BMW has traditionally taken large measures to set its biggest sedan platform apart. In the case of the first 7, the E23, BMW offered an ultra-luxury oriented version replete with full leather accoutrements inside. Dubbed the “L7″, it was an expensive and very exclusive model. When BMW moved on to the E32, it distinguished the large lineup with an extended wheelbase model which added 5” of legroom. This matched the long standard extended wheelbase S-Class models, but Audi had outdone BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their D11 chassis Lang V8 quattro, which added a full foot (30 cm) to the wheelbase of the normal V8 quattro. Having also stepped up the motor in the E32 to the double-six 5 liter M70 V12, BMW was left with a few options when it came to the next 7; they took all of these items and combined them into one ultra-luxurious, ultra-long wheelbase 750iL:
With two exceptions, to me the 7-series has always been a bit of an awkward sell. The E32 and E38 being the outsiders, for the most part the translation of BMW’s sporting tradition to a large sedan format hasn’t always been a beautiful marriage. Newer models seem large and ungainly, ponderous rolling technological showrooms. I’m sure they’re impressive in their own ways, but since the introduction of the S8, Audi has always done the large sports sedan better and the AMG models have been nuttier than anything BMW offered. But back in the 1980s, the E23 was the large sedan out of place. Looking like a stretched E12 after one too many trips to the buffet, the E23 competed against the technologically advanced Audi 5000 Turbo quattro and the more luxury oriented standby W126 Mercedes-Benz lineup. And while it wasn’t about to get all nerdy to compete with the C3 Audis, BMW did attempt to sway the Mercedes-Benz faithful with upscale versions of the E23 and E24 – the L7 and L6 – to compete against the SEL and SEC. They sported mostly cosmetic upgrades and one heck of a leather-wrap job inside:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW L7 on eBay
Shortly after the E38 BMW 7 series was introduced, the company resurrected a name from the 1980s to grace one very special 7 series. The L7. The first L7 was based on the E23 7 series and appeared for but one model year in 1986. This 7 series featured leather upholstery throughout with a leather dashboard and door padding, a power glass moonroof and a driver’s side airbag.
For the E38 though, the L7 badge would mean something a little more special. First, one notices the extra length. Ten inches longer aft of the B-pillar, this car was designed with rear passenger comfort in mind. Leather upholstery throughout was standard, of course, as was the V12 engine. A full length console ran down the center of the rear seats, with electric adjustments for both rear seats and a refrigerator behind tucked away behind the folding armrest. Tray tables like what you would see in a Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas were on hand, as well. Just 899 of these long-wheelbase 7 series were produced, with the bulk being produced in 1997 – 265 examples. This particular L7 is on offer south of Stuttgart in the direction of the Swiss border.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW 750iL L7 on eBay
And now for a 7 series that is a bit more serious. Not an “M7” but the uncommon L7, which was an official, one-year only,…