In the Americas, the models were sold as the 740i, 740iL and 750iL. The 740i and 740iL share the same 4.4L V8 engine. The 740iL is essentially a long-wheelbase 740i (hence the "L" in the model name). The considerably rarer 5.4L V12-powered 750iL was only available as a long-body. The 750iL was BMW's flagship sedan.
Features of the E38 7 Series included high-pressure headlight washers, auto-leveling xenon HID headlamps, power moonroof, a sound system with 14 speakers and four subwoofers as well as 6-disc CD changer, onboard satellite navigation and rain-sensing wipers. Other features included an automatic climate control system with separate controls for the driver and passenger, a three-position memory system for the driver’s seat, safety-belt height, new steering wheel and outside mirrors. Front-seat side airbags and a Head Protection System (HPS) were also standard. The car featured an all-leather interior with burl walnut trim. The continuous-motion Active Comfort Seat technology was introduced in 1998 to improve comfort and reduce fatigue for the driver and front passenger.
The base prices in 2001 were US$62,900 for the 740i, US$66,900 for the 740iL and US$92,100 for the 750iL.
740iL and 750iL Protection Line light-armored vehicles were built from 2000-2001, and cost US$99,100 and US$124,400, respectively. These models included body armor, bullet-resistant glass and run-flat tires.
A rare European executive V12-powered stretch limousine was also produced, called the BMW L7.
When the E38 was phased out in 2001 to make way for the new E65, sales of E38s increased noticeably in the car's final months of production as people moved to buy the car before it was replaced. The E65's radical styling and iDrive was not initially well-received by consumers, so used E38s increased in value as demand increased. Also contributing to the E38's continued popularity was its appearance in several films such as Tomorrow Never Dies and The Transporter. Even though it was the only featured car in the series to be replaced the following year, the E38 featured in the BMW Film Ambush.