2020 BMW 7 Series sails beyond flagship territory
The BMW 7 Series sedan has been the German carmaker’s flagship for the model’s entire existence. As the epitome of what BMW can do, the 7 carries with it an expansive interior, advanced technologies, and lots of power. The 2020 model continues that venerable history, while making some changes.
The most obvious of those changes is the new look for the BMW 7, with a prominent new grille bringing our greatest complaint about the car. The kidney grille is gone and in its place is an oversized set of chipmunk teeth. By itself, this fascia is kind of comical, but when viewed with the whole car in perspective, it’s not quite as terrible. Luxury designs seem to be going towards the “gaping maw” look for front grille work (we're looking at you, Lexus). Maybe we’re just out of touch?
Other changes to the 7 Series exterior include new shapes for the front and rear lighting, and some changes to the rear deck and bumper. These add a little more modern chic to the BMW 7 and improve the overall sportiness of the sedan.
More changes can be found underneath the hood. The 2020 model comes with four engine options, each denoted by the model numbers after the 7, as well as a plug-in hybrid option. The base model is the 740i with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that outputs 335 hp (250 kW), followed by the 750i with its 4.4-liter V8 outputting 523 horses (390 kW). Next up is the 745e iPerformance that uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter six and an electric motor to produce 389 hp (290 kW) as a plug-in hybrid. At the top of the food chain is the M760i, which has a massive 6.6-liter V12 that pumps out 601 hp (448 kW).
The 740i starts out at a cool US$86,450 before delivery as the entry point into BMW’s superclass sedan. Despite that it’s pretty loaded, with adaptive air suspension, powered door closing (all four plus trunk), a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, navigation, in-car Wi-Fi, and more. Even a Harman Kardon sound system is standard equipment, as is forward collision warning with pedestrian detection (since it can be difficult to see the plebs when one’s nose is turned so high).
In all seriousness, though, the 750i is really where it’s at with the BMW 7 Series. The 2020 model has a wonderfully powerful, newly updated V8 that quietly purrs when idling and grunts loudly when pressed hard. Most of the time, its rumble is a light undertone hinting at the power available and always ready to deliver when asked. This breeds the kind of confidence that someone spending six figures on a car should expect. The premium leather and added head-up display don’t hurt either.
Complaints about the boatishness of the new 7 Series have been rampant in automotive reviews. Frankly, we didn’t notice it. No, this big sedan isn’t a corner hugger akin to the smaller and more dynamic German options out there. It shouldn’t be. It’s a huge luxury sedan with a ridiculously posh interior. There’s a system to scan the roadway and proactively adjust suspension settings to changes noted, for hell’s sakes. That’s not exactly a race car item there.
What the 2020 BMW 750i and its brethren have is one of the most expensively good interiors you can buy. BMW managed to keep its generally austere personality intact with the 7, but did so without compromising and leaving out serious luxury. Massaging seats (all around, if you want), interior lighting by mood, scent options for interior air ... there’s a lot of features bordering on over-the-top in this big Bimmer. None of which is meant to aid race track cornering.
For infotainment, the 7 Series has BMW’s latest screen interface with its tried and tested command knob input. The knob takes some getting used to, but a new feature for BMW helps soften that blow. You can talk directly to the car. No button push required, just say “Hey, B-M-W.” Admittedly, the conversation is limited and the ability for the car to always recognize what’s being asked is not perfect, but it’s a big step forward. We’ve sampled a similar system from Mercedes-Benz and find theirs to be much better at understanding our speech. Adding onto BMW’s in-car voice system, though, is the ability to integrate Amazon’s Alexa with the car as well, including many of the tools you likely use on your device at home.
Most of the love in a car like the 2020 BMW 7 Series is in its beauty. Not just what’s seen from outside, but what’s felt when driving it. The 750i has confidence, demands attention, but doesn’t fatigue the driver with needy quirks. The BMW 750i is what a high-end sedan should feel like. There’s nothing else comparable in automotive to high-end cars like this. And it must be experienced to be understood.
Product Page: 2020 BMW 7 Series