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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
yet another example of BMW's masterful engine design process
Kelley Blue Book
power delivery is so smooth that it hardly seems you're moving quickly
it's easy to confuse it for a sport sedan
TheCarConnection.com notes the usual high performance standards for the 2008 BMW 7-Series.
Both body styles (identified as the 750i and long-wheelbase 750Li) are powered by a 4.8-liter, 360-hp 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 is 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.
ConsumerGuide reports two engines available for this 2008 BMW: "both the base V8 and V12 engines provide effortless high-speed cruising but also suffer a delay in low-speed throttle response." Kelley Blue Book notes that the BMW 2008's 4.8-liter V-8 "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." This source suggests that the V-8 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." Automobile says, “This V-12 is incredibly smooth and quiet, but it never wants for power.”
Nonetheless, "whether you choose the V8 or V12, either engine provides a satisfying surge of power," assures Edmunds. “We've timed a 750i at 6.4 seconds for the 0-60-mph run, while a 760iL we tested was about a half-second quicker. BMW claims that sub-6-second times are possible with either drivetrain under optimal conditions.”
There's nothing but accolades for the six-speed ZF automatic transmission, which Automobile says provides "power delivery...so smooth that it hardly seems you're moving quickly." Cars.com reports that the "six-speed automatic transmission includes shift buttons on the steering wheel for manual control," while Edmunds declares that the "automatic furnishes some of the quickest, smoothest shifts we've ever experienced."
Despite the marginal difference between the BMW 2008 V-8 and V-12 engines, drivers will notice a major difference at the gas pump; while the V-8 "earns a respectable 23 mpg on the highway," according to Cars.com, the fuel economy for the V-12 is predictably low. The reviewer at Automobile laments that "with a V-12 engine that only gets 13 mpg...I can practically see an oil well running dry and a bank account emptying every time I really put my foot down." The EPA rates the V-12 at 13/20 mpg.
The BMW 2008's steering is described as "precise" by both Automobile and Automotive.com; the former contends that "the suspension absorbs bumps but doesn't make you feel disconnected from the road, the brakes are quite good," while the latter mentions that "the big sedan handles much better than it should," noting that the "nearly 14-inch brakes stop the 5000-lb car with ease."
The 2008 BMW may in fact have too good a ride; Car and Driver comments that "an element of trust [is] needed to push the limits, as heavy steering and a general sense of isolation make it less involving than we might like, not instantly syncing the driver to the car's capabilities." Edmunds observes, "while it may be a stretch to call such a large car nimble, it's easy to confuse it for a sport sedan when enjoying it on the open road."
The 2008 BMW 7-Series feels big and heavy but capable—and thirsty with the V-12 engine.