It’s been a loooong while since I’ve participated in CC. One might also term it “a stretch”. So it’s only fitting that I would return with a short piece about a long car. Finding a V12-powered limo in the streets of Bangkok was a sure sign that, after a couple months of lurking, it was time to resurface…
It was yet another sweltering day, during the so-called Thai “winter”. I was passed by a big black 7-Series from the turn of the century. It took me a little while to register that this 20-year-old 750iL was not quite the common-or-garden variety, but the 750iXL, marketed as the L7. Nice work, BMW. Take heed, Mitsuoka and countless others. This is how to do a (modest) 25cm stretch with a minimum of fuss and awkwardness.
This generation of L7 remains the longest production BMW ever made. To date, it is also the marque’s only attempt at a “proper” limo since the stillborn 505, back in the ‘50s. A glimpse from BMW’s catalogue shows an opulence that rivals the contemporary Maybach, Rolls-Royce or Toyota Century, with none of the overwrought styling that usually characterizes these über-limos. A little under 900 L7s were made from 1997 to 2001. Not sure about the number of RHD models, but it’s safe to say fewer than 40% (more likely 10%) of that total were sold as right-hookers.
So to answer the title question: they’re too damn rare. But they’re also quite affordable, as befits a 20-year-old V12 Bimmer. A bit of web browsing proved that there are at least three in Thailand – one of which was sold recently for THB 1.1m (about US$ 36,000). That’s the price of a new Mazda 3 in these parts. Imagine that. A locally-made 4-cyl. shopping cart versus a Rubenesque Bavarian Autobahn eater.
I know which one I’d go for.