BMW 7 Series
The 2015 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 improves 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 starting as low as 1,600 rpm. These models 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 740Ld xDrive is powered by a 3.0L turbo diesel inline-6 that makes 255 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 3,000 rpm.
The BMW 750i and 750Li come powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that makes 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet 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, 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 saves energy by employing clever alternator management techniques.
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 range while negotiating 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. For those who prefer to have others do the driving, there's a Luxury Rear Seating Package that brings rear ventilated seats with massage.