The outgoing BMW 7 Series was an excellent car by most measures, but time waits for no executive sedan. Other rival models were getting better in one way or another, so BMW has reinvented its 2016 BMW 7 Series and is bringing about a number of intriguing upgrades.
Tops on that list is the newly standard long wheelbase. Following the lead of Mercedes-Benz, BMW won’t even offer a short-wheelbase version of its executive cruiser in the U.S., so every 2016 7 Series comes standard with a stretched platform that measures 126.4 inches between the wheels — nearly 2 inches more than even the S-Class provides. That translates into copious rear legroom that makes the 7 Series fit for chauffeur duty right out of the box. Another first is the 2016 7 Series’ standard adaptive air suspension with an available camera-based predictive program (Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview). Similar to the S-Class’ “Magic Body Control” feature, it monitors road conditions in real time, changing the damper profiles in milliseconds to ensure the ride inside remains as smooth as possible.
The 2016 BMW 740i is rear-wheel drive and comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine rated at 320 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque. According to the EPA, it should return 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway).
While the outgoing 7 Series’ cabin design was pretty conservative, the new 2016 model goes all-in on the latest technology. The overall dashboard design does have a familiar BMW look, but we could fill an entire review with the redesigned 7’s various features and innovations. A standard LED “light carpet” illuminates your entry as you approach the car. Once inside, you’re greeted by ambient LED lighting and the latest version of iDrive (“iDrive 5,” to be precise), which notably adds touchscreen functionality and the Gesture Control system discussed above. The latter strikes us as more of a gimmick than anything else, but you’ll certainly impress your passengers when you turn up the volume by moving your fingers through the air.