In the U.S., the E38 740i with the sport package in short wheelbase form (not the 740iL) is the clear choice for enthusiasts, but as a 7 Series, the E38 was also BMW’s technological leader, with innovations, features, and amenities exclusively available on the model line. Although many of these items would eventually find their way into cars like the 5 Series and 3 Series among others, the 7 Series represents the pinnacle of luxury for the BMW brand, and the V12-powered E38 750iL was the undisputed flagship.
In the twenty years since E38 production ceased, the forward march of technology has continued unabated, and many of the groundbreaking and cutting edge tech on the E38 has since become standard on even some of the most affordable cars. Somehow though, the E38 retains a certain appeal, and comes from what we often refer to as BMW’s golden age. Although its styling has been superseded by a few generations, there’s a particular understated nature of the E38 and its contemporary BMW stablemates, and its aesthetics are just one of several reasons why BMW enthusiasts regard the platform as peak 7 Series.
There’s more to the lineup than the 740i Sporty Shorty though, and in a new video by BMW Classic, hosts Marc and Christoph give us an inside look at three models which define the luxurious disposition of the third-generation 7 Series. These include a fully-loaded 1998 750iL in exemplary condition with options and features that include a heated steering wheel, a navigation system with a color display and moving map, rear tray tables, a notepad, and much more. There’s also a two-tone Canyon Red and Nepal Silver L7 designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld and BMW Individual which puts the conventional Highline models to shame with amenities such as rear seat entertainment with a VCR, a fax machine, a refrigerated minibar, two phones, a tissue dispenser, and makeup mirrors. The trifecta is completed by the 750iL which many of us remember from the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies—check out the video to see all of the features and how it was driven remotely in the movie.—Alex Tock
[Photo and video courtesy BMW AG.]