A certified, used 7 Series is your best bet
A misfiring or poorly performing model may be suffering from engine electronics related issues, potentially caused by a faulty sensor or ignition coil pack. Ensure the 7 Series you’re test driving performs smoothly at moderate and full throttle. Check that no ‘check engine’ lights or error messages are illuminated in the instrument cluster.
Difficulty shifting into gear, or the transmission entering a limited-power “limp mode” may be caused by a faulty “mechatronics adapter” component. Additionally, make sure the transmission in the 7-Series you’re test driving shifts smoothly and without a heavy “clunk” between gears.
Note that some owners have reported battery failure caused by excessive voltage drain after the car is turned off.
Check under the hood for signs of oil leakage, especially from the valve covers. This may be caused by a bad gasket on older models, and can be pricey to repair.
The Verdict: To maximize the likelihood of reliable long-term operation, have any 7 Series you’re considering inspected by a trained mechanic at a BMW service centre. A certified used model familiar to the selling dealership is the best bet. Extended warranty coverage, where available, is advisable to protect from expensive repairs down the line.
The 7 Series isn’t a car bought because of its price – though shoppers willing to pay a premium for a world-class experience will likely find it a rewarding driving experience.
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2012 BMW 7 Series Specifications
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