- Upscale interior
- More comfortable ride
- Display key
- Generic BMW styling
- Redundant infotainment system controls
- Touch-sensitive black plastic switchgear
BMW 7-Series Expert Review
New for 2017
BMW's innovative Display Key, a remote control key with an iPhone-like touchscreen on which can be displayed information such as fuel level, estimated range, service details, and whether the car is locked, is now standard. M Sport brakes are now a standalone option, and remote-controlled parking is available for 740i, 740i xDrive, 750i, and 750i xDrive.
The 7 Series is BMW's flagship sedan, designed to compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With this generation of 7 Series, BMW has switched its focus away from sporty handling and toward more comfort, luxury and technology.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series range comprises five models. The entry-level model is the 740i, which is powered by a 320-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The 740i xDrive is the all-wheel-drive version. The 750i is powered by the 445-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, and there is also an all-wheel-drive variant, the 750i xDrive. The 740e xDrive iPerformance is positioned in the middle of the range. It is a plug-in hybrid model with a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder internal combustion engine under the hood and a 111-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission, giving a total system output of 322 horsepower.
BMW claims the 740e xDrive iPerformance delivers the same 5.1-second 0-60 mph acceleration time as the 740i xDrive, but 15 percent better fuel efficiency, delivering 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The car will operate in full electric mode up to 50 mph under light or medium acceleration, or up to 87 mph in maximum electric drive mode. Maximum driving range under electric power is 29 miles, and the 9.2-kW-hr lithium-ion battery takes 2.7 hours to recharge. Quickest of the 7 Series models is the 750i xDrive, which accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The 750i xDrive returns an EPA-rated 16/25 mpg city/highway.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series is lavishly equipped, with its iDrive 5.0 infotainment interface now featuring gesture control for audio and phone functions, as well as touchscreen control with pinch and zoom functions. The 7 Series is also available with a large number of options, including rear wheel steering, an executive rear seating package that includes a removable tablet in the center armrest, an etched glass sunroof with six different LED ambient light settings, remote control parking capability, and BMW M Sport wheels, tires, and brakes.
The 2017 BMW 7 Series has not been rated by NHTSA or the IIHS. However, the car features the full suite of active and passive safety features and driver aids, including forward collision warning and lane departure warning.
What We Think
In a bid to take on the segment-leading Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW has subtly shifted the focus of the 7 Series away from being the Ultimate Driving Machine, and more toward luxury and opulent technology, and the result is mixed. "BMW takes aim at Mercedes S-Class. And misses," we noted in our First Test review of the 2016 BMW 750i xDrive. "It's not as enjoyable to drive as you'd expect, and not as comfortable as BMW wants it to be."
The core technology of the 7 Series is impressive. The body structure uses a mixture of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber to cut weight and improve fuel efficiency. The chassis and powertrain computers are linked to the GPS system in the satellite navigation, and can automatically adjust the suspension, steering, engine, and transmission responses to react to upcoming corners or hills.
But some of the surface technology in the cabin borders on technology simply for the sake of technology. Many of the gesture control functions are redundant and more quickly executed via conventional buttons. And there is a bewildering number of ways in which the car can be set up to be driven, though few owners are likely to go to the trouble.
BMW has clearly spent a lot of time and money making the 7 Series' interior look and feel more upscale. The materials selection and color choices are the most luxurious yet from BMW. But the exterior styling is disappointingly conservative, to the point where few non-enthusiasts will notice this car is an all-new 7 Series.
The side vent behind the front wheel is not for decoration, but to allow high-pressure air to escape from under the front fender and help reduce aerodynamic drag.