BMW 7-Series

The BMW 7 Series is the flagship car for BMW. Launched in 1977, the 7 Series cars can only be purchased as a sedan or an extended length limousine. The BMW 7 Series represents the top end of its range. It is the biggest model of all the series (excluding the SUVs) and is classed as a full-size luxury vehicle.

More on the BMW 7-Series
About the BMW 7 Series

As BMW's flagship car its upscale features come standard, and it is one of the most upscale and sophisticated cars of its time. BMW often unveils new technology, as well as interior designs and exterior styling, for the 7 Series. Not only is this a way of gauging reaction by the public, but it also keeps the BMW 7 Series at the cutting edge as befitting of a flagship car. Once new ideas are established within the 7 Series, BMW begins adding them to other models.

About the Current BMW 7 Series

The fifth generation of the BMW 7 Series was launched in January 2009. In addition to its six-speed automatic transmission, it provides the option of a new eight-speed automatic transmission. As with previous generations, several different engine options are available; meaning that many variations of the 7 Series car are for sale. The versions include the 740i, 740Li, and 750Li. Other options in the U.S. include the 750i, 750i ActiveHybrid, Alpina B7, and 760Li. The ActiveHybrid model addition to the line went on sale in the spring of 2011, equipped with a twin-turbo V-8 engine and a single electric motor.

BMW 7 Series Evolution

The first generation of the BMW 7 Series was known as the E23, built between 1977 and 1987. It came in several different versions, with only the 733i, 735i, and L7 available in the North American market. All models contained a 12-valve M30 six-cylinder engine, but due to modifications to meet North American standards, the engines found in the BMW 7 Series cars in this market were less powerful than those in the European market. The L7, the luxury version of the 735i, was only available in the North American market. As such, it flaunted higher-end features such as a leather dashboard and door trim, instead of wood. It was the first BMW in the market to have a driver's-side airbag.

The second generation of the BMW 7 Series was unveiled in July 1986 for the 1987 model year. As with the first generation of the 7 Series, these cars aimed at the very top end of the luxury market. Not only was it equipped with some of the latest automotive technologies, it also included additional luxury features; some as standard and others as optional extras. Known as the E32 version of the 7 Series, BMW offered several different versions of the vehicle, each of which came equipped with different gasoline engines. With the second generation of the BMW 7 Series, BMW launched a new V-12 engine in the 750i model. The grille on the front of the car indicates the engine under the hood, as the cars with the six-cylinder engine have a narrower grille while those containing with the V-8 or V-12 engine sport a wider grille. This generation of the BMW 7 Series was in production until 1994, when the third generation launched.

The E38 model represented the third generation of the BMW 7 Series, which saw production from 1994 to 2001. The versions offered in the U.S. include the 740i, 740Li, and 750Li. The cars offer a five-speed automatic transmission standard, and an optional five-speed manual transmission. Initially, the 740i and 740Li came equipped with a four-liter V-8 engine, while the 750Li was fitted with a 5.4-liter V-12 engine. The engine capacity of the 740i and 740Li increased to 4.4 liters in 1998, but the power rating stayed the same at 282 horsepower. The difference between the 740i and the 740Li was that the 740Li haed a longer wheelbase, as designated by the L. This generation of the 7 Series was the first car to have xenon headlights and the first model from a European car manufacturer to offer an integrated navigation system.

BMW produced the fourth generation of the 7 Series from 2002 to 2008. This generation included four different variants: the standard wheelbase sedan, the extended wheelbase sedan, the hydrogen powered version, and the high security version. There were also several variations of each variant, totaling 13 different models produced globally. Only five were available in the U.S. due to the fact that BMW did not release diesel models in the North American market. With the launch of this generation of the 7 Series, BMW dropped the manual transmission and began offering only a five- or six-speed automatic transmission. It was the first car to feature the iDrive system created by BMW, which allows the driver or front passenger to control most of the vehicle's internal systems.

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