2019 BMW 7-Series Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
February 28, 2019

The 2019 BMW 7-Series is a flagship luxury sedan in the way they used to be: leather everywhere, big power, excellent options.

The 2019 BMW 7-Series luxury sedan is proof that bigger isn’t always better.

Although it swims upstream from buyers migrating to megabuck crossovers, the 7-Series coddles and cossets drivers and owners in leather, wood, horsepower, and technology. An update is on the way for 2020 that places the 7-Series into the crossfire of competing luxury crossovers and super sedans with outsized everything, but for now the 2019 version is comparatively understated.

The 2019 7-Series earns a 7.6 on our overall scale thanks to its perfect comfort score. Efficiency takes a back seat in the big sedan—so would we. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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This year, the 7-Series is available in 740i, 740e, 750i, and M760i configurations with 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12-cylinder power—one of the widest spans of powertrains available in a sedan. All engine configurations are available with all-wheel drive, but the M760i’s prolific turbocharged V-12 demands that all four wheels claw at the pavement.

The 7-Series covers wide ground: The plug-in hybrid 740e travels more than 20 miles alone on electricity; the 3.6-second sprint up to 60 mph in the M760i xDrive is just shocking.

The most common 7-Series will be 740i versions that are powered by a 330-horsepower turbocharged inline-6 that propels the car up to 60 mph in around five seconds. V-8-powered 750i models are truly rich—inside and out—and can be opulently trimmed. The 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 spins out more than 400 hp, but it’s not the performance pick; it never would be against a V-12.

Regardless of what’s under the hood, BMW spoils 7-Series buyers with helpings of tech and leather in ways that few sedans can match.

Like last year, every 2019 7-Series is equipped with a suite of advanced safety systems that can pilot the car alone for short distances (less than 1 minute) or in stop-and-go traffic to reduce driver fatigue. It’s life-saving tech that doubles up as hugely convenient.

The most effective way to cut down on the strain of driving? Don’t drive at all. The rear seats boast more than 44 inches of leg room and the back can offer reclining heated and cooled seats with in-seat massagers, tablet computers to dial up the day’s latest trades—even a footrest.

All cars are well-equipped with leather upholstery, at least 18-inch wheels, a moonroof, power-adjustable heated front seats, four-zone climate control, premium audio, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and power features.

Base cars start around $84,000, but top examples of the 2019 7-Series can push nearly $200,000.  

7

2019 BMW 7-Series

Styling

The 2019 BMW 7-Series is handsome and perhaps among the last of the automaker’s cars not to receive hand-me-down styling from its SUVs.

The 2019 BMW 7-Series is conservative among luxury makes—full-size sedans usually are.

However, a big change is in the making for the sedan later this year and restrained buyers make not take to the new face of the 7-Series—and by face, we mean “giant grille.”

This 2019 7-Series is elegant, albeit not very expressive. We give this version a 7 out of 10 before the new version arrives later this year. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like years before, the 7-Series builds on its long hood with defined creases that run from the kidney grilles to the cabin.

A shoulder line starts close to the front fenders and reaches rearward to the 7-Series’ taillights. The big sedan wraps up neatly, unlike the bulbous bottoms of yesteryear. High-powered M760i xDrive versions get their own design flourishes such as macho exhausts and a lower front bumper.

The 7-Series boasts a bigger snout compared to the rest of the BMW’s sedan lineup—and it’s only getting bigger next year. If luxury isn’t synonymous with flashy for you, we suggest snapping up a 2019 version soon.

Inside, the 7-Series is more restrained. The leather isn’t as ornately designed as the 5-Series, nor is the 7-Series as loaded to the hilt with excessive tech.

Across the front, the 7-Series is adorned plainly, but with elegant materials. Unlike other BMW sedans, the central climate controls are offset from the rest of the controls, finished with metal that’s cool to the touch.

Brushed aluminum, wood, and stitched leather drape the dashboard with mostly horizontal themes. It’s not as interesting as, say, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the 7-Series is likely to age well.

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2019 BMW 7-Series

Performance

Even with an exhaustive list of available powertrains, the BMW 7-Series is anything but a tired ride.

Performance in the 2019 BMW 7-Series necessitates a spreadsheet.

BMW offers more complexity in the big sedan’s performance potential than perhaps any other car on the road.

It’s available with 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12-cylinder power—all turbocharged—with or without all-wheel drive in some configurations.

