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Still A Modern Flagship? | F01/F02 BMW 7-Series Review

For 2016, the all-new body style 7-Series was recently released, codenamed G12. Completely redesigned with a sleek style that reflects BMW’s new design direction, along with improved performance, new state-of-the-art technology, a standard long-wheel base for the U.S. and more luxury features to better compete with the competition starting at a cool $81,300 for its base 6-Cylinder model. The new and refined 7-Series is truly remarkable and has been a major success since hitting the showroom floors.

Before the current-gen 7-Series was it’s predecessor, the F01 (standard wheel-base) and F02 (long wheel-base) that was produced for model years 2009 through 2015. When the F01 first made its debut in 2008 (as a 2009 model) it proved to be a major step-up from it’s outdated predecessor, the E65 & E66 produced from 2002-2008. Featuring an all-new sport inspired design outside, turbocharged engine options under the hood, and a new modern spacious cabin inside that offers all-new, unique first-in-class features such as side-view camera system, multi-contour seats, nappa leather interior, redesigned navigation/infotainment system, blind-spot monitor/lane keeping assist options, and much more that really filled the gap the old E65 was severely lacking.

Each year the 7-Series received some minor updates like the M-Sport Package option in 2010. A mid-cycle refresh took place for the 2013 model year that offered a new Halo-style LED main-beam headlight option, plus improved power and reliability to the engine.

f01_7er_interior
Interior of the F01/F02 7-Series

The F01 7-Series Today

As of 2016, it’s been 7 years since the previous-gen 7-series came out. You still see them driving around today, and even a significant amount of E65’s as well. With the F01, you find design characteristics similar to that found in the new current-gen 7er, plus the luxury, technology, and status that you expect from driving a flagship german sedan. When New, most 7er’s had a price tag that was hard to keep under $100,000. Now a nicely equipped 7-series can be found on the pre-owned market at a fraction of that price with some even priced under $30,000, a bargain for a top-of-the-line luxury sedan.

Each model of the 7-Series is still pleasurable to drive to this day and we find this car to be much more enjoyable to drive than similarly priced brand-new cars starting below the $30k range. Even with about 40,000 miles on the clock, the 7 still delivers exceptional handling for a large sedan and a responsive ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The 400-HP Twin-Turbo V8 found in the 750i and Li models was smooth and responsive with no significant notice of turbo lag. The 535-HP V12-powered 760Li was powerful and offered effortless acceleration similar to driving a Rolls-Royce disguised as a BMW. The 500-HP Alpina tuned B7 Alpina model, was also quick to accelerate with even sportier driving dynamics comparable to driving a Mercedes S63, Audi S8, and even some M models from BMW themselves. The turbocharged Inline-6 cylinder model, the 740i / Li, also offered great handling but acceleration was ever so slightly lacking when you compare to the smoothness of the V8 models.

Overall, the F0x 7 has held up well through the years with a large majority of pre-owned 7-series available for sale currently are in good original condition indicating a sign of good build quality cosmetically. Most previous owners have taken great care of their 7 series with regular service and maintenance. Expect even greater care shown to the 760Li and B7 Alpina models, which ever model you choose always check the history to be safe before you buy as most models from 2009-2012 are likely out of warranty.

That being said, the 7-Series isn’t without flaws. On all trim levels, the soft touch buttons on the interior commonly peel quickly exposing an ugly white button with normal use. The 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine found in the both the 750i and 750Li from 2009-2012 has had spotty reliability with both the engine and transmission both occurring out of warranty, and costly. V8 models 2013 and newer have had few major problems reported so far. No significant mechanical problems have been reported for 6-Cylinder, V12, Alpina, or Hybrid Models.

 

A/C control button prematurely peeling on an F02 7-Series (credit: TJpark01, Bimmerfest Forum)
A/C control button prematurely peeling on an F02 7-Series (credit: TJpark01, Bimmerfest Forum)

 

Models & Current Pricing

With the 7-Series you have a few different trim levels and engine models. Each model comes only with an Automatic Transmission. The 740, 750, 2013+ Alpinas are available in All-Wheel Drive, as well as a standard and long-wheel base option with the long-wheel base being more common for the generous amount of leg room in the back seat. Expect to pay less on a standard wheel base if rear seat space is not important to you. For the 760Li, only the long-wheel base with rear wheel drive is available. All models, except the Alpina, can be equipped with a Sport Package, or M-Sport Package. Otherwise, all trim levels except the Alpina have the same appearance with the V12 having higher interior materials in the cabin. Pricing varies by engine configuration with a slight price hike for 2013+ models due to the updated design, the price is relatively the same weather the vehicle is RWD or All Wheel Drive.

