BMW 7 Series (2016-present)

The 7 Series is a tech-filled, highly luxurious large saloon that offers an engaging drive and strong performance

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Luxurious interior
Well-equipped
Powerful engines across range

Weaknesses 

Expensive to buy
Many desirable features are extras
High running costs
BMW 7 Series prices from £32,750  Finance from £457 per month

The BMW 7 Series sits in an upmarket part of the car market, where it is surrounded by large luxury saloon rivals that are all impressive, in their own way. And as the cost of entry is not insignificant, that’s perhaps how it should be, with the cars offering as much comfort and technology to the rear passengers – who are often the people paying the bills – as they do to the drivers.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is seen by many as the class leader, so the 7 Series, which was revised in mid-2019, has to be an impressive alternative – especially as the latest Audi A8 is also breathing down its neck.

The 7 Series makes for an imposing sight on the road, particularly the revised models with their very large interpretation of the BMW kidney grille, which was first seen on the super-sized BMW X7 SUV. The 7 Series has a long wheelbase – even longer in actual long-wheelbase variants, identified by an L in their name – and short overhangs, so despite its size and bulk, it does have that air of sportiness drivers expect from BMW saloons.

The interior is a lesson is how to create a luxurious cabin. Glossy wood and leather upholstery are in full effect, while there’s an impressive array of tech on display. A central display emerging from the dashboard offers the driver a range of media options, including sat-nav, all of which are controlled by the iDrive system, which is much improved in its current evolution, but still requires lots of scrolling through pages, if you’re looking for something that you haven’t previously assigned to one of the favourites buttons below the screen.

Passengers aren’t short of technical options, either, with an optional rear-seat entertainment system comprising two 10-inch HD displays that are connected to a Blu-ray player or can show live TV, where a receiver is fitted. A removable seven-inch tablet can also control functions such as seat adjustment, interior lighting and climate control, as well as the media (including playing external audio and video files), navigation and communication systems.

The rear-seat experience – which is crucial for cars in this class – is superb, particularly when adding the reclining Executive Lounge seating option, which turns the rear of the car into a Business Class-style experience.

The driving experience is as engaging as you'd expect from a model in BMW’s line-up. The adaptive driving modes help the car adjust to the road conditions and the driving style of the person behind the wheel. The Maserati Quattroporte might be more exciting to drive in some ways, but it’s hard to argue with the capabilities of the range-topping M760Li. It rides well, too – important when there are VIPs in the back who are expecting comfort – with the suspension soaking up most of what British roads can throw at it.

There’s some impressive engineering going on under the bonnet, with new engines introduced in the 2019 revisions. All are impressive in their own way, majoring in economy or performance (although all offer some degree of the latter), but a new plug-in hybrid unit is particularly interesting, with over 30 miles of electric-only range possible, low CO2 and on-paper fuel economy in three figures, meaning infrequent trips to the petrol station if you mostly drive around town and make sure to charge regularly. The Lexus LS can’t match it, so the closest rival is the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e.

The 7 also has a huge array of safety tech at its disposal – but some of the semi-autonomous features that are now common in many new cars, such as the latest Audi A8, are only available on the M760Li variant, which is disappointing.

The 7 Series is definitely worthy of consideration if you're in the market for a lavish large saloon, but the S-Class and A8 each have their strengths, too, so it’s hard to make a definitive case for any of them as an out-and-out class leader. The 7 is certainly rewarding to drive and relaxing to be driven in – both of which tick important boxes when considering a car in this class.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 18:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years/unlimited mileage
Height: 
1,467mm
Length: 
5,120mm
Width: 
1,902mm
Boot size: 
515-litres
Tax: 
First year rate - £0 to £2,135; £320 to £465 until year 6; £0-£145 thereafter

Best BMW 7 Series for... 

BMW 745e
Claimed economy of 108.6-134.5mpg is probably unattainable unless a vast majority of your driving is on short urban journeys and you recharge regularly, though this hybrid's still the economy champ.
BMW 730d
The base diesel version offers plenty of power, while at the same time returning decent official economy figures, for such a big car, of up to 44.1mpg.
BMW M760Li xDrive
The flagship model is a 6.6-litre, 12-cylinder beast with a supercar-challenging 0-62mph time of just 3.8 seconds, partly thanks to all-wheel drive traction.
BMW 750i xDrive
It may be very nearly as fast as the range-topping M760Li, but the 750i gets lost between far more affordable petrol and diesel alternatives and the more dramatic M760Li.

BMW 7 Series History 

  • June 2015 7 Series unveiled in Munich
  • October 2015 Goes on sale in the UK
  • July 2016 740e plug-in hybrid variant launched
  • February 2017 Flagship M760Li xDrive model added to range
  • May 2019 Revised 7 Series goes on sale, with new 745e plug-in hybrid

Understanding BMW 7 Series car names 

  • 7 Series
  • Engine
    740d xDrive
  • Trim
    M Sport
  • Wheelbase
    L
  • Engine
    Two diesel, three petrol and a plug-in hybrid are available to 7 Series buyers. The 740d features a 3.0-litre diesel engine. xDrive refers to all-wheel drive, where fitted.
  • Trim
    Most 7 Series come in a standard specification form, but it’s possible to upgrade to M Sport trim for a sportier feel, while the range-topping M760Li has its own specification.
  • Wheelbase
    Standard and stretched versions of the 7 Series are available. An 'L' alongside the engine badge distinguishes between standard and long-wheelbase versions, eg. 730d and 730Ld.

