2016 BMW 7 Series Sedan: Teutonic Technology [Review]

2016 BMW 7-Series 750i

New York, NY – The BMW 7 Series was first introduced to the U.S. marketplace in 1977 and now enters its sixth generation as the German company’s flagship sedan, serving up several groundbreaking technological features to come ultimately in five available model variations.

The all-new 2016 BMW 7 Series flagship will bow here in the US with a BMW 740i, a BMW 750i and a 750i xDrive model. All are exclusively long wheelbase models at 206.6-inches in length, that are 1-inch longer than their predecessors. The new 7 Series is the roomiest sedan built to date by BMW, with class-leading rear seat legroom. A BMW 740e Hybrid is slated to arrive on our shores next year.

2016 BMW 7 Series Sedan

Engine Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, In line 6-cylinder with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging / 4.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve 90 degree V8 with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging.. 740i-320 @ 5,200-6,500 rpm / 750i xDrive 445 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm 740i-330 @ 1,380 rpm / 750i xDrive 480 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm 8-speed automatic – 8HP50 – 740i / 8HP75-750i xDrive. Linked with the navigation system. $81,300. – 740i / $97,400. – 750i xDrive $113,195. – 750i xDrive (740i not available for testing) Buy it!

The new BMW 7 Series sedans showcase familiar BMW proportions, displaying a smoothly downward-sloping roofline, highlighted by a long hood, short overhangs, a long wheelbase and set-back passenger compartment that displays a sporting elegance an emotional dynamic sense.

2016 BMW 7-Series 750i

The upright stance of its front-end delivers a powerful athletic presence, and is the brand’s first car to feature an Active Kidney Grille with a visible air flap control. The air flap only opens when there is an increased requirement for cooling air, remaining closed otherwise, improving aerodynamics along with giving the front end an even more eye-catching appearance with the visibly increased number of bars in the large kidney grille. The headlight units extend up as far as the grille, while the light graphic of the familiar BMW twin circular headlights is leveled off at its upper and lower edges, lending a purposeful and focused look to the car. The hood is sculpted to fit in perfectly with the form of the upper section of the kidney grille. The lower air intake stretches across the wide front end, with the chrome bars in the outer edges of the intake and the horizontal contours of the LED fog lamps and the full LED lights underlining the car’s broad stance.

2016 BMW 7-Series 750i

In profile, the prominence of outward-curving surfaces of the all-new BMW 7 Series displays a bold, eye-catching appearance. Door handles are incorporated into the character line, which now takes the form of a double swage line. For the first time, the wrap-around side window frame incorporates a single-piece element, elegantly incorporating the iconic Hofmeister kink. The Air Breather surround in the front side fender initiates a chrome trim strip that runs along the lower edge of the doors. Its horizontal form accentuates the car’s low center of gravity and balanced appearance. Exterior mirrors seem to appear organically out of the window frame, and a slender stalk provides the only connection between mirrors and car’s body generating a modern and elegant effect, that also enhances its aerodynamics.

The double swage line’s direction extends into the upper contour of the body and the light strips of the rear lamps, creating a harmonious fusion between the side sections and the rear end. Taillights feature LED technology and the two L-shaped light units are connected by a chrome bar extending the full width of the trunk lid. The rear apron features exhaust tailpipes framed by chrome surrounds adding a luxurious detailed effect.

2016 BMW 7-Series

The all-new BMW 7 Series comes standard with 18-inch or 19-inch wheels depending upon the model variant, while the options list and Original BMW Accessories range offer a selection of other light-alloy wheels in 18 inch to 21-inch sizes.

2016 BMW 7-Series interior

Inside, the balance of dynamics and comfort reflect the exterior design, delivering driving pleasure and a sense of well-being. The rear seats showcase a modern and luxurious ambience. From the steering wheel’s slim paddle shifters and Driving Dynamics Control buttons of the instrument cluster and Control Display graphics, all the control and display elements share a new design, highlighting their innovative functionality. Featured are chrome buttons on the multifunctional steering wheel and center console, the start/stop button, the electric parking brake and the touch screen surface for the control panel of the standard 4-zone Automatic Climate Control.