It’s a sublime ride regardless of what’s under the hood and the 8-speed automatic on all models is very good. We land at an 8 for performance, with one more thumbs up for the 7-Series’ ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most will consider the 740i to start, and its turbocharged inline-6 that makes 320 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque. With rear- or all-wheel drive, the 740i smoothly accelerates up to 60 mph 5.4 or 5.1 seconds, respectively, and easily keeps pace with traffic. That’s partly due to the 7-Series’ diet since the last generation where it cut more than 100 pounds from car’s chassis.

The next step up is a drop in cylinders, actually. The 740e pairs a turbo-4 with a 9.2-kwh battery and an electric motor for a combined output of 322 hp. It’s the most efficient version of the 7-Series, but we’d advise that interested buyers consider that the newest plug-in hybrid 7-Series is due later this year. That 2020 7-Series pairs an inline-6 with a bigger battery pack for more electric range and power—at a higher cost, of course.

Back to this year’s 740e: it’s smooth and quiet, but burdened by more than 400 pounds of battery packs and it feels it. It accelerates up to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, too, but the weight of the big batteries doesn’t help the 7-Series around corners. The trade-off? More than 20 miles of electric range, according to the EPA.

The 750i is the V-8-powered version of the 7-Series, and most likely to be considered by well-heeled buyers. Not only is it the richest in available interior appointments, the 750i is also $13,000 more than a comparably equipped V-6 version. The 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 is stout and sonorous, and makes 445 hp, but it still prefers a relaxed pace based on our time behind the wheel. The 750i is equipped as standard with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is a popular and available upgrade for those versions.

The top of the performance pyramid is a rarity among automakers today: a turbocharged V-12 found under the hood of the M760i xDrive. It packs a 601-hp wallop and 590 lb-ft of torque to slingshot the sled up to 60 mph in less than three seconds. Its power is prodigious and so is its price: more than $150,000 to start.

Underneath that dizzying array of engine options, BMW’s most sophisticated chassis and suspension in a sedan keeps all 7-Series models smoother than a Steely Dan show.

The 7-Series uses double wishbones up front and a five-link rear suspension complemented by a standard air suspension system that can tune in or out road imperfections, depending on circumstances.

We’ve noticed some crash through bumps while in Sport, but attribute that more to BMW’s insistence on rolling-rock hard run-flat tires and big wheels.

Nonetheless, the 7-Series directs, slows, and redirects its motion with ease. The electric power steering is welcome here with a light, direct feel behind the wheel. It can be too quick in sportier modes, but that’s not the 7-Series’ best use anyhow.

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2019 BMW 7-Series

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 BMW 7-Series is opulent in its space, fittings, and details.

Unlike the Thanksgiving dinner table, the 2019 BMW 7-Series doesn’t have a disagreeable seat.

Five adults will find comfortable confines in the full-size luxury sedan, four is even more sublime.

Based on an average sedan, the 2019 7-Series is better in every way: front seats, rear seats, cargo, fit and finish...there are many ways. The 7-Series is a 10 for comfort. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front seats in the 7-Series are dreamy: leather, power adjustable, heated, all-day comfortable. Throw more money at them, and they get better: massagers, coolers, more adjustability, softer leather. We’ve logged hundreds of miles behind the wheel of the 7-Series and haven’t recorded a sore back.

The better seats may be in the rear, however. The 7-Series offers more than 44 inches of rear seat leg room, that can be stuffed to the palatial gills with recliners, tablet controllers, massagers, and 10-inch screens for entertainment. The big BMW coddles passengers like a pro.

We cover BMW’s infotainment more below, but it’s relevant to comfort because it’s ever-present. For example: When equipped with Active Comfort systems, the 7-Series can use GPS and camera data to “read” the road ahead to select the right gear for a more comfortable ride. The 2019 BMW 7-Series isn’t alone in its technical complexity, but it is up front about its potential—if you’re willing to navigate the menus to find it.

The 7-Series’ fit and finish is excellent and it’s awash in high-quality materials. Like what? Knobs are coated with a thin layer of metal so they’re cool to the touch. When activated, the heated seats heat the armrests for front passengers, too. Wonderful.

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2019 BMW 7-Series

Safety

The 2019 BMW 7-Series lacks comprehensive crash data.

Federal testers and independent safety experts don’t ruin high-priced sedans like the 2019 BMW 7-Series and we applaud that kind of fiscal restraint.

Without crash-test data, we’re withholding our safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, all 7-Series models are equipped with automatic emergency braking as standard equipment. A spend-up feature includes active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and a driver-assistance feature that can pilot the 7-Series for short distances on its own, such as in stop-and-go traffic or long-distance drives. The system works for less than a minute without driver interaction before the nannies ask drivers to, you know, drive.

