2011 BMW 7-Series Interior
This interior review was written when the 2011 BMW 7-Series was new.
Reviewers like the roominess of the 2011 BMW 7-Series. They also say that the materials inside the 7-Series are high quality and the cabin is equipped with a nice suite of cabin tech that includes standard Bluetooth, navigation and a ten-speaker stereo. Many test drivers are also pleased that BMW’s iDrive, which controls navigation and entertainment settings, has become easier to use than it was in previous models. Still, with the exception of the 760Li, the 7-Series skimps on features such as heated seats and iPod connectivity, requiring buyers to add option packages to get these items. Competitors like the Lexus LS and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class offer these features as standard equipment, as well as cabins that feel slightly more upscale.
- "Standard features are very lush, though; the 740's standard cabin differs from the 750's only in its lack of soft-close doors, automatic trunk, keyless start and entry, Nappa leather seats, and ’multicontour’ (read: nearly infinitely adjustable) front seats." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Climate controls are mounted low on the dash but are easy to reach. The navigation system is relatively simple to program, and the large, 10.2-inch dashboard screen shows a very clear image." -- Consumer Guide
- "As BMW's flagship, the 7 Series represents the company's pinnacle of luxury, comfort and cutting-edge technology." -- Edmunds
- "Gone are the days when people would rather sit in silence then play with the iDrive system. Rightfully criticized in the past, the system is now cleaner and far more intuitive. That being said, it still took half an hour to find the audio settings. However, we think over time, the new layout will get easier to use as the driver continues to operate it." -- Top Speed
The 7-Series offers roomy accommodations front and rear, and reviewers generally find the seats comfortable and supportive. 740i models get standard power front seats with memory settings, but lack heating or ventilation. To get these luxuries, you’ll have to buy the $1,200 Cold Weather Package to add seat heaters, or the $3,200 Luxury Seating Package, which also adds front seat ventilation and muti-contour front seats with a massage function. Reviewers generally don’t like the seat massage, which is designed to keep the driver alert by massaging only the seat bottom. Opt for the 750i and all seating surfaces get upgraded leather. The front seats are also heated and 20-way power adjustable.
- "Headroom is adequate even for six-footers. In the 750i, most adults have adequate legroom even behind a tall driver, and the Li offers limo-like legroom. The seat is very comfortable, but while it may be wide enough to squeeze three across, the center rider would have to straddle a very bulky driveline hump." -- Consumer Guide
- "Supple leather and rich wood accents adorn almost every surface and the available "multicontour" front seats ensure comfort for virtually any body type. The rear seats are similarly accommodating for taller adults, and the extended-wheelbase versions offer even more legroom (by about 6 inches) and slightly increased headroom. Available rear seat heating and even a massage feature should satisfy the most demanding of passengers." -- Edmunds
- "The front seats are nearly as comfortable as the rear ones, but the massage feature works just your thighs -- and buttocks, I must add -- to keep the driver alert. It's not a pleasant sensation." -- Cars.com
- "Seats are a long-haul fantasy, with built-in heating and ventilation, an optional massager and an additional adjustment for the upper seatback." -- New York Times
BMW’s iDrive system – which controls most navigation and entertainment functions – is not as loathed by the automotive press as it once was. The system uses a single knob to adjust settings, and it frustrated most reviewers when it was first introduced on the 7-Series in 2001. The newest generation of iDrive is much easier to use than its predecessors – but if you don’t like the interface you should know that you can’t order a 7-Series without it. Materials within the 7-Series are top notch, although some reviewers comment that competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Lexus LS feature more opulent accommodations.
The dash of the 2011 7-Series comes loaded with an impressive list of tech features. All models come equipped with four-zone climate control, push button start, leather, navigation, Bluetooth and a ten-speaker stereo with a 12GB hard drive to store your mp3s. If you decide to spring for a 750, you’ll also gain soft-closing automatic doors, upgraded leather and a power trunk lid. There is one thing missing from the list of standard features however: an iPod connection. The base stereo does have a USB port to transfer songs to the 7-Series’ hard drive, but if you want to play songs off your iPod you’ll have to add the $1,800 Premium Sound Package. This package also adds satellite radio and six additional speakers to you BMW’s stereo.
- "The cabin of the 2011 BMW 7 Series is more user-friendly than its much-maligned predecessor." -- Edmunds
- "I'm not sure who will be shopping for a long-wheelbase 7 Series. Overseas, they're the executive car of choice, allowing busy CEOs a space to decompress between board meetings. Perhaps there are enough of these power brokers in the U.S. as well, because I can't imagine any affluent parent wanting to pamper even the most spoiled child with backseat digs that are far superior to the driver's in terms of plushness and technological gadgetry." -- Cars.com
- "The centerpiece of the 7-series' user interface is, of course, its iDrive controller. Thankfully, the old iDrive's menu structures have been ditched completely, replaced by a new, much more user-friendly menu structure. " -- Automobile Magazine
- "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. " -- Motor Trend
The trunk of the 7-Series offers 14 cubic feet of cargo space – which is smaller than the 16.4 cubic feet in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the 18 cubic feet in the Lexus LS. Interior storage is also average at best – a common complaint about BMW products.
- "The trunk is spacious and nicely trimmed but the opening isn't particularly large. Inside, there's a roomy console box along with two covered cupholders, a small dash tray, and upper and lower gloveboxes." -- Consumer Guide
- "The trunk is decently sized, but not as big as you'd expect in a car this mammoth. At 14 cubic feet, it fit our department's standard-size golf bags that we test in every car, but my personal oversized bag and modern driver (the club, not the chauffeur) wouldn't fit lengthwise." -- Cars.com