BMW’s largest passenger vehicle line, the 7 Series, enters 2005 virtually unchanged, with only a few adjustments to option packages.
The series is available as the 745i and long-wheelbase 745Li, both powered by a 4.4-litre V8, and the top-of-the-line, long-wheelbase-only 760Li, with a 6.0-litre V12. Both use a six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic manual mode.
Features on the 745i include 18-inch wheels, adaptive automatic headlamps with high-pressure washers, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles and wiper rest area, self-charging keyless remote, heated door locks, soft-close trunk lid, four-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power sunroof, heated leather seats with 14-way driver and 12-way passenger power adjustment, driver position memory, iDrive system, BMW cellular phone system, navigation system, BMW assist with emergency button, voice system control, and six-CD player with ten speakers, including two subwoofers.
The 745Li adds 20-way adjustable front seats with active headrests, two-position passenger memory, rear foot wedges, and front and rear bumper chrome trim strips.
The 760Li adds 19-inch wheels, electronic damper control, self-levelling rear air suspension, park distance control, rear-seat side thorax airbags, electronically-adjustable rear headrests, rear seat pyrotechnical tensioning system, automatic trunk lid, soft-close doors, illuminated V12 logos on the door sills, front ventilated active seats, heated rear seats with 14-way power adjust and two-position memory, rear seat ventilation, electric rear window sunshades, full Nasca leather, 13 speakers with two subwoofers, trunk mounted six-DVD system, and rear iDrive system with screen.
The 7 Series is the optimum in luxury but with considerable horsepower and the handling ability of a much smaller sports sedan. Despite its size, it never feels like you’re the captain of a land yacht, calling for port and starboard. The V8 is nice, but the V12 is heavenly; put your foot down, and the 760Li takes off like a rocket. (In the U.S. you can buy the 760i, which is the V12 stuffed into the smaller and lighter short-wheelbase car, but it’s unavailable in Canada. Pity.) The iDrive system became somewhat simpler in 2004, but there are still a lot of controls up front to keep you busy. No luxury is overlooked, from massaging seats to a suede headliner, and you can even order a two-bottle refrigerator, which sits behind the rear armrest and keeps the Tattinger at just the right temperature. Now that’s stylin’.
The 7 Series is built in Germany.