We drive about a 175 different cars each year, and of those, BMW always stands out as their age-old slogan proclaims, as ?the Ultimate Driving Machine.?? This doesn?t mean all the BMWs are the best vehicles we drive, or even our favorites, they simply set the standard for how a car should drive.
BMW pulled the wraps off the fifth generation 7 Series early in 2009 as a 2010 model.? From a design perspective, that model has an evolutionary styling that looks trim, but with more muscle.? What the 7 Series lacks, though, is the sex appeal of many of the other luxury sedans.? The BMW has a more tailored or button down look.
BMW?s 4.4-liter twin turbo V-8 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission powers the 750.? Reversing the intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder heads ?allowed engineers to place the twin turbochargers in the ?valley? between the two cylinder banks rather than on the outside of the engine.? This created a more efficient engine package, which produces 400-hp and a powerful 450-lb.ft. of torque.? The new engine is about a half-second quicker than the previous version making the 0 to 60 mph run in 5.0 seconds.? The EPA lists fuel economy at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
This model is the first 7 Series offered with the xDrive All-Wheel Drive system.? The xDrive used in the 750i and 750Li is tailored to work with BMW?s Integrated Chassis Management to maximize stability.
A handy feature, usually not found on a luxury sedan, is the new Hill Decent Control on xDrive models.? This helps the driver descend a steep, icy or curvy road at a controlled speed of 6 to 15 mph.
The Driving Dynamics Control system allows the driver to change the vehicle damping, transmission shift characteristics and accelerator response by cycling through four settings.? Combined with features like the Active Roll Stabilization this system produces sport car-like handling or a more comfortable ride depending on the setting. ?On the loop we use for test cars in the mountains near our home, the big 4,700-pound luxury sedan flew through the corners flat and solidly planted with rocket like acceleration out of the corners.
A controversial feature, since it was first added to the 7 Series in 2001, is the iDrive system that controls audio, climate, navigation and some vehicle functions.? The latest iteration is enhanced with seven control buttons around the large control knob used to select a device (radio, navigation, etc) and eight programmable memory keys mounted just above the audio controls.? Like favorites on a computer browser, the memory keys allow the driver to store favorite functions like radio stations, phone numbers, navigation destinations, etc. The new version can also be controlled by voice commands that work in tandem with the controller entry.? The system is improved, but we still think it is still overly complicated.
The 750 has an extensive selection of options including rear- and side-view cameras, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, night vision and head-up display.? These are fun and very useful additions, but they do escalate the price.? The rear-wheel drive 750i has a base price of $83,875, including the destination charge.? The 750i xDrive is $3,300 more. ?Checking all the option boxes will give the shopper an amazing menu of technology, but the price flirts with a $120,000 sticker price.? For a shopper looking for the top-of-the-line, the 760Li sedan with a twin turbo V-12 engine starts at $139,375 and goes to nearly $160,000 with all the extras.? But what a car!