The BMW 7-Series, the flagship car of the renowned German automaker, was first introduced in 1977. The full-size ultra-luxury vehicles (available as both sedans and limousines) are at the top of their class in terms of performance, styling, and power. Over thirty years, the 7-Series has undergone several major facelifts in order to become the luxury standard that it is today. The car is still in production, and continues to be sold in both a sedan and a hybrid sedan option. The 7-Series remains a popular choice for high-end new car buyers, but many 7-Series can also be found on the pre-owned market, some in near-mint condition.
Various models were offered across several generations of 7-Series, giving a wide range of options to anyone in the market for a pre-owned 7. There have been five total generations of the 7-Series, with the latest (called the F01/F02), introduced in July of 2008. With each successive generation, BMW has reinvented the 7-Series from the ground up, adding their best tech and latest innovations to each and every new model. Buyers should do their homework before purchasing a 7-Series, as the price tag is nothing to scoff at. However, for those with the funds, there is probably no better luxury sedan on the market today, whether new or used.
The five generations of the 7-Series have each had their own trims on offer. The first generation, also known as the E23 and produced from 1977-1987, had ten trims available. The base-model 728 featured a straight-six 2.8-litre engine with an output of 125kW and torque at 233Nm. The range-topper in that original generation was the 745i that had a 3.4-litre V6 with 185kW and 374Nm. The next generation, known as the E32, was made from 1986-1994, and featured 3.0- to 5.0-litre engines in V6, V8, or V12. The range of power was from 138kW to 220kw and torque ranged from 260Nm to 450Nm. To give some perspective, today’s version of the 7-Series has been significantly improved. The range-topping 760LI has some serious power under the bonnet, featuring a 6.0-litre V12 engine with a whopping max power of 400kW and an impressive torque of 750Nm.
Each generation featured various trims and options. Being BMW’s flagship vehicle, the 7-Series has always boasted luxurious kit that could make any car enthusiast drool. Starting with the second generation, all models were available in a stretched ‘L’ version, which added ten centimetres of legroom to the rear passenger seats. Throughout, the cars have been available in manual and automatic transmissions. Each model of the 7-Series featured all of the standard luxury options (leather, power everything, etc.). In addition to these, some models have featured BMW technological innovations, such as the first-of-its-kind iDrive centre consul computer system, park-assist, and various energy-efficient enhancements.
The 7-Series has many competitors in the crowded ultra-luxury market. Throughout the years, these have included the Lexus LS, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Jaguar XJ, and the Audi A8. For comparison purposes, the latest version of the Lexus LS top model (a hybrid) boasts a V8 5.0-litre engine with an output of 290kW while the new Audi A8 TDI Quattro has a 4.2-litre engine that features 258kW of power and a peak torque of 800Nm. Throughout its run, however, the 7-Series has performed well against even its toughest competition.