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
By Bobbo on Thursday, August 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is the 740i with the big six. Good fuel economy, a great ride and excellent handling. The twin-turbo six banger is a really good match for this body.The eight-banger is overkill for this car."
12 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By jmpp on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great to drive ,luxury is top notch,good value"
Cons: "nice if BMW offered a built in radar detector"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Beautiful car exceptional interior and great to drive.I upgraded the interior to nappa leather it is worth the money.The car drives better than anything else in its class,I tried the competitors.I also have the on window display and it is great with the speed limits posted next to your speed.The map directions also post to the windshield and are excellent notifying your of turns audibly well in advance.I also have the surround camera for parking another great feature for the city.The finishings are superb quality and nothing comes close for drive-ability."
14 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By HOSS on Sunday, June 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great suspension, great backseat"
Cons: "Lack of storage space in armrest, bad gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Had this car for about 2 weeks now. Beautiful ride, esp. in the Comfort setting. In the other settings (Normal, Sport, Sport+), it holds the road like super glue! Excellent suspension. I can take a corner or curve at a moderately high speed and the passengers don't have to grab on the handle above to hang on; they just don't feel it. This is my first BMW. It has a very hands-on, "muscular", performance-oriented feel. That does not mean you have to be a race car driver to appreciate it; it is a pleasure to drive in town too. What I mean is that it is a more "engaging" feeling. It is just a pleasure to drive. I don't know how to describe it any better than that. The sound system is great but you have to adjust it for optimum performance. Back seat (on Li model) is huge. Backseat passengers say they can't feel bumps, etc. even in Normal mode. Downsides: Gas mileage. Specs say 14 in town, I barely get 13. Also, center armrest does not have very much storage room. Also, back-up camera makes everything look far away when in fact it is not, and no way to adjust this. But the park assist will beep if you get too close so you should not hit anything. In addition, there is an annoying delay when accelerating due to the electronic throttle control. This is esp. pronounced in Normal mode. Apparently this is due to the drive by cable system. But there are devices that you can buy to counteract this (less than $300). Also feels strange when decelerating, but I think it is due to the ETC also. Sport mode bucks at 30 mph -- not sure if this is the way it is or an issue with this particular car. Before buying this car, I looked at the S550 and the Equus (among other things). The S550 has the better interior, hands down. But the ride is very delicate. The best analogy is a show horse (S550) vs. a good riding horse (BMW)."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Vegaschef on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my 14th BMW 7 Series since 1992 and I keep coming back to buy the new model every 2 years. This car is the ultimate luxury car. I also own a RR and this car is far more enjoyable to drive. The technology is amazing. I can't wait to take delivery of my new 2015 750. I'm sure the folks at BMW have made it an even more amazing car than the one I currently own but I'm just not sure what they could have added to do it."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Alley Cat on Thursday, May 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish Looks, Speed, Comfort, Handeling, Power!"
Cons: "Fuel Consumption, Turning Radius."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car is responsive, fast but also very comfortable. I just came out of an S Class and although I really enjoyed the comfort, the handling of the 750 is just remarkable. Don't purchase if gas consumption is your #1 concern. Run flats are new to me so I will have to return in about 10,000 miles to let you know how things go but this car is awesome to drive and even better to look at. I wish the trunk space was larger, even with no spare there is little luggage space. The folks in the back seat are super comfortable and have plenty leg room. I'm never there :-) I purchase this vehicle as "Certified" but given I know the previous owners and they loved it but upgraded to the 14 I know I have a wonderful machine."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mush on Friday, May 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive when it works"
Cons: "Not reliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The fuel injector had to be replaced at 15000 miles!!! it stopped without warning on the road. Cannot believe this could happen to such expensive car. So had to wait for roadside assistance which was terrible in middle of night. I plan to sell this car soon. The battery died at 12000 miles!! What a joke. So please look for a better car for the money you end."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful