The 2014 BMW 7-Series is available in a wide range of models--and in two different sedan body styles. Models designated with an 'L' get five inches of additional wheelbase, most of which goes to additional back-seat legroom.
740i and 740Li models get a 315-horsepower, 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-aluminum engine has twin turbochargers, variable-cam technology and direct injection, all of which help it produce strong torque output at low revs--a full 330 foot pounds from 1,600 rpm. These models now feature available xDrive, BMW's all-wheel drive system that helps improve on-the-road traction and stability. It normally sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels until the system detects wheel slip.
The BMW 750i and 750Li come powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that makes 445 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque. At the top of the lineup is the flagship 760Li, equipped with a 6.0L V12 engine making 535 horsepower. Both 750s and the 760Li utilize the 8-speed automatic transmission.
Two other models cater to very specific crowds, radically different from each other. The Alpina B7 gets a special 500-hp, twin-turbo version of the V8, huge 21-inch wheels, and Dynamic Damping Control with Active Roll Stabilization, an adjustable suspension system designed to bring the handling benefits of a high-performance sedan without the harsh ride.
The ActiveHybrid 7 model combines the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-6, 8-speed automatic transmission and electric motor system with lithium-ion battery technology to save fuel while enabling zero-to-60 acceleration in just 5.6 seconds. All 7-Series models come with an auto stop-start system and a Brake Energy Regeneration system that helps save energy by managing the alternator to charge more when coasting or braking.
The 7-Series also has a host of electronics that not only help increase safety and stability but help the 7-Series drive like a smaller sedan. xDrive models come with Hill Descent Control, which can help keep speed within a set speed between 6 and 15 mph on very steep, slippery (snow-covered or icy) inclines. There's also an Integrated Chassis Management system that individually applies the brakes and throttle individually and helps xDrive-equipped cars handle better. All 7-Series models come with an excellent double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, bringing a very responsive feel without ignoring ride comfort. Long-wheelbase (740Li and 750Li) versions come with a self-leveling air spring system for heavier loads, and back-seat space in those vehicles is vast. The front seats in all 7-Series models are firm but long-distance comfortable and very adjustable.
Electronic Damping Control also comes with all 7-Series models. The system gives the driver a choice of Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes, to control the attitude of the electronic stability control system, along with throttle responsiveness, shift behavior and steering assist. The optional Integral Active Steering system adds even more responsiveness, by actually steering the rear wheels to help with maneuverability up to about 75 mph.
Available high-tech features in the 7-Series include swiveling adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, a head-up display, Active Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection. A Night Vision system is also on the options list. And for those who prefer to have others do the driving, there's a Luxury Rear Seating Package that brings rear ventilated seats with massage.
180 miles per hour doesn't feel that fast in a big luxury sedan on an unrestricted section of German autobahn. But when the slow-moving Volkswagen Passat decides to merge into your lane when it clearly shouldn't, 180 mph feels like warp speed as you're standing on the brakes to avoid imminent disaster.
Thankfully, the 2020 BMW Alpina B7 is a sedan capable of not only comfortably achieving crazy cruising speeds, but bringing them to a halt without a hint of drama. And what do you know, it's a hoot off the highway, as well.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this refreshed B7, let's talk about Alpina and its relationship with BMW. In Germany, Alpina is an independently owned and operated automaker, but it works exclusively with BMW. The company tunes everything from the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series sedans to the X3 and X4 SUVs, and sells them with Alpina-specific VINs. It's even got a nice side hustle in the high-end wine distribution business. (If you're ever in Buchloe, go check out the wine cellar.)
Don't let its front-wheel-drive architecture scare you. BMW's upcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe looks to be a fun little sport sedan.
It's not just odd for the sake of being odd.
BMW's continent-crushing ADV bike is a willing participant in whatever harebrained scheme you come up with, and that's why we love it.
I hit the California coast on BMW's legendarily capable adventure motorcycle.
Covering great distances at great speeds is what BMW's new Alpina B7 does best.
Most of it isn't new to the world, just the US, but there are still some amazing cars in the lineup.
The 840i trim brings the 8 Series' base price down, which is nice.
The project was first announced about two years ago.