The center console’s controls are framed by elegant wood or aluminum surfaces. Both the trim strips and the instrument panel’s chrome are made individually for each car. The standard and optional equipment designed to create a sense of luxury is served up by precision craftsmanship. The generous levels of space are highlighted by a horizontal surface structure, which extends through the door trim. Consumers may choose from five color variants for the Dakota leather on 740i variants or five Exclusive Nappa leather upholsteries available on both models.

2016 BMW 7-Series rear seating

Design and equipment packages are available that further enhance the car’s added sportiness and luxurious comfort. The exclusive appearance of the new BMW 7 Series Interior Design Package, features an Alcantara headliner, deep-pile rear floor mats and fine wood inlays for the seat belt outlet covers, rear center armrest and roof grab handles in the rear.

The M Sport package enables customers to experience the BMW 7 Series expanded dynamic driving properties. This package provides an M Aerodynamic kit comprising model-specific front/rear aprons and side skirts, plus 19-inch or 20-inch M light-alloy wheels, illuminated door sill plates featuring the M logo and accents in either light or dark chrome. M-specific details also underline the sporting character of the new BMW 7 Series in the interior. These include the BMW Individual headliner in Anthracite and the M driver’s footrest.

2016 BMW-7-Series exposed frame

BMW’s EfficientLightweight concept trims 190 pounds from the weight of its predecessor, with the groundbreaking Carbon Core passenger cell technology being the key element of the body structure. The intelligent body design increases both the strength and rigidity of the passenger cell through composite construction featuring CFRP, ultra-high-tensile steels and aluminum, which also results in a substantial reduction in vehicle weight. By using a hybrid construction of CFRP with ultra-high-tensile steels for structural elements, such as those found in the B-pillars, the design of the sheet-metal components have been adapted to save weight.

The Carbon Core body is based on technology transferred from BMW i car development. The all-new BMW 7 Series is the first ever vehicle in which mass produced CFRP is used in combination with steel and aluminum. The lightweight design concept also entails the use of aluminum for specific sections of the body and chassis. For the first time doors and the trunk lid are made of aluminum. As a result, the vehicle’s center of gravity has been lowered. Following BMW tradition the weight distribution remains 50: 50 between the two axles allowing for perfect balance of the chassis.

2016 BMW 7-Series

Motive energy for the new BMW 7 Series will come from two sources: the 740i is powered by a new 3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, In line 6-cylinder engine with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging that produces 320 horsepower in a range from 5,200-6,500 rpm; the 750i and 750i xDrive are propelled by a redeveloped 4.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve 90 degree V8 engine with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging that pumps out 445 horsepower in a range from 5,500-6,000 rpm, while also developing 480 pound feet of torque in the same rpm range. Both longitudinally front mounted engines gear power to the driving wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission (8HP50 for the 740i, and 8HP75 for the 750i xDrive, which is linked with the navigation system. The BMW 750i xDrive is expected to be the volume sales leader.

The levels of both standard and optional technological features and equipment for this latest 7 Series BMW certainly rivals, if not surpasses that of the two other major German luxury car manufacturers. Key new features include: the groundbreaking Carbon Core passenger cell; the World’s first Gesture Control; the Active Kidney Grille and Air Breather; an optional 7 inch Touch Command Tablet; the All- New Display Key as a standalone option; available standard Wireless Charging and WiFi Hotspot; the new iDrive 5.0 with touch screen technology; the Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof, Ambiance Lighting and LED Light Carpet; the largest HUD in the industry.

2016 BMW 7-Series 750i

Other noteworthy features are: standard Air Suspension and Dynamic Damper Control; optional Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview; optional redesigned Integral Active Steering; Driving Dynamics Control switch with ADAPTIVE mode offered for the first time (joining Comfort, Comfort+, Sport, Eco Pro; iDrive 5.0 with touch display and Gesture Control; Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster, touch control and Wireless Charging; Luxury Seating Comfort and Rear Executive Lounge Seating; Touch Command Tablet; Ambience Light, Ambience Highlight, Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof; Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround system; BMW ConnectedDrive; BMW Head-Up Display with a larger projection area; next generation BMW Parking Assistant (automatic self parking system not yet available here in the U.S.); Active Driving Assistant and Active Driving Assistant Plus; BMW Night Vision with 3D Surround View; BMW Ultimate Benefits Program; and BMW Individual Design Composition. Unfortunately, there is not enough space allowed here to detail all of the elements incorporated into each of the above elements.

