By KBB.com Editors
With more than a dozen versions, including two lengths, three engines, two hybrid variants, available all-wheel drive, and a performance-oriented quartet from Alpina, the 2012 BMW 7 Series sedan offers something for most every very affluent buyer. Adjustable suspension and steering allows 7 Series owners to tune the car to their changing moods. Prices for the 6-cylinder BMW 740i start just over $70,000, while a V12-powered BMW 760Li can run past $140,000. Rivals for the 7 Series include both the S-Class and CLS-Class from Mercedes-Benz, the Lexus LS 460 and the Audi A8.
There's not a lot that's not to love about the 2012 BMW 7 Series. If you must regularly and quickly shuttle three NFL or NBA players in comfort, the longer "L" version of the 7 Series is an ideal choice.
Those who must have the latest version of a vehicle should wait until the updated 2013 BMW 7 Series arrives in the summer of 2012.
Changes from the 2011 BMW 7 Series are very minor. They include an iPod/USB adapter and a rear-view camera on all models. The 2012 7 Series is the last for this body style.
Driving Impressions The 2012 BMW 7 Series needs only a couple of things to make it the perfect open Interstate cruiser: a much higher speed limit (especially the V8 versions) and other...drivers who stay right except to pass. A rural Interstate with a 70-mph speed limit allows but a glimpse of this sedan's abilities. The 750i is a prime example. Its taut suspension, precise steering and aerodynamic bodywork made the BMW 750i feel as if it was on a warm-up jog. The adjustable suspension, which comes standard on all 7 Series models, increased ride harshness without noticeably improving handling prowess. The most aggressive suspension setting disarms the electronic stability control, which is not a good idea in a car like the 750i as the 400-horsepower V8 can overwhelm the rear tires if the driver is harsh with the throttle. The BMW 7 Series was less stellar on curvy back roads: It's a challenge to make two tons plus rapidly change directions.
The head-up display shows both vehicle speed and key navigation instructions on the windshield. Many who can afford a BMW 7 Series have older eyes and the head-up display eliminates time wasted changing focus from speedometer and navigation screen to the road ahead.
With a huge 450 lb-ft of torque available at a very low 1,700 rpm and a peak of 400 horsepower, the silky V8 in the BMW 750i is amazing. In the Alpina B7 version of the 7 Series, this engine makes 500 horsepower.
Owners of BMW 7 Series would be wise to memorize location and functions of its various controls before hitting the highway. We spent far too much time looking down into the cockpit – and away from the road ahead – attempting to use the controls for the sound system, adjustable suspension and navigation. Many switches are centered around the iDrive controller, which makes it difficult to select them by touch. While it's likely an owner would soon become familiar with the locations, other family members and casual drivers will be overwhelmed with options. Even the regular-length version offers more than adequate rear legroom.Exterior
The BMW 7 Series can't match its smaller siblings for true sportiness, but those who want that image can select the M Sport option package, which adds sporty looking bodywork. xDrive versions have badges that let everyone know that this particular vehicle sends power to all four wheels and not just the rears. A curiosity: The xDrive badges have a capital "X" followed by "drive" in smaller letters. The Alpina B7 versions of the 2012 7 Series are easy to spot, thanks in part to 20-spoke, 21-inch-diameter wheels and front and rear spoilers.
The 2012 BMW 7 Series is a large vehicle and the standard park distance control helps prevent dinging expensive bodywork. All BMW 7 Series come with a navigation system. Except for 6-cylinder models, the 7 Series comes standard with Nappa leather seating surfaces and 19-inch wheels. Door slamming is eliminated with an automatic, electric-motor-driven "soft close" feature, which is standard on all V8- and V12-equipped cars.
Great for today's distracted drivers is the 2012 BMW 7 Series' optional driver assistance package, which includes lane-departure warning, active blind-spot detection, and the head-up display of speed and navigation instructions. The M Sport package offers a choice of several 19- or 20-inch wheels fitted with performance tires. Also in the M Sport offering is a special steering wheel and aerodynamic add-on body parts. A stand-alone option is active cruise control, which is a very useful feature in heavy slow-and-go traffic.
An inline 3.0-liter 6-cylinder, a 4.4-liter V8 and a 6.0-liter V12, all turbocharged, are offered in the 2012 BMW 7-Series. Three versions of V8 are available. In the BMW 750i, 750Li and 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive, the V8 reaches a peak of 400 horsepower. When massaged by Alpina for the B7, the V8 reaches impressive peaks of 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The Alpina B7 is offered in both regular and long wheelbase version and in rear- and all-wheel drive. The V12 and ActiveHybrid models have 8-speed automatic transmissions, while the others have 6-speed automatics.