 

740i / 740Li

7-Series-740
2011 (pre-facelift) 740Li Shown

Engine: 3.0L 315-HP Turbocharged Inline-6 Cylinder

The 740 model is not the same as the 740 BMW back in the day. The 740i/Li did not come around until 2011, making it the entry-level model for the 7-series featuring a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. The car is not particularly common compared to its V8 counterpart, but the cheapest, all luxurious add-ons we’re available but not common.

Pricing:

2011-2012: $27,500 – $33,500

2013-2015: $36,000 – $45,000

 

750i / 750Li

2013 BMW 750Li (facelift) Shown with Full LED Headlights
2013 BMW 750Li (facelift) Shown with Full LED Headlights

Engine: 4.4L 400-HP Turbocharged V8 (2009-2012) | (2013+) 4.4L 445-HP Turbocharged V8

The 750 model is the most common of the 7-Series. It features a 4.4L Twin-Turbocharged V8 that was revised in 2013 for better performance and reliability. Most desired optional equipment is already equipped on used models, with the M-Sport package being available on models 2010 and newer.

Pricing:

2009-2012: $24,500 – $35,000

2013-2015: $39,700 – $58,000

 

760Li

bmw-760li-facelift
2013 BMW 760Li (facelift) Shown From Rear

Engine: 6.0L 535-HP Twin-Turbocharged V12

The 760Li is highest available trim level BMW you can get,  the most common of the 7-Series. It features a 6.0L Twin-Turbocharged V12 that offers Rolls-Royce like acceleration. Most high-end optional equipment is already equipped as standard from the factory models. The V12 powered sedan is quite rare and carries a high price tag even on the used market.

Pricing:

2010-2012: $44,000 – $52,000

2013-2015: $68,000 – $76,000

 

Alpina B7

2012 BMW Alpina B7 (pre-facelift) Shown in Signature Blue
2012 BMW Alpina B7 (pre-facelift) Shown in Signature Blue

Engine: 4.4L 500-HP Twin-Turbocharged V8

The Alpina B7 is special edition performance variant of the 7-Series tuned by U.S based tuning company, Alpina. The B7 looks different from other 7-series models featuring signature Alpina wheels, rear spoiler, aero kit, big quad exhaust tips, and Alpina badging to distinguish it from the rest of the lineup. It features a tuned 4.4L Twin-Turbocharged V8 that offers a lot more power and torque to the wheels along with a tuned suspension for better handling that contribute to exceptional performance similar to an M5. With no actual M7, this monster fills the gap quite well. Most  equipment is already equipped as standard from the factory models minus the ultra luxury options. The Alpina did not hit the showrooms until 2011, with an AWD and LWB version became available in 2013. This unique tuned model is also rare but carries a lower price than the 12-cylinder variant it could potentially compete with.

Pricing:

2011-2012: $38,700 – $49,900

2013-2015: $61,000 – $70,000

 

ActiveHybrid 7

2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 (pre facelift) Shown
2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 (pre facelift) Shown

Engine: 3.0L Turbocharged Inline-6 Cylinder with Electric Motors | Combined Power: 350HP

The ActiveHybrid is very similar to the 740 model, but with electric motors and 50 more horsepower. The ActiveHybrid 7 did not come around until 2011 as well. Featuring a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine with electric motors, it’s fuel economy is not very impressive and the car is very rare. Available in both standard and long wheel-base, pricing is similar to the 740.

Pricing:

2011-2012: $27,500 – $33,500

2013-2015: $36,000 – $45,000


Verdict

If you’re going to buy a 7-Series, we recommend purchasing a 2013 or newer at this point. This could change as time goes on, but most 2013 models will likely still have an active warranty with some pre-owned 7 series sedans offered by BMW Dealers being sold as Certified Pre-Owned which extends your warranty for another 2 Years and up to 100,000 Miles. If you’re going to purchase a 2009-2012 model do your due diligence. Have the car properly inspected and check the service records through BMW or request from the owner. We recommend purchasing a 3rd-party warranty if one is available to you for piece of mind.

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