Systems like BMW’s driver assist are nifty party tricks, safe and smart—but not replacement drivers. Humans still figure into the system, for now. Next year, we expect the 2020 7-Series to go further with self-driving features, but stop short of driver-less.

If it were your family and your money, wouldn’t you want to participate too?

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9

2019 BMW 7-Series

Features

Good: Standard features on 2019 BMW 7-Series. Better: Optional features on 7-Series. Best: Rear-seat massagers on road trips.

Full-size luxury sedans like the 2019 BMW 7-Series are rolling first-class cabins, loaded with tech, draped in leather, paneled in wood—and that’s just the front seats.

The rear seats can be similarly opulent, and that’s probably the point.

For its standard and optional features, widescreen infotainment system, good warranty, and customization options, the 2019 7-Series would get a perfect 10—we take back a point for extra-cost Apple CarPlay after the first year and land at a 9. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Next year’s 7-Series promises considerable advancements in features and tech but if the money’s burning a hole in your pocket, BMW has ways to take it now.

The base 740i costs about $84,000 and includes leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a moonroof, power-adjustable heated front seats, four-zone climate control, active safety features (that we cover above), premium audio, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and power features.

At the top, the 2019 BMW M760i xDrive costs more than $157,000 and includes 20-inch wheels, performance goodies like rear-wheel steering and aerodynamic packages, and a hulking V-12 planted under the hood. It’s a scream.

We’d steer more toward serene with our options.

BMW offers a driver assistance package that can reduce driver fatigue in stop-and-go traffic and on long drives for $1,700. Check.

A $3,900 rear-seat luxury package offers a table in back for climate controls and infotainment, heated and cooled rear seats with massagers, and heated armrests. Check. (For $5,750 more on 750i versions, BMW can have the rear seats recline and add a footrest.)

And so on. The 7-Series coddles riders with options all the way up to softer Merino leather for $4,000, premium audio from Bowers & Wilkins for $3,400, even remote-controlled parking that can shimmy the big sedan in and out of tight spaces. The 7-Series doesn’t blink past $100,000 and few cars can match its opulence. BMW's standard warranty covers three years of maintenance, and includes a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that's better than most of its rivals.

But even at six figures, BMW does something no other automaker does: Ask owners to pay for Apple CarPlay every year, after the first year. BMW’s insistence on making owners “subscribe” to smartphone compatibility for $80 each year in a six-figure luxury sedan is a bridge too far for us.

BMW iDrive

Perhaps more than any other vehicle BMW makes, the 7-Series integrates every aspect of its iDrive infotainment system into the car’s tasks. The system is full of useful (and not-so-useful) redundancies, including a clickwheel controller, touchscreen, gesture controls, and steering wheel-mounted controls—and that’s just to change the radio station.

When equipped, in back the BMW 7-Series offers a touchscreen 7.0-inch tablet computer that also can control many of the car’s functions.

The system, and its included redundancies, isn’t one of our favorites from any automaker but it is one of the most comprehensive. BMW’s aligned with Microsoft for Outlook calendar integration and email, and the automaker’s updated mobile app is thorough and can notify others of the car’s arrival at a destination—even find an empty parking spot on the street.

It’s worth learning to understand all that it can do, even if we think it’s less intuitive that some rivals’ systems.

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4

2019 BMW 7-Series

Fuel Economy

The 2019 7-Series’ fuel-economy story stretches from thrifty 4s to thirsty 12s.

BMW throws everything but the kitchen into the 7-Series. The 2019 BMW 7-Series is powered by a 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12-cylinder engine. Predictably, federal regulators have plenty to say about its fuel efficiency.

The most common, 2019 BMW 740i xDrive rates 20 mpg city, 29 highway, 23 combined. That gets a 4. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Without all-wheel drive, the 740i rates 21/29/24 mpg, according to the EPA.

The V-8-powered 750i xDrive nets 17/25/20 mpg, rear-drive versions add 1 mpg to each of those figures.

The plug-in hybrid 740e and V-12-powered M760i xDrive share one common feature: They’re both rated for premium unleaded. From there, they couldn’t be more different. The 740e can travel up to 14 miles on electricity alone and it rates 27 mpg combined as a conventional hybrid. The M760i xDrive’s V-12 swills gasoline at a clip of 13/20/16 mpg, according to the EPA.

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$83,650
MSRP based on 740i Sedan
 
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7.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 4
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2019 BMW 7-Series Pricing Insights

  • 2019 BMW 7-Series is here; 2018 sold out
  • Rebates: No standard cash incentives
  • Financing: From 4.55% for 60 months
  • Leases: From $749 for 36 months
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