Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 BMW 7 SERIES VS 2013 Fisker Karma Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2013 Fisker Karma

Safety Comparison

The 7 Series’ front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Karma doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 7 Series has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Karma doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 7 Series offers all wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Karma doesn’t offer all wheel drive.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the 7 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then projects the image on the windshield, near the driver’s line of sight. The Karma doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 7 Series’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Karma doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 7 Series offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Karma only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The 7 Series’ optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Karma doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The 7 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Karma doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The 7 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Karma doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 7 Series and the Karma have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The 7 Series’ corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the Karma’s (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Fisker doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Karma.

There are over 8 times as many BMW dealers as there are Fisker dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 7 Series’ warranty.

Engine Comparison

The 750i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 42 more horsepower (445 vs. 403) than the Karma’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid. The 760Li’s standard 6.0 turbo V12 produces 132 more horsepower (535 vs. 403) than the Karma’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid. The Alpina B7’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 137 more horsepower (540 vs. 403) than the Karma’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 7 gets better fuel mileage than the Karma running on its gasoline engine (22 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/21 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 740i gets better fuel mileage than the Karma running on its gasoline engine (19 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/21 hwy).

The 7 Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 11.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Karma (20.1 vs. 9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 7 Series’ standard fuel tank has 12.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Karma (21.1 vs. 9 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The 7 Series stops much shorter than the Karma:

7 Series


70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Alpina B7’s 285/30R21 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Karma’s 35 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 7 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Karma doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 7 Series SWB offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Fisker doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Karma.

The 7 Series has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Karma’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 740i handles at .88 G’s, while the Karma pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 7 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 1000 pounds less than the Fisker Karma.

Passenger Space Comparison

The 7 Series has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Karma can only carry 4.

The 7 Series SWB has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.8 inches more rear headroom, 7.5 inches more rear legroom and 3.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Karma.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the 7 Series LWB’s available rear seats recline. The Karma’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 7 Series SWB has a much larger trunk than the Karma (14 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the 7 Series easier. The 7 Series’ trunk lift-over height is 27.1 inches, while the Karma’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 7 Series’ trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Karma’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the 7 Series offers cargo security. The Karma’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

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