740i and 740Li
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
315 horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg
750i, 750i xDrive, 750Li and 750Li xDrive
4.4 liter turbocharged V8
400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 mpg (750i), 14/22 mpg (750Li), 14/20 (750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive)
ActiveHybrid 750i and ActiveHybrid 750Li
4.4 liter turbocharged V8; electric motor: 20 horsepower, 155 lb-ft of torque
455 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm (total combined)
515 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-3,000 rpm (total combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg
4.4 liter turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg
6.0 liter turbocharged V12
535 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
550 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2012 BMW 7 Series ranges from about $72,000 for the 6-cylinder 740i to almost $150,000 for the V12-powered 760Li. The V8-powered BMW 750i starts just above $85,000, while the 750Li xDrive can reach almost $127,000. A check of Kelly Blue Book's Fair Purchase Prices shows that the 7 Series is selling at less than MSRP. While the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the 7 Series' traditional rival, the sportier CLS-Class is a better match. The CLS-Class has a starting MSRP of just over $72,000, with the most-expensive models coming in just short of $100,000. The Audi A8 4.2 Quattro starts just under $80,000, while the A8 L W12 Quattro goes for about $162,000.
Our experts project that the BMW 7 Series' residual value will challenge or surpass its high-end German opposition.
By Njcrafters (TX) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Wicked fast but so smooth! Stunningly beautiful."
Cons: "Run flats, kind of glitchy technology, & poor mpg"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Absolutely love my 750L. Striking good looks. I still stare when another one passes by. Performance is exhilarating. Passing and highway ramps are nothing short of an awe/jealousy inspiring feat. 80 feels like the perfect highway cruising speed so watch out! Downside: run flats scare me but I haven't had any issues. Yes, they are expensive but I'm most concerned that I'll need a replacement when I'm not near a big enough city to keep these specialized tires stocked. The second downside seems to be part of owning a German car... I have sensor lights go off and other gremlins that have put me on a first name basis with the service department. Granted, none have left me stranded. Its just life with a German car - sort of like a high maintenance spouse. Totally worth it - but frustrating when it gives you grief. Service department tells me 7's have more little glitches than other BMW's just because its always their newest technology. Third con: mileage is terrible - like its 1972 and gas is 25 cents a gallon terrible. Some tell me "if you can afford a 7, you can afford the gas." However, if you drive non-highway a lot, this car will fetch you between 14 and 16. Highway city combo pushes it up to about 17/18. I apologize for my carbon footprint in advance. All said, I would buy again. Nothing matches the driving enjoyment and luxury of a 7."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Tuff (FL) on Saturday, February 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Noisy run flats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Run flat tires are so noisy I thought there was a wheel bearing issue. My truck rides quieter than this car. Dealer and BMW won't do anything. Only 12,000 miles. They told me to turn the radio up. Last BMW I will buy. This is the best they can do for $80k? Do yourself a favor and never buy a BMW. What a disgrace. Annoying convenience features. Why do I have to pull the handle twice to open the door? The navigation is terrible. I use my iPhone for nav. The list goes on. I really hate this car and can hardly wait to to trade it!"
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Ed (NJ) on Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "dont drive through water,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have owned or leased BMW 3 series, and 2 5 series for my wife with good results but to small for me. I have always driven a SUV and made the switch to the 7 series. great car, it has plenty of power, drives well over 120 mph, great cockpit, and a real head turner. The issues I have had were mostly with the dealer. The car pulled to the right since new, after two trips to the dealer they informed my it was in line. So I gave up, the lease will be up before the tires ware out. One thing to be aware of I went through 18" of water and it destroyed the engine. The intake in at the bottom. The car was down for 6 weeks for a new (rebuilt enging)"
16 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Too old for this car (TX) on Wednesday, August 01, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,200overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "Front seat comfort."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Uncomfortable for my age and body build, as I become uncomfortable after 15-20 minutes of driving (front seat too narrow). Had to replace front brake pads at just 20,000 miles. Tires will not last another 10,000. Trunk closer malfunctioned and could not close trunk from full open. Parking sensors must be manually turned on, unless backing up. Pretty car, inside and out. Just not for me."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By josh (AR) on Friday, July 13, 2012
I owned and sold this car
Reason: engine problem - My approximate mileage is 29,000
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I owned 2009 750 LI bought it brand new from showroom floor, I had bad experience, we just kept coming back to dealership without any answer what is going on with the car.everytime we bring the car back to dealearship,they just told me there was a code in the system and they just clear the code. the engine keep shaking everytime we stopped in the traffic or made full stop. we were in branson,MO once and caught on traffic and the engine shaking and almost shut dowm in the middle of the hill. I have 3 years old girl sitting at the back seat and we just thankful because of the traffic or otherwise somebody might hit us from the back. we called BMW dealer and told them what happened,and they told us to bring the car in.we took the car to the dealer but they said they did not find anything wrong with the car again they said there is a code in the computer and they just reset the code. it is not worth it to buy almost $100k car but have a lot of problem that they can not find what is wrong with it. we really dissapointed.......till we trade the car with MB. AS far as the design and the comfort we do like it but, it is just a waste of time if everytime we need to go back and forward to the dealership and they do not know how to fix it"
19 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By one (NY) on Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Better gas millage than what the current rating is"
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have had and reveeried other seven series, this is the best seven series to date, many refinements that make this an exceptional value. When I reached 25k miles, the vehicle was just breaking in. At this point, I am experienceing a whole new vehicle. Will hold on to this vehicle until a new design comes forth to replace this current one, but I believe that this model's sexiness will not be surpassed."
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful