The BMW 7 Series cars are some of the most dynamic and exhilarating large luxury sedans in the world. Completely redesigned for 2009, the fifth-generation 7 Series line expands considerably for 2011.
The 2011 BMW 740i and 740Li are the first six-cylinder powered 7 Series cars since 1992. Also new for 2011 are the ActiveHybrid 750i and 750Li models, which combine power with fuel economy. For those who want more performance, BMW teams up with tuner Alpina to offer a new 2011 Alpina B7.
The 2011 BMW 7 Series sedans comes in standard and long versions, the latter designated by an L in the numeric nomenclature. The BMW 740Li, 750Li and 760Li have a wheelbase that’s 5.5 inches longer than that of the 740i and 750i. They’re a little harder to parallel park, but they offer a ride that’s even more luxurious and have considerably more rear-seat legroom. The long-wheelbase cars have their own roofline, and the silhouette is sleek. The body has no transparently gratuitous scoops or scallops, and the car’s size and lines clearly say first class.
The BMW 750i and 750Li feature a new-generation V8 engine, with direct fuel injection and twin turbocharging. This 4.4-liter V8 makes 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, awesome numbers for an engine its size, while using less fuel than its predecessor to get occupants around town. It’s matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The BMW 760Li ups the ante with a 535-hp V12 and an 8-speed automatic.
All-wheel drive adds all-weather capability to the 750xi and 750Lxi and, in our opinion, does so without ruining the sporty handling characteristics found in the rear-wheel-drive models.
The ActiveHybrid 750i and 750Li employ a mild hybrid powertrain with the same twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 from the 750i, an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Total output is 455 horsepower and 515 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph arrives in just 4.7 seconds and fuel economy is improved by 15 percent. Fuel economy is good but not great at an EPA-rated 17 mpg City/24 Highway. That’s close but not quite as good as the new six-cylinder engine.
The 7 Series interior is classy and luxurious, as buyers should expect. It’s like a roomy, still, richly appointed cocoon, protecting occupants from an ornery world, though some of the controls and features can be overly complicated. Just about every safety, comfort or convenience feature invented to date for the automobile is available on the 7 Series.
Yet what really distinguishes these cars is their dynamic verve: a combination of response, acceleration, smooth ride and sharp handling that few large sedans can match.
Weight-efficient construction and innovative chassis technology contribute to the lively driving dynamics that many expect from a BMW, especially high-end models like the 7 Series. All 7 Series cars come with BMW’s Brake Energy Regeneration system, which captures energy lost as the car slows to charge the battery.