The E38 models were offered with either a five-speed automatic or manual transmission; 740i 740iL and 750i/iL had a 5-speed ZF automatic standard, 730d and 740d a GM-sourced five-speed automatic. The engine variants in Europe were 725tds, 728i, 730i, 730d, 735i, 740i (4.0 and 4.4 L), 740d and 750i (with a 5.4L 322bhp (240kW) engine, as was used in the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph).
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.