BMW 7-Series Interior
The 2012 BMW 7-Series’ roomy cabin and high-quality materials are well-liked by reviewers. It comes equipped with a suite of cabin tech that includes standard Bluetooth, navigation, iPod/USB connection and a 10-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 ventilated front seats, requiring buyers to add option packages to get these items. Rivals such as the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class offer these as standard equipment, as well as cabins that are more luxuriously appointed.
- “The 7-Series cabin is mostly understated, perhaps too much so for some, given this car's lofty price. Mostly black interior trim on cars we've tested largely mutes the impression of the nice interior materials and wood." -- Consumer Guide
- "As BMW's flagship, the 7 Series presents the automaker's leading edge of luxury, comfort and technology. Supple leather and rich wood accents adorn almost every surface, and the available 14-way adjustable front seats ensure comfort for virtually any body type." -- Edmunds
- "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
- "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
Auto writers say the 7-Series has roomy accommodations front and rear, as well as comfortable and supportive seats. BMW 740i models get standard power front seats with memory settings, but lack heating or ventilation. To get these features, 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 multi-contour front seats with a massage function. However, reviewers generally don’t like the seat massage as much as they do in competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While the S-Class’ adaptive seats administer a soothing back rub, the 7-Series’ massagers are designed to keep the driver alert by massaging only the seat bottom. Shoppers considering a 750i will benefit from upgraded leather and 20-way power adjustable heated front seats.
- "Plenty of headroom and legroom for even the lankiest occupants. The driver seat can be fitted with ventilation, adjustable thigh support, and an articulating back rest. The optional massage function doesn't so much ‘massage’ as adjust pressure points every few minutes, something we find of somewhat dubious value." -- Consumer Guide
- "The rear seats similarly accommodate taller adults, and the extended-wheelbase versions of the 7 Series offer even more legroom (by about 6 inches) and slightly increased headroom. Available rear seats that can heat, cool and even massage occupants should satisfy even the fussiest 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." -- The New York Times
BMW’s latest version of the iDrive system, which controls most navigation and entertainment functions, generally gets good reviews from the automotive press. The system uses a single knob to adjust settings, and although it frustrated most reviewers when it was first introduced on the 7-Series, the newest generation of iDrive is much easier to use. However, if you don’t like the iDrive you should know that you can’t order a 7-Series without it. While the 7-Series also features an interior wrapped in top-notch materials, some reviewers comment that competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Lexus LS seem more luxurious inside.
An impressive list of tech features round out the 2012 7-Series’ interior. All models come equipped with four-zone climate control, push-button start, leather, navigation, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker stereo with a 12GB hard drive to store your MP3s. If you decide to spring for a 750i or 750Li, you’ll also gain soft-closing automatic doors, upgraded leather and a power trunk lid.
- "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
- "The cockpit, with increased user-friendliness compared to its maligned predecessor, should soothe and reassure even the most technophobic driver. Some might still find the iDrive system a little tech-intensive, but BMW has commendably made the learning process more intuitive and we think it's an elegant alternative to a button-heavy dashboard." -- 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
At 14 cubic feet, reviewers say the trunk of the 7-Series is noticeably 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. However, the optional 6-disc CD changer takes up the entirety of the upper glovebox." -- Consumer Guide
- "In terms of luggage space, the 7 offers 14 cubic feet, an underwhelming figure for this class of car." -- Edmunds
- "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