- An engaging character
- V-8 power
- Intuitive six-speed automatic
- Roomy interior
- Excellent audio system
- iDrive interface
- Confusing seat adjustment controls
Controversially styled, the 2008 BMW 7-Series still performs like a smaller sedan and carries rear passengers with ease.
The 2008 BMW 7-Series returns for the new model year with its formerly controversial shape muted somewhat and a newer, less radical version on the way. The current silhouette has not been well received by the press, but sales of the 7-Series are still strong, and BMW credits the groundbreaking shape with making the 7-Series a stronger competitor for the Mercedes S-Class.
So what does the 2008 BMW 7-Series offer those buyers who must have this year's model? There are two body configurations differentiated by a variation in wheelbase of nearly six inches. Both body styles (identified as the 750i and long-wheelbase 750Li) are powered by a 4.8-liter, 360-horsepower V-8 engine. The long-wheelbase 7-Series may also be equipped with a 6.0-liter V-12 engine rated at 438 hp; it's teamed with a six-speed automatic that has manual-shift capability. This 7-Series is known as the 760Li. With either engine, the 7-Series performs like a powerful musclecar that has graduated from post-secondary charm school. Both are swift, smooth, and not quite silent (hearing a powerful engine is a good part of driving this BMW)--and neither are miserly with fuel. In general, the big BMWs have sportier handling than the Mercedes S-Class--but they still feel heavy compared to the latest Jaguar XJ and Audi A8.
The generous space inside the 2008 BMW 7-Series is appointed luxuriously and with impressive technologies, though the dash itself is busy and dark. Along with an impressive audio system, the optional luxury seating package includes front chairs that are heated and cooled; in addition, they have a massage feature. Unfortunately, the infamous iDrive system that commands the climate control, navigation, and audio functions is still there--like a bad penny. BMW promised more simplification of the system for 2009.
The front seats are luxurious and comfortable, but it's the backseats that feel almost regal--particularly in the long-wheelbase editions. All manner of safety gear is included as standard equipment in the 2008 BMW 7-Series.