2009 BMW 7-Series Interior
This interior review was written when the 2009 BMW 7-Series was new.
The cabin of the 2009 BMW 7-Series will feel familiar to BMW loyalists. The materials are of superb quality, though some say they remain a notch below those of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The electronics are advanced, and the center stack tilted toward the driver to provide the cockpit feel of a sport sedan. However, those who know the previous 7-Series might be pleased to find some of its unusual elements have been cut for 2009, with a more conventional control layout and a new, more user-friendly iDrive controller.
- "The 7 is still a driver-first car, with basic-yet-gorgeous analog gauges and a serious mien. But this 7 is less stark inside, with warmer finishes like a flowing wedge of wood along the instrument panel." - New York Times
- "Most impressive are the changes inside. Marked by horizontal color gradations, a mix of fine leather and polished woods, and a new high-tech Black Panel instrument cluster, it's the most luxurious-feeling interior yet from BMW. It's also so loaded with electronics and telematics that the owner's manual is incorporated into the entertainment system's hard drive for quick reference." -- Motor Trend
- "The interior is typical of modern BMWs, which means it's a little stark, dominated by horizontal elements on the dashboard. In this regard, it certainly looks like a successor to the current 7-series, but with vastly improved ergonomics and even better-feeling materials. Like the exterior, the interior doesn't have the visual impact or sumptuous elegance of the Mercedes S-class, but it's also completely inoffensive." -- Automobile Magazine
- "BMW also appears to have remedied to some extent another shortcoming of the previous car: styling. Inside and out, the new car is far more conservative and evolutionary, although our first impression is that the interior doesn't seem to have the richness of an S-class." -- Car and Driver
Few reviewers seem to mention the seats of the 2009 BMW 7-Series - perhaps they are distracted by the astonishing array of cabin technology. Those who do discuss the seats generally find them comfortable for short and long trips. The 16-way power-adjustable front seats are heated and ventilated, and can be ordered with an optional massage function. The rear seats recline. Legroom for rear passengers is comfortable in the 750i, and expansive in the long-wheelbase 750Li.
- "Seats are a long-haul fantasy, with built-in heating and ventilation, an optional massager and an additional adjustment for the upper seatback...In the past, I've favored the short-bus 7, but now I'm inclined to go long: the 750Li gives up almost nothing in performance, so at these prices you may as well treat passengers to the decadent back seat with its cute carpeted footrests" - New York Times
- "The 750i's 38.4 in. of rear legroom is nearly the same as a Cadillac Escalade-impressive. But the 750Li's 44.3 in. is downright indulgent, especially when the rear seats are reclined." Popular Mechanics
With the redesigned 2009 7-Series, according to most reviewers, BMW has finally perfected its much-maligned iDrive system. iDrive, which allows drivers to control most of the car's electronics through a single rotary knob, has frustrated most reviewers with its complexity since its introduction on the 2001 edition of the 7-Series.
The latest edition of the controller, however, seems to be winning over long-time iDrive skeptics. We should note, however, that you still can't order the 7 without it. Those familiar with the last 7-Series will find that many of that car's interior quirks have been eliminated for this version. Materials quality remains first rate, and the 7-Series includes virtually every modern piece of cabin technology.
- "The new iDrive, defying expectations, has gone from worst to first in the wacky world of rotary-knob systems controllers. It essentially mimics the best features of Audi's M.M.I. system and in some cases improves on them." - New York Times
- "Last time around, BMW rethought the whole business of ergonomics and moved the shifter from the center console to a somewhat confusing lever on the column. It has now been moved back. The seat controls on the previous 7 were moved to the center console and operated in a way that made them about 10 times more difficult to use. For '09 they're back on the outboard side of the seat and operate conventionally, as on every other BMW." - Car and Driver
- "The infotainment system also has a hard drive to store your music-and it can rip songs directly off of CDs. You can update the system's internal Gracenote system using one of two USB ports. The port in the glovebox can be used for software updates or to copy or play music from a memory stick. The USB port in the center console is used only to play music from a memory stick or USB-compatible device, like your iPod." -- Automobile Magazine
- "A newly developed and optimized GPS nav system with high-resolution 10.2-in. monitor (this is also the iDrive control display) is standard in the new 7 Series. The nav system offers all the usual features, plus a 3-D map views that enhances guidance through mountainous or hilly country. At smaller scales, the screen will show 3-D representations of actual buildings, useful in urban areas." - Motor Trend
The trunk of the 7-Series offers just 14 cubic feet of space - one of the smallest trunks offered in a super-luxury car. Reviewers also say the 7-Series lacks the interior storage space its rivals have to offer - long a common complaint about BMW products.
- "As before, storage is meager up front, and at 14 cubic feet, the trunk is fairly puny in the big-car league." - New York Times