-selectable camera views) and graduating to the Driver Assistance Plus II package (adaptive cruise control, lane departure prevention and Traffic Jam Assistant).
The Executive package adds a head-up display, power rear sunshades, ceramic-trimmed controls and multicontour front seats with additional power adjustments. The Luxury Seating package adds heated armrests and ventilated massaging rear seats that slide and recline. The M Sport package introduces a number of sport-themed aesthetic upgrades, including an aerodynamic body kit and special wheels and trim.
Stand-alone options include some of the above items plus 20-inch wheels, summer tires, a cabin perfume diffuser, a wood and leather steering wheel, a large dual-pane sunroof with LED accents in a handful of selectable colors, a night-vision camera system and a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio system.
The 750i includes a few additional standard luxuries relative to the 740i, while the 740e will have its own roster of hybrid-oriented features. The M760i offers all that, but with a twin-turbo V12 engine and standard all-wheel drive.
The 2017 BMW 740i is motivated by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine rated at 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The 2017 740e xDrive pairs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor backed by a lithium-ion battery, with an expected total output of around 325 hp, while the 750i upgrades to a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine (445 hp, 480 lb-ft). At the top, the M760i is equipped with a monstrous turbocharged 6.6-liter V12 (601 hp, 590 lb-ft).
Rear-wheel drive is standard on the 740i and 750i, with xDrive all-wheel drive optional there and standard on the 740e and M760i. Every 7 Series employs an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In Edmunds track testing, a 750i launched from zero to 60 mph in a suitably swift 4.5 seconds. BMW estimates the M760i will reach 60 mph in a breathtaking 3.7 seconds
The base inline-6 should satisfy most shoppers with its seamless turbocharged thrust and laudable refinement, but the V8 takes things to another level. In our instrumented testing, a 750i xDrive launched from zero to 60 mph in a swift 4.5 seconds. Either way, the eight-speed automatic is one of the best in the industry, delivering buttery shifts right on time.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series has an athletic stance that hints at a sporting character, and that's what the optional predictive suspension provides.
Out in the wild, the 2017 BMW 7 Series is a more capable handler than its size suggests, if not a full-fledged performance car like the Panamera. The Autobahn package's predictive suspension helps produce an impressively flat cornering attitude, yet the ride is very supple on virtually all surfaces. There are five selectable drive settings in the 7 Series — Eco Pro, Adaptive, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — but if it were our car, we'd just leave it in Sport, which strikes a winning balance by gracefully soaking up bumps while keeping body motions disciplined. Road and wind noise are held to a minimum, allowing passengers full enjoyment of their various entertainment options.
The top-dog M760i maintains the high levels of 7 Series luxury and comfort while also adding ridiculous amounts of performance. While it's not an "M" car in the traditional sense, it corners with unflappable tenacity, and the power from the V12 is giggle-inducing. We recognize that it's far beyond the expectations of any reasonable 7 Series driver, but we love it just the same.
While the previous 7 Series' cabin design was rather conservative, the new-generation model goes all-in on the latest technology. A standard LED "light carpet" illuminates your entry as you approach the car, while you're greeted upon entry by ambient LED lighting and the latest version of iDrive, which notably adds touchscreen functionality and the Gesture Control system. The latter strikes us as more of a gimmick than anything else, but you'll certainly impress your passengers when you turn up the volume by moving your fingers through the air.
The optional Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system promises concert-quality sound on the go.
The 7 Series' standard long wheelbase affords truly copious rear legroom and is complemented by an unprecedented array of rear-seat luxuries, including the optional and very cool tablet-based infotainment system that'll have you feeling as if you're in a sci-fi movie. Bespoke touches like wood-trimmed seat belts suggest that a page has been taken from Porsche's highly successful ultra-luxury playbook. Of course, it's not a bad thing to be up front, either, what with the sublime available multicontour seats and nifty heated armrests. No matter where you are in the 2017 7 Series' cabin, it's a privileged place to be.
The 7's trunk is suitably grand, measuring 18.2 cubic feet. Additionally, a standard cargo pass-through allows longer items to poke into the rear seat via an opening in the rear seatback measuring 8 inches wide and 9.5 inches high.