You'll Like The 2008 BMW 7 Series If...
If you like a car with an IQ higher than yours, the 2008 BMW 7 Series is sure to please. There is almost nothing this car can't do, and the stretched L version makes a perfect rolling office for the businessperson (or rap star) on the go.
You May Not Like The 2008 BMW 7 Series If...
You may not like the 7 Series if you are a traditionalist driver who is not willing to relearn the BMW way. Just about every feature, from the gearshift lever to the temperature control to the starter, operates differently than in a standard sedan.
The 7 Series is essentially unchanged for 2008.
If you're not driving, the 7 Series is a great place to stretch out and relax. Rear-seat passengers can recline and have their backsides heated or cooled. Front-seat passengers can speak commands to the audio and navigation systems while they get comfy in their 20-way adjustable seats. BMW has improved the functionality of the audio controls, leaving you the option of avoiding the iDrive system when making simple adjustments such as frequency and source settings.
The 2008 BMW 7 Series strikes an imposing pose even standing still; the car looks substantial because it is. Riding on enormous optional 20-inch wheels and wide tires, the 7 Series takes a bulldog stance that says to all other traffic "don't even try." Its exterior size translates into excellent comfort inside, especially in the long-wheelbase version.
If you're lucky enough to be the one behind the wheel, you'll be surprised at the level of steering response, control and acceleration the 2008 BMW 7 Series possesses. The braking, the way it turns into corners, the turning radius and the vehicle stability are all exemplary. You can push the 7 Series into the tightest turns and maintain exceptional control. Even when the traction control is prompted to intervene, a simple easing off of the throttle brings the car back into line. Assisting you is BMW's six-speed automatic transmission, which offers crisp, precise shifts and eliminates off-the-line lag. The 4.8-liter V8 is smooth and powerful, and you can feel the added torque when passing. If you are truly power-happy, the 760 offers a direct gasoline injection V12 engine that develops over 400 horsepower.
The 2008 BMW 750i's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $76,500, while the extended-wheelbase 750Li stickers close to $80,000. The 760Li starts around $125,000 and, when fully loaded, tops out around $150,000. Only a few cars can compete with the power and sophistication of the 7 Series. The Audi A8 is one of them, with fairly competitive pricing and equipment levels; the Lexus LS 460 is another, while the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the traditional segment leader. The Mercedes-Benz S550 costs about $10,000 more than the base 750i, while the Audi and Lexus cost considerably less. These sticker prices offer substantial margins that might be pared down by the sharp negotiators who can afford cars in this class. The 7 Series, like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS 460, also has an enviable resale value history.
When it comes to notable standard features, there are almost too many to list. We like the flawless six-speed automatic transmission with hill-holder device, electronic parking brake, hands-free phone and the myriad of airbags that surround the interior. Other 7 Series goodies include xenon adaptive headlamps, Park Distance Control, GPS navigation, 13-speaker Logic7 Surround Sound Audio (on the 760Li), auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 20-way power front Comfort Seats with three-stage heating, Active Roll Stabilization and an interior loaded with yards of leather and wood.
Most 7 Series options can be found bundled into packages. Among the available features are the Logic7 premium Surround Sound system with 13 speakers and a six-disc CD/MP3 player, the Adaptive Ride Package with self-leveling rear suspension, power-closing doors, power trunk lid, Adaptive Cruise Control, rear side-impact airbags, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Night Vision and rear climate control. The Cold Weather Package adds a heated rear seat and steering wheel, and the Sport Package adds 20-inch wheels, sport suspension and sport steering wheel.
Steering Wheel-Mounted Controls
Just about every function can be controlled from the steering wheel-mounted touch controls. There is even a "soft button" you can set to operate any number of automated functions.
20-Way Comfort Seats
If you can't get comfortable in these, you should lie down in the back seat and let someone else drive.
Under the Hood
The 4.8-liter V8 is yet another example of BMW's masterful engine design process. The increased power and torque are much appreciated, as a loaded 7 really packs on the pounds. The V8 is more than adequate for most drivers' needs, but the V12 is as much a status symbol as it is a performer so, if you have the cash, go for it.
360 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23
4.4-liter Supercharged V8 (Exclusive to Alpina B7)
325 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
330 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21
438 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
444 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20
There is no sweeter reward in life than vindication, which is why BMW's styling guru Chris Bangle must now be sporting a smile wider than the Mississippi river. Known as the father of the current 7 Series, Bangle's critics delivered him a horrible thumping after the car's unveiling, yet the same bulbous curves and distinctive bustle trunk that so offended five years ago has begun showing up on a number of new designs, most noticeably such stalwart vehicles as the Toyota Camry and Lexus LS 460. Vindication indeed! For its part, the 2008 BMW 7 Series continues to serve as the company's flagship and offers unparalleled levels of luxury, interior space and overall performance. Available with a choice of regular or long wheelbase, a V8 or V12 engine and, for the lucky few, the 500-horsepower Alpina B7 trim, the 7's appeal grows stronger as its once controversial design becomes the new norm.