2016 BMW 7-Series

There were no BMW 740i sedans available for testing at the Monticello Motor Park track – only 750i xDrive vehicles. Journalists were transferred from the city to the private track facility by helicopter, where there were five venues set up for the purpose of fully evaluating the new 7 Series, with the option of participating in any or all scenarios: an on track handling course; a lane change/accident avoidance exercise; an area street drive; a chauffer-driven loop to experience the Rear Executive Lounge Seating; and a body-in-white garage orientation. I was able to experience seat and wheel time in a 2016 BMW 750i xDrive sedan with an Arctic Gray metallic exterior and Ivory White and Black Nappa Leather interior. The base sticker was set at $97,400, which escalated to $113,195 after factoring in the Autobahn Package, Driver Assistance Plus Package, Driver Assistance Plus II, Executive Package and Luxury Seating Package with Cold Weather and Destination and Handling charge. A fully optioned 750i xDrive cost factor would be in the $130,000 range.

SUMMARY: The 2016 BMW 750i xDrive luxury sedan is also a stellar performer on the road or on the track, handling more like a sports car despite its more than two-ton mass. My test vehicle featured the optional Autobahn Pack, which included electrically actuated active anti-roll bars and the Integral Active Steering rear wheel steering system, as well as Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview.

All of the usual safety features that one expects in a car of this magnitude are included in the various packages equipping my tester – lane departure warning, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, Active Lane Keeping Assistant with side collision avoidance, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go and much, much more.

2016 BMW 7-Series glide control

The car is lighter than a similarly equipped Mercedes S-Class (roughly 300 pounds lighter) and is also quicker. The steering response is not as crisp as smaller Bimmers, but is tactile enough for a controlled feel. The ride quality is smooth and comfortable and the big sedan stays well planted even during aggressive and spirited maneuvers. Acceleration comes at a rapid pace when prodded with gusto and shift mapping may be dialed in to the driver’s preference and existing conditions.

The styling is not highly emotional and may come across for some as being simply good looking, which it is indeed. Let’s face it, it can’t compete with the BMW i8 in the visual appeal department.

Bottom line, the new BMW 750i xDrive is the best 7 Series yet. It does what it is supposed to do and does all things very well. It is truly deserving of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra, and may give serious cause for concern in the three-pointed star camp.

  • Buy itOn the TFLcar scale of:
  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2016 BMW 750i xDrive a Buy It! for an incredibly technologically advanced and plush luxury sedan.

Check out another fast and luxurious BMW – the Alpina B6 Gran Coupe.

2016 BMW 7 Series Sedans (740i & 750i xDrive) Specifications:

  • Base Price: $81,300 – 740i / $97,400. – 750i xDrive
  • Price as Tested: $113,195 – 750i xDrive (740i not available for testing)
  • Engine Type and Size: 3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, In line 6-cylinder with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging.
    • Horsepower (bhp): 320 @ 5,200-6,500 rpm
    • Torque (ft./ lbs.): 330 @ 1,380 rpm
  • Engine Type and Size: 4.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve 90 degree V8 with Twinscroll BMW TwinPower Turbocharging
    • Horsepower (bhp): 445 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
    • Torque (ft./ lbs.): 480 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic [8HP50] 740i / 8HP75-750i xDrive. Linked with the navigation system.
  • Drive Train: Longitudinally-mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive (740i) / xDrive (4WD) 750i xDrive
  • Suspension:
    • Front – Double wishbone axle
    • Rear – Five-link
  • Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs
  • Tires: Bridgestone Potenza 5001 245/45 R19 front / 245/45 R19 rear
  • Wheels: 20-spoke alloy wheels (small “V” within a larger “V”)
  • Wheelbase: 126.4 inches
  • Length x Width x Height: 206.6 x74.9 x 58.2  inches
  • Curb Weight: 4,225 lbs. – 740i / 4,610 lbs. – 750i xDrive
  • Turning Circle: 42 ft. – 740i / 42.3 ft. – 750i xDrive
  • Fuel Capacity: 20.6 gallons
  • EPA Mileage Estimates: Not yet certified
  • Drag Coefficient (cD): 0.27 – 740i / 0.28 – 750i xDrive
  • 0 – 60 mph: 4.3 seconds 750i xDrive
  • Top Speed = 155 mph

Prefer more performance over luxury? Check out the full performance test of the 2015 BMW X6 M here:

arv voss Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.