2008 BMW 7-Series Review
This review was written when the 2008 BMW 7-Series was new.
The BMW 7-Series offers outstanding ride and handling for its large size, and an interior that's competitive with the finest of production cars. However, its electronics interface remains needlessly confusing, and its dependability scores are below what buyers at this price point expect.
The 2008 BMW 7-Series is the flagship of the German luxury brand most associated with high-performance driving. It carries that heavy mantle well, with refined driving dynamics that call to mind smaller, more obviously nimble cars. Forbes says the 7-Series "defies its size with athletic moves." Remarkably, the big car accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in under six seconds, and the automotive press repeatedly praises the handling of the car -- yet it weighs over half a ton more than rivals like the Lexus LS.
The 2008 BMW 7-Series comes as a 750i, 750Li and 760Li. Both 750 models are powered by a 4.8-liter V8 putting out 360 horsepower. The 760 Li is powered by an impressive 6.0-liter V12 putting out 438 hp. All models feature BMW's iDrive user interface, designed to control all of the car's electronics through a single device, which is theoretically simple to use. But the automotive press has repeatedly criticized it as confusing and pined for BMW to return to simple knobs and buttons. Since the 7-Series has more advanced features than any other BMW, its iDrive interface is the most advanced -- or the most frustrating, for those who haven't mastered the system.
The 7 also suffers from relatively low reliability scores for its highly-competitive class. J.D. Power long-term dependability studies have revealed more problems, particularly with cabin features, than buyers at this price point expect.
This is the final year for this generation of the 7-Series. An all-new model debuts in the 2009 model year. If you're in the market for a Super Luxury Sedan, you might also consider the Audi A8 or the Mercedes-Benz S Class.
- "This is a car that can quickly take intrepid drivers to cornering limits they wouldn't dare explore further unless on a racetrack." -- Forbes
- "Once rolling -- and once the navigation, sound, climate, shift points, and other transport details have been set -- the 750i is a delight to drive.." -- Boston Globe
- "The latest edition of BMW's 750Li sedan may be the perfect car for effortless and entertaining long-distance touring." -- Detroit News
- "This big sedan is so smooth that full days at the wheel are never taxing, and it's a great refuge in commuter traffic. It's easy to drive the 7 Series well, even on winding mountain roads, and few luxury sedans can keep up with it at high speeds." -- New Car Test Drive
- "It's always been fantastic to drive, enough so that we've given the car two Automobile All-Star awards since 2002. But times have changed, and Mercedes-Benz has improved upon the winning BMW formula. With the exception of the brakes...the S550 outclasses the 750Li in every way." -- Automobile Magazine