BMW's flagship sedan underwent a major redesign last year, so the 2017 BMW 7 Series continues on the evolutionary path that was set when that sixth-generation version was introduced in 2016. That means a heavy emphasis on comfort, luxury and the latest technology, combined with the performance and handling that have always been hallmarks of the brand.
One of the biggest changes for the new model year is the addition of the plug-in hybrid 740e to the lineup. In addition, BMW's Display Key, with its smartphone-like touchscreen, is now standard on all 7 Series trim levels, the base 740i is available with all-wheel drive, M Sport brakes have become a standalone option, and automatic parking is available on a number of models.
The classically understated interior of the 7 Series provides drivers and passengers with enough convenience and technology features to keep them entertained on a cross-country drive, as well as enough comfort to make the trip a pleasure for the senses. The BMW iDrive 5.0 system allows touchscreen or gesture control of such functions as climate control, navigation and audio, while elegant touches like wood veneer, leather seating and high-quality metal trim ensure the kind of luxury buyers demand in this class of sedan.
On the road, the 7 Series models are competent handlers, thanks to electronically controlled air suspension and 50-50 weight distribution. Selectable driving modes (Eco Pro, Adaptive, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus) modulate the dampers, throttle, steering response and transmission shift points to provide a customizable driving experience.
The standard powerplant for the base 740i is a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine rated at 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Move up to the 750i trim level and you get a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that produces 445 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Both models come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and are also available in BMW xDrive versions with all-wheel drive.
A new powertrain for 2017 is at the center of the 740e plug-in hybrid. It combines a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 322 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
Fuel economy for the base rear-wheel-drive BMW 740i is EPA rated at a combined 24 mpg (21 mpg city/29 mpg highway). Choosing the V8-powered 750i reduces the ratings to a combined 20 mpg (17 city/26 highway), and ticking the all-wheel-drive box further lowers fuel economy by a couple of miles per gallon. Shoppers interested in maximum mpg might want to explore the new 740e plug-in hybrid.
The base 740i comes extremely well equipped, although buyers can select from a wide range of packages and optional accessories to personalize their new BMW to their liking. Adding xDrive all-wheel drive increases versatility in low-traction conditions, and stepping up to the 750i both ups the performance level and nets more standard features. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you select the 2017 BMW 7 Series model that best meets your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.