2016 BMW 750i xDrive
The redesigned, gadget-loaded BMW 750i xDrive is plush but fun to drive.
The redesigned 2016 BMW 7 Series is everything a top-line BMW 7 Series sedan should be.
The top-line BMW 7 Series is loaded with gadgets and gizmos, which make one wonder if they're really needed. One is a Gesture Control system that uses an infrared camera to translate your midair finger movements into commands.
For instance, control the sound system volume up or down by moving your finger in a circular motion, although it may lead surrounding vehicle occupants to give you a curious look.
But you need not use various waves, points and finger twirls to control some vehicle functions. For instance, a regular on/off sound system dashboard switch also controls volume. In fact, the dashboard had lots of small, but clearly marked, conventional controls.
BMW is trying to outdo its major rival--the majestic Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan-- with an abundance of tech stuff--and lots of other good stuff.
This new BMW comes as a full-size luxury sedan offered in 740i and 750i xDrive trim levels, although a hybrid four-cylinder 740e xDrive plug-hybrid is coming.
Styling is conservative, but imposing. The car looks like it means business.
The church-quiet interior is tastefully filled with top-quality materials. All doors open wide. The front and rear seats are nicely shaped, and there's even a perfume dispenser. There are 10-inch screens on the back of the front seats for your viewing pleasure.
The standard 740 model has a turbocharged inline six-cylinder with 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.
The new 7-Series also is offered with all-wheel drive (AWD) and a 4.4-liter V-8 with two twin-scrolled turbochargers that produces 445 horsepower and 480 pound/feet of torque. The car feels like it will suck the air out of your lungs if you floor the accelerator. (0-60 m.p.h. in 4.3 seconds.)
The approximately 4,800-pound 750i xDrive V-8 provides an estimated 25 miles per gallon on highway and 16 in the city. The lighter turbo six-cylinder model's figures are 21 city and 29 highway.
BMW is proud of the fact that the new 7 Series is approximately 190 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to such things as a new unibody made of carbon fiber.
In fact, the 750 feels like a lighter car, even when driven hard. It has accurate steering, adroit handling, a well-controlled ride, with the air suspension partly tuned by Rolls-Royce engineers, and strong anti-lock brakes activated by a linear action brake pedal.
Both engines work with a smooth, alert eight-speed automatic transmission with a responsive manual shift feature.
Both new 7 Series models have a long 126.4-inch wheelbase for limo-style rear seat and cargo room.
The 740i features include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, infotainment system, rearview camera, adaptive air suspension, adjustable drive and suspension settings, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats..and so on.
The 750i xDrive adds such items as larger wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, head-up display and a power rear-window sunshade--not to mention the smooth V-8.
Options for both include the Autobahn package with its variable-ratio steering and Road Preview system that anticipates changing road conditions and adjusts the shocks accordingly.
There's also a Driver Assistance plus package, with lane-departure warning, speed limit info, automated parking, blind-spot monitoring and frontal collision mitigation with automatic braking.
Of course, all the extras cost money. My test $97,400 test 750i xDrive had a list price of $97,400, but its bottom line read $128,445.
The regular $81,300 rear-drive 7 Series is no slouch with its turbocharged 320-horsepower 3-liter inline six-cylinder, which has 300 pound-feet of torque.
Both 7 Series models have standard traction and stability control and an available surround-view camera system with a wide panoramic view,a top view and a 3D view with a computer-generated landscape of the car and its surroundings.
BMW says it wanted to make the new 7 Series a super-luxurious Ultimate Driving Machine, and many will agree it did just that.