BMW 750Li xDrive: Advanced Automotive Technology That Even James Bond Approves Of
by Martin Green
When you have nothing left to prove to the world, you can indulge in a unique kind of luxury: the pleasure of ultimate understatement – like a watch by Laurent Ferrier or Philippe Dufour and a car like BMW’s new 750Li xDrive.
The 750Li xDrive is a rolling Valhalla of luxury and refinement for you to enjoy in private. Especially when you opt for a grey or dark blue color, most people will just see a large German sedan and have no idea that it is in fact an undercover Rolls-Royce.
Often, people buying the 750Li can afford a Rolls-Royce but simply choose not to – for the same reason they don’t drive a Jaguar XJ, a Porsche Panamera, or a Maserati Quattroporte: too loud and too extroverted.
They might consider an Audi A8 but would pass on the Mercedes S-class. In the United States, the Mercedes S-class outsells the BMW 7 series two to one; so why would I recommend the 7 series?
Well, because Mercedes S-class outsells the BMW 7 series two to one, so it is not nearly as under the radar as the 7 series. But most people who buy the “Beemer” over its direct German competition do so because they are a bit tech savvy. Those people will thoroughly enjoy the new 750Li.
If you think a Tesla is advanced, you haven’t seen what the 7 series can do. But if you are really tech savvy, don’t be surprised if, or when, the selected options tally up to an additional 30 percent on a car that has already set you back just under $100,000.
But for that you really will get it all, from heated armrests and almost fully autonomous driving that only requires you to keep your hands on the wheel. My personal favorite is the self-parking function on the key.
Yes, the car will park itself simply by touching the display on the key and you don’t even have to be in the car!
I would suit up in Brioni with an Omega Seamaster Professional on my wrist and jump in the backseat to reenact one of the best car scenes in movie history from James Bond’s Tomorrow Never Dies, where Pierce Brosnan takes out some bad guys with a tricked out 7 series, operating it from the back seat using his offensively thick Ericsson JB988 phone.
But all this technology is also the handicap of the car. It is in many ways so advanced that it is very easy to get lost in all the settings and technology with the high risk that you feel lost in translation in your own car.
BMW realized this as well, which is why the 7 series comes with something that the brand refers to as “encore delivery.” A representative of BMW will actually visit you at home to explain all the functions of your new car.
Also: a pre-buy IQ test is mandatory to ensure that you can master all the features of this car. Of course, that was a joke. But it goes to show that BMW might well have taken the technology a bit too far.
The control center of the 750Li can be given orders in five different ways: using the touch screen, the tablet in the back of the car, voice command, the control knob and – my favorite – gesture control. This is a kind of sign language to communicate with your car.
I wonder how it would respond to obscene gestures . . .
Rivaling a private jet
Fans of BMW are probably still hoping for an M version of the 7 series, but they will have to wait a bit longer. BMW did announce the M760Li xDrive with 600 horsepower for 2017, but just like the 750Li it will still not be nearly the precision tool that the BMW M series usually is.
The reason why BMW is hesitant to bring out an M7 is probably because BMW already has the M6 Gran Coupe as well as the superb Alpina B6 xDrive Gran Coupe. Additionally, most owners of a 7 series probably also have an outrageously impressive coupe in their garage for when they want to act out. For daily use they need a mode of transportation that can rival a private jet on shorter distances.
And for that they have the BMW 750Li.
Also, the 4.4-liter V8 with twin-turbo chargers is by no means a slacker: 445 hp is available at 6,000 rpm, but more important is that you have 480 lb-ft torque available at just 1,800 rpm.
The 8-speed automatic will take you from 0-60 mph in just 4.4.seconds, mainly thanks to four-wheel drive which can take full advantage of the massive torque. It even has a manual shift mode, so when you give your chauffeur the day off, you can enjoy something that will come very close to a BMW M experience.
Just put the gearbox in sport mode and take the sedan through its paces. You will be surprised how agile the car is, and may even be fooled into thinking that you are in the M5. That is not the case, but at 100 pounds lighter and considerably stiffer than the previous generation you have a formidable machine at your disposable that also utilizes a few tricks such as variable-assist power steering (which actually doesn’t feel as artificial as you might think) and rear-wheel steering.
When you let the automatic gearbox do its job on its own, you will also enjoy the fact that it is actually connected the to navigational system, similar to how the Rolls-Royce Wraith is equipped, so it scans the road ahead for you and will select the right gear when it knows that you are indeed braking for a turn that will have you driving uphill afterward.
With its powerful engine that can pilot you in utter comfort over long distances and more high-tech gadgets than the U.S.S. Enterprise, the BMW 750Li xDrive might just be a big fast toy for boys, however, although not an M7, it is still a BMW and will handle as sporty as a large sedan will ever get.
The 750Li xDrive is not for every big boy on the block and that’s okay. Actually it is preferred by the people who buy it because they know that the only person who needs to be impressed by this car is themselves. Now all you need to do is see if you can still find an Ericsson JB988 on Ebay . . .
For more information, please visit www.bmwusa.com/bmw/7series/sedan.
Engine: 4,395 cc twin-turbo V8
Power: 445 Hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 480 Nm @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual mode
0-60 mp/h: 4.4 seconds
Top speed: 155 mp/h (regulated)
Price: $98,395 (but expect to add another $30,000 if you want to take advantage of all the technological and luxury options that BMW offers on the 750i)