BMW 7 Series Engines 

Engines: 730d, 740d, 740i, 750i, 745e, M760Li

There’s a very full range of engines for what is a pretty niche car that won’t sell in huge numbers.

The 730d is the most popular option, as it offers very respectable fuel economy for such a big car. With up to 44.1mpg possible and emissions as low as 138g/km, this will be a popular choice for the likes of private hire firms doing airport runs. The 265hp, from a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, means plenty of power, too, with 0-62mph possible in under six seconds. It’s also available with xDrive four-wheel drive.

The 740d uses the same 3.0-litre diesel unit as the 730d, but is tuned to produce 320hp, which reduces the 0-62mph time to 5.3 seconds. That extra power comes at a cost, though: fuel consumption drops to a best of 41.5mpg, while CO2 emissions rise to 148g/km (149g/km with xDrive).

The base petrol variant is the 740i, powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, which pumps out 340hp, taking the 7 Series to 62mph from a standing start in 5.5 seconds. It lacks the low engine speed muscle of the diesels, which is why performance isn’t quite as strong, but there’s not a great deal in it. Of course, being a petrol engine, fuel economy isn’t as good, either, with 34.0mpg the best that’s likely to be achieved.

This engine is also used in the 745e plug-in hybrid version, supplemented by a 113hp electric motor to produce a total of 394hp. The electric-only range is up to 36 miles (34 miles in the long-wheelbase 745Le xDrive) and official CO2 emissions are 48g/km (52g/km for 745Le). At time of writing, the official fuel economy figures are only provisional, but 134.5mpg is apparently possible – although this would require a lot of electric-only urban use, we imagine. The 0-62mph time is an impressive 5.1 seconds, while it can hit a maximum speed of 68mph in electric-only mode. It's a very impressive car, almost silent when using its electric capability, but with lots of power on tap when called upon.

The 750i upgrades to a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, which ups the power significantly to 530hp, reducing the 0-62mph sprint to just 4.0 seconds, which is proper sports car territory, making it seriously quick for a car with a two-tonne kerb weight. You’ll need deep pockets to run it, however (especially if you test that 0-62mph time regularly), with 26.4mpg the best possible fuel economy figure, which is likely to be a lot lower in the real world. CO2 emissions of 217g/km mean it will also cost a pretty penny in first year car tax, too.

Topping the range is the M760Li, a rare beast with a 6.6-litre 12-cylinder monster under the bonnet, which produces 585hp and manages a supercar-challenging 3.8-second 0-62mph time. It's a truly rapid machine that will burn through fuel faster that the official best of 21.6mpg if it's driven hard on a regular basis. CO2 emissions of 282g/km will also keep the tax man happy (all 7 Series versions cost more than £40,000, so a £320 levy will be payable by owners from the second to sixth year), with a £2,135 first-year car tax bill.

 

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

740i

petrol

31.7-34.0mpg

340hp

5.5s

155mph

750i

petrol

25.7-26.4mpg

530hp

4.0s

155mph

M760Li

petrol

20.8-21.6mpg

585hp

3.8s

155mph

730d

diesel

39.2-44.1mpg

265hp

5.8-6.1s

155mph

740d

diesel

38.2-41.5mpg

320hp

5.3s

155mph

745e

petrol-electric hybrid

108.6-134.5mpg

394hp

5.1s

155mph

BMW 7 Series Trims 

Trims: 7 Series, M Sport, M760Li

As befits a luxury car, there is a lot of equipment as standard on the 7 Series – and a huge list of options.

In terms of trim levels, there are just three. The base trim is a trim with no name, in effect: models are just called 730d, 740i, etc, with no additional detail.

The 730d is the base model (there’s also a version with optional xDrive four-wheel drive), with equipment that includes 18-inch alloys, LED adaptive headlights, daytime running lights, metallic paint, automatic lights and wipers, soft-closing doors, Nappa leather seats, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, four-zone climate control, heat and sun-protection glazing, a rotary dial-controlled media system with connected and online services, DAB, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, wifi hotspot, emergency call and gesture control. Safety kit includes dynamic stability control (which includes ABS anti-lock brakes, brake assist, cornering brake control, dynamic traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution), cruise control and park distance control.

All the other models have the same base specification, apart from the 19-inch wheels being standard on the 750i xDrive.

M Sport models also have 19-inch wheels, high-gloss exterior trim (called Shadowline), interior wood trim, a bodykit, leather steering wheel and run-flat tyres.

The range-topping M760Li variant adds to the M Sport and comes with 20-inch wheels, exclusive exterior styling elements, rear spoiler, upgraded laserlights, full-length glass roof, merino leather interior upholstery, massage function for the front seats, augmented audio system, Alcantara headlining, head-up display, reclining rear seats and entertainment package, plus a remote control parking function.

BMW 7 Series Reliability and warranty 

The 7 Series is a somewhat niche model, operating at the exclusive luxury end of market, so it doesn’t appear in the most recent Auto Express Driver Power survey. BMW doesn’t do well in the list of best manufacturers, though, coming in 25th place out of 30.

BMW’s warranty covers the 7 Series for three years and unlimited miles in that period.

Used BMW 7 Series 

There is a healthy selection of used 7 Series cars on the market – most being 730d variants – with hefty discounts to those who are happy with pre-2019 facelift models.

For example, at time of writing, year-old 2018 cars with low mileages (4,000 to 7,000 miles) are on sale on BuyaCar for less than £38,000 (or around £500 a month) – which is more than £30,000 off the price when brand new.