For 1998, BMW has added new safety features - and almost no price increase - to the 7 series, its top-of-the-line sedan.
Most notable is the Head Protection System, a tube-shaped airbag that pops out of the headliner in a side impact. BMW of North America Inc. used to call the device an Inflatable Tubular Structure.
BMW also offers rear-seat airbags as an option on all three 1998 7-series models. The importer says they are the first in the industry. Like the side bags for front-seat passengers, the side bags in the rear are mounted in the door. Suggested retail price is $385.
The 1998 7 series began arriving at U.S. dealerships this month. The rest of the 1998 lineup is due in the fall. Highlights include the six-cylinder 323is and 323i convertible, which replaces the four-cylinder 318, and a 528i Sport package.
BMW announced the following prices for the 7 series for 1998:
Standard-wheelbase 740i V-8 - $61,640.
Long-wheelbase 740iL V-8 - $65,590.
750iL V-12 - $91,890.
Prices include the $570 destination charge. They are up $220 (0.2 to 0.4 percent) over the final prices of 1997 models.
Another option: nearly unbreakable 'security glass' on long-wheelbase models, for $2,600.
The 7 series was redone almost entirely for the 1995 model year.