The Mercedes Benz S-Class is unquestionably an automotive institution in its own right, and the Audi A8 has a full redesign on the way, but buyers in this segment owe it to themselves to check out the BMW 7 Series. In our time with the latest 7 Series, it has impressed us with its quiet and comfortable cabin, high-quality materials, potent acceleration (yes, even the plug-in hybrid model), excellent driving dynamics, extensive technology options, and, of course, a spacious rear seat.
With the plug-in hybrid 740e xDrive iPerformance and the turbocharged V12-powered M760i xDrive both on sale this year, the 7 Series has a fully fleshed-out line of powertrains. The more mainstream turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder models are still compelling choices, and both are available with AWD.
The base 7 Series comes with a lot of great content, but many of the most appealing options are bundled into pricey packages that can quickly drive up the cost of the car. A few choices are a bit confounding, such as making Apple CarPlay integration a $300 extra. This isn't anything new for BMW, so don't expect it to change anytime soon.
trim levels & features
The 2018 BMW 7 Series is available with four different engines, all of which make use of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on your engine choice, all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive come standard. All-wheel drive is also optional on trims that come standard with rear-wheel drive.
When the 7 Series was redesigned in 2016, the standard wheelbase option was removed, so all 7 Series are now long wheelbase. That means extra rear legroom is standard. Thanks to standard leather upholstery and wood trim, even the base 7 Series is a luxurious people mover.
The base 740i Sedan comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated to produce 320 hp. Stepping up to the 750i adds a handful of additional standard features and upgrades the engine to a 445-hp turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. Both can be had with either AWD or RWD.
The 740e xDrive iPerformance plug-in hybrid uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor to produce a combined 322 horsepower. At the top of the 7 Series range is the flagship M760i xDrive, which is powered by a massive 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 that produces 601 hp. Both the plug-in hybrid and the V12 are only available with AWD.
Standard equipment on the 740i Sedan includes adaptive air suspension with driver-selectable modes, 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, automatic windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a power trunklid, and power-closing doors. The 740i comes with other luxuries such as 14-way power-adjustable leather seats with heating, wood trim, four-zone climate control, a panoramic moonroof and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Standard technology features include a 10.2-inch infotainment screen with navigation and BMW's iDrive, a touchpad controller with gesture control, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a wireless Qi charging station, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a number of Internet-connected features that work online or with special BMW apps.
Several packages are available for the 7 Series. The Autobahn package adds variable-ratio steering and a system that anticipates road conditions and adjusts the car's dampers. The Cold Weather package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. A Parking Assistance package is available with a 360-degree camera view and active parking assistant.
The Driving Assistance Package includes a head-up display and a number of active safety features such as blind-spot information and forward collision detection with automatic braking. Upgrading to the Driving Assistance Plus package adds those features as well as some semi-autonomous technology including adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping with collision avoidance.
There are also packages that add even more luxury for both the front seats and rear passengers. The Executive package adds 20-way power-adjustable front seats with cooling and massage, as well as rear window shades and ceramic controls dials. The Luxury Rear Seating package adds heated, ventilated and massaging rear seats as well as and a 7-inch tablet to control seat and climate functions that can be removed from a dock in the center armrest. For true rear-seat luxury, the Rear Executive Lounge Seating package adds a rear-seat entertainment system and reclining rear seats with extendable footrests. This package does limit the luxury options available for those in the front of the car.
Additional paint and leather colors, as well as extra trim options and extended leather and wood coverage, can be had with either the Interior Design package or the more extensive BMW Individual Composition package. Finally, the M Sport package adds a sport exhaust, unique wheels, and exterior and interior design elements.
There are also a number of stand-alone options including an upgraded sound system, upgraded brakes, night vision, remote control parking, LED lighting for the moonroof, and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The 740e iPerformance has the same standard options as the 740i, although it comes with unique interior accents. Upgrading to the 750i gives you the bigger engine, as well as a few extra standard luxuries, like the 20-way power-adjustable seats. The M760i xDrive, meanwhile, gets both added luxuries and sports-oriented features, as well as unique colors and design elements, while losing access to some comfort-oriented options.
ease of use
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.