2012 BMW 7 Series Review
2012 BMW 7 Series Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Smooth and powerful engines
- standout handling
- supreme long-distance capability
- sublime seats
- Clumsy throttle action in Normal mode
- high-tech features might overwhelm
- ride too firm for some.
The 2012 BMW 7 Series is no longer the athlete of the flagship luxury sedan class, but its blend of comfort, luxury and driver involvement give it wide appeal.
Edmunds.com reviews the 2012 BMW 7 Series, providing authoritative buying advice, pricing, available options, photos, specs and safety information.
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Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 BMW 7 Series 740i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$238/mo for 7 Series 740i
7 Series 740i
Avg. Large Car
Choosing a flagship luxury sedan to park in your garage is an enviable dilemma. There's pretty much no losing when your options include exotic names and alphanumeric soup like A8, Panamera and S-Class. Add to this list the 2012 BMW 7 Series, one of the sportiest and most popular luxury cruisers that blends a dynamic driving experience with practical, everyday utility.
For 2012, the 7 Series again offers a turbocharged inline-6 engine in the 740i and 740Li. Up until last year an inline-6 hadn't been seen in a 7 Series model in two decades. And although it's tempting to dismiss it as a pokey model intended as dealership traffic bait, the 740i with its 315-horsepower twin-turbo inline-6 is as quick from zero to 60 mph (5.8 seconds) as the V8-powered Lexus LS 460 and nearly matches the power of the V8 7 Series from 10 years ago.
The 7 Series is also one of the most engaging cars in the class to drive. Equipped with optional active steering, the 7 Series impresses with its ability to sweep around tight corners. Even in standard rear-wheel-drive form, it twists sharper and surer than many midsize luxury sedans. The Driving Dynamics Control (DDC) system even allows the driver to choose among four settings (including transmission response and suspension calibration) to satisfy a greater breadth of enthusiasts. We've found it hard to dial in that just-right combination of all the adjustable DDC attributes however, and we wonder if simpler would be better.
Despite its mastery, it's hard to proclaim the 2012 BMW 7 Series better or worse than other all-stars like the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Porsche Panamera. It's simply different. Depending on what you intend to spend and how much space you want, we'd suggest looking at them all. And why not? There's no way to lose.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 BMW 740i and 740Li are powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 that produces 315 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque. As with the 750, a six-speed automatic transmission is standard along with driver-adjustable settings for the throttle response, transmission programming, steering, suspension tuning and stability control intervention. Rear-wheel drive is standard.
In Edmunds testing, a 740i accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The EPA estimates the 740's fuel economy at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.
The 2012 BMW 750i and 750Li are powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, paired with a standard six-speed automatic. In Edmunds acceleration testing, the 750i and 750Li dashed from zero to 60 mph in a blink more than 5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. Opting for the Li and/or xDrive lowers those numbers by roughly 1-2 mpg.
The 2012 BMW 760Li gets a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 good for 535 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard. BMW claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 13/19/15.
Standard safety features on the 2012 BMW 7 Series include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, the 740i stopped from 60 mph in an excellent 109 feet. The heavier 750i came to rest in an equally impressive 112 feet. The 750Li was about the same.
Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure and blind-spot warning, rear and sideview cameras and infrared night vision with pedestrian detection that displays the images either in the main dash display or in the head-up display (if so equipped).
Despite its significant curb weight, the 2012 BMW 7 Series is deceptively quick. Even though it has just six cylinders, the 740i offers a prodigious swell of midrange torque. Of course, the 750 and 760 models are that much more impressive. Compared to other luxury sedans like the Lexus LS 460, the 7 Series is more athletic but also has a stiffer ride quality -- even in Comfort mode. That's not to say the ride is harsh, though. Instead, this stiffer ride results in a more engaging driving experience, making the 7 Series a luxury sedan that can also be fun to drive.
Still, steering is a mixed bag: heavier than necessary at slow speeds and somewhat numb and detached at highway velocities. One senses computers working overtime behind the scenes, not only in the steering box, but also under the hood. There's a distinct, annoying delay when you first depress the pedal and wait for the engine and transmission to process your request. Sport mode wakes things up a bit, but its shift points are a little too aggressive unless you happen to be charging back roads.
As BMW's flagship, the 7 Series presents the automaker's leading edge of luxury, comfort and technology. Supple leather and rich wood accents adorn almost every surface, and the available 14-way adjustable front seats ensure comfort for virtually any body type. The rear seats similarly accommodate taller adults, and the extended-wheelbase versions of the 7 Series offer even more legroom (by about 6 inches) and slightly increased headroom. Available rear seats that can heat, cool and even massage occupants should satisfy even the fussiest passengers.
