2002 BMW 7-Series Photo
Quick Take
In the rarified atmosphere of high-end luxury cars, the rule is simple: don’t rock the boat. When... Read more »

In the rarified atmosphere of high-end luxury cars, the rule is simple: don’t rock the boat. When it comes to design, the vague sort of “Euro” look of the Lexus LS430 is far more the norm than the exception. So how to explain the new 7-Series from BMW?

Though it’s been two decades since Bayerische Motoren Werke rolled out its first top-line sedan, the Teutonic marque has struggled to fully fit into the same league as the sophisticated Mercedes-Benz S-Class. To many, the 7er, as the Germans call it, was always a bit of a poseur, without the right stance and dimensions. The new 7-Series is designed to break down any remaining barriers. It is intended to be the ultimate luxury sedan from the company that boasts of building “the ultimate driving machine.”

Boasts and accomplishments

From a driving perspective, the 2003 lives up to BMW’s boasts. It’s significantly more powerful, its 4.4-liter V-8 coming just one horsepower short of last year’s V-12. Despite its size, the sedan handles like a true performance machine, maneuvering even the twistiest roads with aplomb.

There’s no questioning the lavishness of the new 745i sedan, which went on sale in Europe late last year but will only reach U.S. showrooms by late spring. From the sumptuous leather swaddling the interior to the array of creature comforts and sophisticated, onboard technology, the 7 sets new standards.

And unlike the play-it-safe designs so many competitors have settled for, the 745i is visually commanding—and unabashedly controversial.

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