Highlights: The 7-Series BMW is available in a short-wheel base or limo-like long-wheel-base model. The flagship BMW is also available in a 6-cylinder, 8-cylinder or a hybrid configuration.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $107,195 (Base Model starts at $90,695)

Seating Capacity:  5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; adaptive brake lights; front seat belts with automatic tensors;  ABS; a tire pressure monitoring system; a central key locking system; BMW’s Assist Safety Plan, which includes 4 years of enhanced collision notification, emergency requests, enhanced road side assistance and a stolen vehicle recovery system.

Standard Equipment: 19-inch tires; an 8-speed transmission; Xenon headlights; a 4-zone automatic climate control system; an automatic stat-stop function; a power moonroof; a 20-way power front seats; heated front seats; a self-leveling rear suspension system; a nav system; a rear view camera; an automatic tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and parking sensors

Standard Audio: a 16-speaker, 600-watt Bang-Olufsen audio system with AM/FM/HD/Satellite radio

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  4 years or 50,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Test Vehicle Standard Engine/Horsepower: 4.4-liter, 8-cylinder/445-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/24-hwy

Trim Levels:

740i/Li, 3.0-liter turbo
750i/Li  4.4-liter twin turbo
740Li xDrive (all-wheel drive)
750i xDrive (all-wheel drive)
760 Li 6.0-liter,V-12 turbo engine
Alpina B7 (performance version) 4.4-liter engine
Alpina B7 SWB with xDrive (performance version with all-wheel drive)
Alpina B7 LWB
Alpina B7 LWB with Xdrive (performance version with all-wheel drive)
New ActiveHybrid 7 L

What’s New: The luxury flagship sedan has a new exterior, which is adorned by articulating LED headlights. The German automaker also offers a reworked interior, new seat designs and an updated iDrive system. Moreover, to cap things off, a second-generation 7-Series hybrid joins the line up this model year, with the latest improvements to enhance fuel-efficiency.

Pros: Our flagship BMW was equipped with a number of must-have features. One of the stand out features was the hybrid-like, gas-saving Auto Start-Stop function. In order to activate the system, the 7-Series automatically shuts off, while the vehicle is at a stop, allowing the battery to recharge while the driver’s feet is off of the throttle. This feature helps to save fuel consumption up to 6 percent, according to BMW’s engineers.

Another unique feature in this year’s 7-Series is how the driver can change the ride characteristics of the vehicle simply by rotating the dial on the i-Drive system. So, by altering the driving settings, this changes the engine response, the power steering characteristics and the stability control dynamics.

Moreover, the 7-Series offers a larger than life split-screen, which shows 3-D graphic for directions, real-time traffic, real-time weather updates, maintenance information and more.

Added to that, our vehicle was outfitted with an Executive package, which consisted of a power rear sunshade, a power side sunshades for the rear passengers, front ventilated seats, instrument panels with leather, a Head-up display system, an integration system for the Smarthphone and BMW apps. Oh yes, the vehicle was surrounded by loads of real wood, too, complimenting the luxurious interior.

Furthermore, our flagship vehicle included a M-Sport package, too, which included 20-inch wheels, a special M-steering wheel, an aerodynamic kit and an anthracite headliner.

Lastly, our 7-series vehicle included a radar-oriented blind-spot system, a side and top view camera and a night vision system, with a pedestrian detection system. With all of these safety, BMW has attempted to minimize the risk of the driver being involved in an accident.

Cons: The 7-series does have a few quirks. For those who aren’t quite familiar with BMW’s knob-operated i-Drive system, which controls everything from the nav center functions to the audio system to the back up camera can be a little cumbersome to find the actual functions. We recommend that one go through an online course ( or spend time with a qualified BMW representative), so that they are familiar with all of the functions and uses of this highly evolved system.

Conversely, its too bad that with all of this technology, BMW hasn’t added an electronic parking system to assist drivers with parallel parking this luxury flagship vehicle, so that they won’t scrape the high-dollar front wheel, as we did.

Verdict: For buyers seeking the ultimate, high-tech performance-oriented luxury vehicle, the BMW 7-series should fit the bill. The 7-series unlike most of the vehicles in this segment has the ability to transform from being a vehicle with a luxury ride to a big body vehicle with the ability to provide a performance-oriented ride. Yes, this flagship vehicle manages to captivate the best of both worlds, but at a cost.

Competition: Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS and Porsche Panamera

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Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.

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