The BMW L7 was designed as an exclusive limousine 7 Series model and was launched by the German manufacturer in 1997.
This model featured a longer wheelbase (by 25 cm) used exclusively to improve rear-seat comfort. It was also equipped with a 5.4L V12 engine delivering 326 hp and a 5-speed Adaptive Transmission.
Some of the luxury features on this model include electrically adjustable rear seats, leather upholstery, electric rear blind and side blinds, electric sunroof, rear footrests, fold down rear trays, illuminated rear vanity mirrors, rear television screen, video player and a mobile high tech command centre with an integrated fax and computer (connected to the internet). The L7 was also equipped with plenty of active & passive safety components, including side head airbags or side intrusion protection system. It was discontinued in 2001 when the E38 platform was replaced by the E65/66 one.
The L7 is a truly unique car that was hand assembled off the production line.
Only 899 were ever produced, and of that, only 71 were in the RH drive version. In Australia we were lucky enough to see 6 of the 71 RHD L7’s.
These are the only E38’s produced with an entirely painted body shell. The standard E38 has a matt finished engine bay and the under floor panel, whereas the L7 is painted in full gloss paint over the entire car.
A 25cm extension has been added to the vehicle between the front and rear doors. This was done by adding a second B pillar and the extension part is actually a rear door bolted onto the pillar that is 25cm long. It still has door hinges and a catch attached to the panel! Very clever engineering.
BMW only delivered them to limited countries such as Japan, Australia and Dubai or generally only where the very wealthy people could afford to buy them. As they were priced at $375,000 from new.
Another interesting thing is that not all the L7’s are the same. They are quite different depending on what options you requested and this one is only a 4 seater (not a 5 seater), with no fax facility and no divider wall between the driver and the rear seat passengers. It does have a refrigerator and champagne glass holders in the rear compartment.
We think they all had the fully electric rear seats (with memory) and seat heaters. The double glazed glass keeps the outside noise down to an amazingly quiet ride on the inside. Even the V12 engine is so quiet you can hardly hear it running and the automatic gear changes are so smooth you can’t feel it change gears. Perfect for not spilling the champagne!
The options are amazing for the rear passengers because they can fully adjust/override the front seat positions, the radio volume & stations, make phone calls, set their own temperature setting on their own climate control panel, close all the blinds and damn near have a party in the back. It’s a huge area for a standard road car!
In 09/1998 BMW gave them a major face lift by changing lots of things such as the headlights are plastic, not glass. The tail lights are a crystal look, not like the early ones that look standard. The electrics were improved and the driveline was upgraded to the later specs. This L7 is the updated facelift model.
DISPLACEMENT 5379 cm3
POWER 240 KW @ 5000 RPM
326 HP @ 5000 RPM
322 BHP @ 5000 RPM
TORQUE 361 lb-ft @ 3900 RPM, 490 Nm @ 3900 RPM
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