The cockpit, with increased user-friendliness compared to its maligned predecessor, should soothe and reassure even the most technophobic driver. Some might still find the iDrive system a little tech-intensive, but BMW has commendably made the learning process more intuitive and we think it's an elegant alternative to a button-heavy dashboard. In terms of luggage space, the 7 offers 14 cubic feet, an underwhelming figure for this class of car.
2012 BMW 7 Series models
The 2012 BMW 7 Series is available in 740i, 740Li, 750i, 750Li and 760Li trims. The Li indicates the extended-wheelbase body style, while the 750 models can be equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive. There are also hybrid versions of the 750i and 750Li models reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the 740i includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated power-adjustable front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, four-zone climate control, leather upholstery and keyless ignition. Electronics features include the iDrive multimedia interface, a hard-drive navigation system with real-time traffic, BMW Assist emergency telematics, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system with a CD player, HD Radio, digital music storage, iPod and USB audio inputs, and an auxiliary audio jack.
The 750i adds 19-inch wheels, a power trunk lid, full keyless ignition/entry, soft-close automatic doors, 14-way front seats with adjustable lumbar and side bolsters and upgraded leather. These features are all available on the 740. Both the Li and xDrive models include a self-leveling air suspension.
Most options for the 740 and 750 are bundled into groups. The Premium Sound package adds a 16-speaker upgraded sound system and satellite radio. The Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel and heated seats front and rear on the 740i (they are standard on all other models). The Driver Assistance package adds automatic high beams, side and top camera views, lane departure and blind spot warning systems, and, on long-wheelbase and xDrive models, a head-up display.
The Luxury Seating package includes ventilated front seats, active front seat side bolsters and power rear and side sunshades. The Luxury Rear Seating package available on Li models adds power-adjustable and ventilated seats with a massage feature, while the M Sport package adds a choice of 19- or 20-inch wheels, an aerodynamic body kit, darkened "Shadowline" exterior trim and a sport steering wheel. A Rear Entertainment package includes a six-CD/DVD changer and twin rear display screens.
Other than the M Sport and Rear Entertainment packages, the top-of-the-line 760Li includes all the above standard and optional equipment. Integral active steering is standard on the 760Li and a stand-alone option on the others. Other notable stand-alone options for the 7 Series include active roll stabilization, active cruise control, an infrared night vision system, special interior color/trim schemes and BMW apps that integrate with iPhones and iPods.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
great car however horrible tires
sabrina Greco, 01/29/2017
2012 BMW 7 Series 740Li 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6A)
This is a great car. However we have owned 2 740LI BMWs , we have replaced 7 tires total on these cars. The run flat tires are horrible. We are constantly getting bubbles in the tires. BMW is well aware of this problem anWd offers insurance for the tires however, it isn't about the money for the tires, its about safety!!! A car that costs so much money or any car for that matter … should not have a safety issue with tires!
2 out of 5 stars
BMW 750 is the worst car I have ever owned.
2012 BMW 7 Series 750Li 4dr Sedan (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6A)
I have owned various high end vehicles and have always found them to be well constructed and a pleasure to drive. That is, until my BMW 750IL. During the warranty period I had to make numerous visits to service for warning lights etc. and the dealer mechanics could never identify a problem. That is, until the car was just outside the 50K miles warranty. Then the problems started … en masse. At 52K, major engine repairs (valve seals) and three of the four electric window controls failed. About 1K miles later had to repair ball joints, leaking oils components, battery, etc. My view, stay away from BMW at ANY cost. They claim superior enginerring but exact opposite in my case.
2 out of 5 stars
Keep away. 750 4.4 liter engine is dud.
Unhappy George, 06/30/2020
2012 BMW 7 Series 750i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6A)
Body and technology is nice. 5 liter engine has cancer. Gets too hot so the oil seals leak and then come the hoses for the cooling system. They start to leak because the engine gets too hot. I have had 3 750’s 2011 and 2012. Keep away. Just the hoses is a $1500 repair. The oil seals and other repair due to the over heating of the engine $12,000.
4.38 out of 5 stars
excellent car but tire problems
2011 BMW 7 Series 750i xDrive 4dr Sedan AWD (4.4L 8cyl Turbo 6A)
I am leasing the 750ix for one year, excellent car inside out except the run flat tires I have to change 6 tires and one rim in one year you have to buy the tire insurance otherwise you are risking too much. Fun to drive almost perfect except dealing with frequent dealer visits to change tires. If you talk to their customer service about the tire problem they refuse to deal with the … problem. I personally know many BMW car owners who have the same problem of frequent tire problems. This my last car with run flat tires very disappointed it is a waste of money, time and resources(rubber).
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 BMW 7 Series, so we've included reviews for other years of the 7 Series since its last redesign.
2012 7 Series Highlights
|Combined MPG||20 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$238/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|