When BMW debuted the E38 7 Series back in 1995, it was more of an evolution than revolution of the previous 7 Series. It was a striking looking car, for the time, with its low, flat-nosed hood and wider kidney grills. It looks like a sporty yet sophisticated luxury car, ready to hit the autobahn at 150 mph. Its looks are still handsome and classic to this day. With the right wheels, the E38 7 Series is downright good looking today.
But it wasn’t all class and sophistication. When it wanted to, the E38 could play dirty. With a 4.0 liter V8 in the 740i and a 5.4 liter V12 in the 750i, both came in iL long wheelbase versions as well, the E38 could hit 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and 6.4 seconds, respectively. While that may not be impressive by today’s standards, it was very impressive for the time. Especially for the 750i, which, with its 322 hp, was faster than the Mustang GT of the time. The 740i’s 282 hp and 8.0 second 0-60 time wasn’t scorching, even for the time, but it was definitely respectable and kept up with everything in its class.
What was most impressive about the E38 7 Series wasn’t its straight line speed, though. What impressed most, at least in the performance department, was the handling. With a very innovative, for the time, forged aluminum, double wishbone control arms, shorter springs and a rear multilink suspension, the E38 7 Series could hang in the twisty roads. Combine that with fat tires and it had some serious grip.
But like all 7’s, the E38 was made for comfort, first and foremost. And it had that in spades. With optional “Comfort Seats” the 7 Series had the nicest chairs in the business. Even the standard seats were good, but it was the 14-way adjustable Comfort Seats that really stood out as industry leading. It also had a 14 speaker, 440 watt sound system with four subwoofers, BMW’s new Multi-Information Display, heated seats and steering wheel and, a shocker for BMW at the time, cupholders. The E38 7 Series was truly the king of opulence in the mid ’90s.
They can be had for relatively little money now, and if you can find a low mileage 750i for a good price, buy it. The E38’s combination of class, speed, handling, comfort and square-jawed good looks doesn’t in modern cars, really. It seems to be the perfect luxury car and it’s definitely one for the history books.