By Zach Vlasuk
There are certain attributes one comes to expect in a large luxury sedan – supreme levels of comfort, cutting-edge technology and, of course, prestige. The 2013 BMW 7 Series delivers these qualities in spades in a manner that is tailored to the driving enthusiast. Powerplants range from a turbocharged 6-cylinder to a monstrous V12 and even a new hybrid. The 7 Series is also offered in standard or long-wheelbase "Li" versions, the latter providing an additional six inches of rear legroom. The upper-echelon of the automotive realm is a demanding arena, particularly when faced with competition from such segment stalwarts as the iconic Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and the new Lexus LS 460. But with the help from several key refinements, the 2013 7 Series' exclusive mix of dynamism and elegance remains stronger than ever.
If you have always longed for the opulence of a large luxury sedan, but crave the athleticism of a sports sedan, the 2013 BMW 7 Series deserves your consideration. With more than a dozen variations, including two lengths, five engine choices and available all-wheel drive (AWD), the 2013 BMW 7 Series sedan offers something for just about every affluent buyer.
High-dollar cars predictably include high-tech features. That said, the 7 Series and its wealth of sophisticated gadgetry can be a bit overwhelming for the average user. For a more user-friendly experience, we recommend you take a closer look at the Lexus LS 460.
The 2013 BMW 7 Series sees a number of improvements to its powertrains and exterior styling. Chief among these changes are a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, a 45-horsepower increase for 750 models and newly available LED headlights.
Driving Impressions BMW suspension engineers have evidently discovered a method that sidesteps the laws of physics, as the 7 Series' sharp handling belies its near 4,300-pound curb weight. Braking power is remarkably...strong and easy to modulate, while the steering provides more balanced weighting and truer response than any of its rivals. Power from the standard turbocharged 6-cylinder is adequate for day-to-day driving, though for a marginal penalty in fuel economy we recommend opting for the 445-horsepower, turbocharged V8. Both the all-out-enthusiast Alpina B7 version and the range-topping 760Li deliver the type of performance numbers once reserved for dedicated supercars. In terms of ride comfort, the 2013 7 Series dispatches bumps and road imperfections with a hardly a shake of the cabin. Selecting the Sport or Sport Plus driving mode increases suspension firmness, alters steering effort and improves throttle response.
We have all been there – wrestling our way back to the car, arms piled high with shopping bags, only to struggle further in an attempt to open the trunk without dropping our items. Luckily, BMW offers a solution: an optional hands-free trunk that opens with a simple kicking gesture under the rear bumper.
iPhone users can access various BMW-developed and 3rd-party smartphone applications like Web Radio, Facebook and Twitter through the 10.2-inch navigation system display.
As a flagship model, the 2013 7 Series is a rolling showcase for BMW's in-vehicle technology and design. The optional "multicontour" front seats adjust 20 ways to suit a variety of body shapes and sizes, while rear-seat passengers are provided an assortment of luxurious features such as seat massagers, rear-seat entertainment with two 9.2-inch displays, and power-sliding sunshades for the side windows. And while it may not be the most intuitive infotainment system on the market, the latest iteration of BMW's iDrive is light-years ahead of the 1st-generation system when it comes to ease of use.Exterior
Compared to the controversial designs of its predecessor, the 5th-generation BMW 7 Series is visually sleeker and more refined, particularly when outfitted with the striking body and wheel modifications of the available M-Sport package. The Alpina B7 offers the ultimate in individual expression on account of its signature 21-inch 20-spoke wheels, aggressive front-end styling and prominent quad exhaust pipes. Optional LED headlights complement the 7 Series' contemporary architecture, though practical-minded buyers will prefer the standard xenon setup for its superior light output.
Given its $74,000 starting price, the entry-level 2013 BMW 7 Series comes equipped with an array of high-end accouterments. Highlights include 4-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, navigation, a 16-speaker audio system with two subwoofers, adaptive headlights that swivel with the steering wheel for greater visibility around corners, and BMW's driving dynamics control with a choice five separate vehicle performance personalities. On the safety front, the 7 Series includes eight airbags, an active protection system that automatically pretensions the seatbelts when sensors detect an imminent crash and BMW Assist with emergency services like collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery and roadside assistance.
A/V buffs will find a lot to like in the new Bang & Olufsen sound system as well as the full-color head-up display, which projects pertinent driver information like speed limits and directions onto the windshield. A cabin chock-full of distracting tech features necessitates the Driver Assistance Package, which includes lane departure alerts, side- and top-view cameras that provide a more comprehensive look at the vehicle's surroundings, and an active cruise control system designed to automatically maintain a prescribed distance behind the vehicle ahead. Bespoke adornments from the BMW Individual menu are available for buyers looking to take personalization to the next level.
In typical BMW fashion, the engine lineup for the 2013 7 Series is designed to accommodate a wide variety of drivers, from the fuel-efficiency fanatics to the performance enthusiasts and everyone in between. Base 740 trims are powered by a 315-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder, while an exceptionally well-rounded turbo V8 provides motivation for the 750 model. Alpina B7 variants employ the same turbo mill, but churn out an additional 95 horsepower. For those playing the numbers game, the top-level 760Li model's turbo V12 is good for 535-horsepower and an earth-moving 550 lb-ft of torque. The heavily-revised 2013 Active Hybrid 7 enjoys a 3-mpg advantage over the standard 6-cylinder along with a 10-percent increase in horsepower. Every 7 Series model sends power to the rear wheels via a new 8-speed automatic transmission. And for extra control, the 740, 750 and Alpina B7 models all offer the year-round traction of BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system as an option.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
315 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 hybrid
350 net hybrid system horsepower @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
360 lb-ft of net hybrid system torque @ 1,300-4,500
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg
4.4-liter turbocharged V8
445 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (RWD), 16/24 mpg (AWD, Li and Li AWD)
4.4-liter turbocharged V8
540 horsepower @ 5,200-6,250 rpm
538 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
6.0-liter turbocharged V12
535-horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
550 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,000
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg
The 2013 BMW 740i starts right around $74,000, with the long-wheelbase Li version opening at just over $78,000. Adding all-wheel drive tacks an additional $3,000 to the bottom line. The limited-edition Alpina B7 begins just beyond the $131,000 mark, while top-of-the-line 760Li models carry an eye-opening sticker price of $143,000. The Lexus LS 460, Audi A8 and the Jaguar XJ also start in the $74,000 range, though the Mercedes-Benz S-Class commands a near $20,000 premium over its fellow flagship rivals. To see what others in your area are paying for the 2013 BMW 7 Series, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. In the long-run, we expect the 7 Series to maintain average 5-year resale values, besting the Audi A8 and on par with Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
By Bimmerlover (TX) on Friday, June 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "FAST, comfortable, and has swag"
Cons: "A bit too long, gas guzzler, depreciates alot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased my 740 a few years ago new because I had always love BMWs. I drove the Panamera and the S class but none seemed to compare. The 7 is just the ultimate machine! I love driving it everywhere! The gas mileage is a problem, though. However, it does get better than its heftier V8 750. The performance is spectacular and even the inline 6 outruns its competitors. Overall the design is good, and it is a great road trip car! I plan to keep it until the wheels fall off!! (That is part due to its horrible depreciating value...)"
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."
2 people out of 2 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