By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 11/19/2012
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.What's New for 2013
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.