The 2013 BMW 7-Series is available in a wide range of models--and in two different sedan body styles. Models designated with an 'L' get five inches of additional wheelbase, most of which goes to additional back-seat legroom.
740i and 740Li models get a 315-horsepower, 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-aluminum engine has twin turbochargers, variable-cam technology and direct injection, all of which help it produce strong torque output at low revs--a full 330 pound-feet from 1,600 rpm. These models now feature available xDrive, which helps improve on-the-road traction and stability and normally sends 60 percent of power to the rear wheels.
BMW 750i and 750Li come powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 making 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft. At the top of the lineup is the flagship 760Li, with a 6.0L V12 engine making 535 horsepower. Both 750s and the 760Li utilize the 8-speed automatic transmission.
Two other models cater to very specific crowds, radically different from each other. The Alpina B7 gets a special 500-hp, twin-turbo version of the V8, huge 21-inch wheels, and Dynamic Damping Control with Active Roll Stabilization, an adjustable suspension system designed to bring the handling benefits of a high-performance sedan without the harsh ride. There's also an ActiveHybrid 7 model that combines the 3.0L twin-turbo inline-6, 8-speed automatic transmission and electric motor system with lithium-ion battery technology, enabling zero-to-60 acceleration in just 5.6 seconds.
All 7-Series models come with an auto stop-start system and a Brake Energy Regeneration system that helps save energy by managing the alternator to charge more when coasting or braking.
The 7-Series also has a host of electronics that not only help increase safety and stability but help the 7-Series drive like a smaller sedan. xDrive models come with Hill Descent Control, which can help keep speed within a set speed between 6 and 15 mph on very steep, slippery (snow-covered or icy) inclines. There's also an Integrated Chassis Management system that individually applies the brakes and throttle individually and helps xDrive-equipped cars handle better. All 7-Series models come with an excellent double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, bringing a very responsive feel without ignoring ride comfort. Long-wheelbase (740Li and 750Li) versions come with a self-leveling air spring system for heavier loads, and back-seat space in those vehicles is vast. The front seats in all 7-Series models are firm but long-distance comfortable and very adjustable.
Electronic Damping Control, which gives the driver a choice of Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes, also comes with all 7-Series models. It controls the attitude of the electronic stability control system, along with throttle responsiveness, shift behavior and steering assist. The optional Integral Active Steering system adds even more responsiveness, by actually steering the rear wheels (less at higher speeds) to help with maneuverability up to about 75 mph.
Available high-tech features in the 7-Series include swiveling adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, a head-up display, Active Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection. A Night Vision system is also on the options list. And for those who prefer to have others do the driving, there's a Luxury Rear Seating Package that brings rear ventilated seats with massage.
For 2013, BMW's flagship 7-series sedans get updated powertrains and a revised exterior treatment.
Transmissions in all models are replaced by BMW's new 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. To save fuel, auto stop-start and regenerative braking appear in all models, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is now available on the 740Li. The 750i features an upgraded 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8, now with BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing system. The engine now makes 445 hp, a 45-hp increase over last year's unit, and 480 ft-lb of torque. In the ActiveHybrid 7, the previous 4.4L twin-turbo V8 has been replaced by the 3.0L inline-6 found in the 740i, mated to a 55-hp synchronous electric motor and the eight-speed transmission. The system produces 349 hp and 367 ft-lb of torque.
Outside, the 7 Series also features a new grille and front fascia, and can be ordered with adaptive LED headlamps.