2010 BMW 7-Series
When it was launched back in 2002, the last-generation BMW 7-Series
may as well have been the harbinger of the apocalypse. Ripped and condemned for its controversial styling, the then-new seven’s debut actually spiked sales of the outgoing car so severely it was hard not to laugh. Well, it was funny so long as you weren’t responsible for marketing and selling the new car, which carried under its contentious skin a new system so complex, so contrived and so utterly devoid of logic it was almost an insult to call it a ‘tool.’ iDrive, they called it. Yet, despite these initial shortcomings, the car went on to be the best-selling iteration of the 7-Series to date. So the lesson there is either, a) misery loves company, or, b) people just took a little time to warm up to the new design. This year BMW’s bourgeois land yacht gets a new twin-turbo V-8 powerplant, along with a host of new military grade technologies such as infrared night vision and an 80GB media server. Couple the torque-laden engine with the new M Sport Package and the result is a pristine luxury sedan with an Alpina B7-rivaling presence.
What's to Like
The backseat. Thanks to an elongated wheelbase, the rear seat of the 750Li has an amazing amount of legroom, even behind NBA-sized drivers. This car is simply draped in luxury, from the plush ride and torque-rich, yet silky-smooth power delivery, to the optional rear massaging and ventilated seats. So while the dynamics are impressive for such a large vehicle, being chauffeured around in a 750Li is arguably the best way to enjoy this car.
What's Not to Like
For one, the car is absolutely massive, at times making parking a tiresome process. The shorter wheelbase 750i might be a better proposition for those forced to deal with cramped spaces. Options pricing is also a problem, and a fully optioned 750Li will find itself on the high side of the $100k mark. While BMW has used iDrive to minimize the amount of buttons present, the center console of a fully loaded 750Li still manages to resemble a miniature NASA control center.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
“Autobahn Bomber” doesn’t even to begin to describe the effortlessness with which the 750Li gains speed and cruises across vast distances. It feels as though it would be comfortable just hanging out at twice the legal speed limit, and given the non-limited stretches of road surrounding its Bavarian home, probably would. The car rides on an ample wave of immense torque from low revs and absolutely eats up the road from 60-90 mph, never feeling like it needs to be revved above 5,000 rpm. Dynamic Driving Control provides four different modes – Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus – and as you ascend through them from Comfort each delivers a slightly more precise driving experience. Steering is mind-readingly accurate, making the big seven feel like a typical mid-sized sedan. But when it comes time to park, just hope you find yourself in the back seat.
Engine and Drivetrain
New to the 750Li is a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, which makes 400 horsepower and a burly 450 lb-ft of torque at just 1,800 rpm. Power is driven to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox with a manual shift mode. Trust us when we say it’s impressively quick.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The options list reads like that of the world’s most entertaining pseudo-limousine. Dual high-resolution screens are available for the back seat, and a 16-speaker – yes, as in one-six – superhero of an audio system will easily drown out what few noises manage to permeate into the cabin. A new 80GB hard drive stores navigation data and can store plenty of music files. Ironically, the HD also houses a digital owner’s manual for the 750Li, which, in a strange twist of circular logic, you will probably have to read to figure out how to use the system in the first place.
Key Technology Evaluation
There is a lot of cutting-edge technology in this car, from infrared night vision to an LCD dashboard. A heads-up display lets you keep your eyes on the road while still displaying important driving information, and the car even has the ability to warn you when it detects pedestrians in the street. With so much tech, it almost feels as if it were outfitted by Q-branch. Remember when the 7-Series was James Bond’s vehicle of choice? Might be time to revisit the 007 partnership, BMW.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
While fuel-efficient technologies continue to march forward, we still haven’t gotten to the point where 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8s don’t suck down copious amounts of gas. The 750Li returns 14 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, but its 21.7 gallon tank manages to keep visits to the gas station to a minimum.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Inside, the seven is all about subtle luxury, from the 20-way power front seats to the four-zone automatic climate control, this is a car that’s never boisterous and manages to remain effortlessly classy. If the sheer number of buttons on the dash begins to overwhelm you, treat yourself to a massage courtesy of the back seats. And if that doesn’t work, just lay down a big, smoky burnout. We all have different means of self-therapy.
BMW have clearly learned their lesson from the last 7-Series redesign, opting this time to go for a few subtle changes rather than reimagining the whole thing. The tactic has largely worked, the end result being a massive, porpoise-nosed sedan that doesn’t easily hide its proportions, but does a good job making the best of its ultra-long wheelbase and subtle, yet modern design.
Market Segment and Pricing
At $84,355, the 750Li grazes at the top of the luxury car heap, but with so many features it’s hard to argue you aren’t getting a lot for your money. The competition is equally luxurious and includes the Lexus LS 460 L
($73,735), Jaguar XJL
($78.650), Audi A8L
($77.900) and Mercedes-Benz S550
What We Think
It’s not often a full-size luxury cruiser can provide the level of dynamics necessary to really grab a driver’s attention and involve them the way a mid-size sports sedan would, but the 750Li manages to do just that. Yet at the same time, it’s a luxurious, wafting dreadnought of a car, and a wonderful place to spend time. In other words, it’s completely awesome.