In my review of the BMW 745 and the BMW750 years ago, I wrote that although the car drove like no other car I’ve ever driven, the pedantic control systems and overly complicated computer (iDrive) got the BMW 745 and the 750 panned by critics. http://www.epinions.com/content_252534754948
The 745 was hated so much by critics that less than 2 years after its launch, major revisions were being made to its exterior “bangle butt” styling and its iDrive system – which in fairness was pretty damned hard to use unless you were an MIT graduate with a knack for making any electronic device work for you. Meanwhile, Audi and Mercedes Benz took all that was wonderful about the new 7 series and made their new luxo barges and their iDrive clones considerably simpler to use.
But, even as an S550 owner, while I can proclaim that my car is more spacious and looks better than the BMW 7, I still have to tip my hat to the 7 because its got driving characteristics that I have yet to see any car that size measure up to. INTERIOR /EXTERIOR STYLE.
As far as I’m concerned, even though critics balked at the shark-like design of the 745li, I still love it. My next door neighbor has one in fact and strangely enough, through multiple style changes, 7 years later it still looks damned good.
The new 750 wears the exterior shape of the classic 7 series mold and is unmistakably “BMW” at any distance due to its kidney shaped grill and its rear lighting fixtures that resemble the current 3 and 5 series’. Though it carries a new style, it isn’t so far removed from the previous 7’s that it would force me to upgrade if I was happy with my older model. It isn’t as radical a change as the S500 to the S550.
The interior however has undergone extensive remodeling.
The iDrive knob is no longer the center of focus – instead, it has been placed next to the column shifter which, by the way has been removed from the steering wheel. The center console and the dashboard have all been redesigned so that they cant towards the driver, rather than offering equal view for the front passenger. I disagree with this and prefer the old design even though many BMW buyers would probably prefer the driver oriented positioning.
What I truly enjoy is that the seating controls have finally been removed from the center armrest waist-line. Unfortunately, they’ve been placed back on the base of the seat. To me, that sucks because it makes the seats seem like regular seats any typical car has. I much prefer my S550’s design which places the seat controls on the doors so you can easily see them and the Heating/Cooling toggles. To me, it looks prettier.
The HVAC controls are extremely easy to operate – with their rotating knob design that lets you dial up or down for your own zone’s temperature. The AC system provides a thorough and constant blow about the whole body so in conjunction with your seat’s heating/cooling feature, you will quickly be comfortable whether it is winter or summer. It took less than 30 seconds for the car to go from 90 degree summer heat to an icy 65 degrees inside.
Fit and finish of the wood and leather is impeccable. The car is handsome and you’ll always know where every dime of your money went. The only complaint is a handful of cheap plastic parts, namely the cup holders, but, otherwise, the car is rich and luxurious.
My one main complaint about this car is that it is not as spacious as its exterior size would lead you to believe. The rear cushions are a bit low for full sized adults if there are also full sized adults up front. In fact, to make the new 7 look smaller, the designers put all the space in the rear, rather than the front. The front driver seating space is worse than the smaller 300C, the Lacrosse and the MKS while the rear is comparatively spacious. This may be because the focus here is building a luxury limo, but I perfer the S550 for overall space as a driver's car or as a luxury limo.DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
The old 750 had a 362HP (360 lb-ft torque) V8 engine that brought the car from rest to 60mph in a respectable 6 seconds. However, I wouldn’t buy one of these cars to go fast – I want it for the luxury at cruising and traffic speeds. What the 750 did extraordinarily well was in mitigating the feel of inertia during turns. I specifically took the 750 around city corners at over 20 mph and on highway corners at well above the state posted speeds. The car never felt out of control and never lost composure. In fact, it was hard to tell I was changing directions if you were a passenger.
The new base 750 comes packing a 400HP V8 with over 450 lb-ft of torque. From rest, this car feels quite powerful and reminds me squarely of the HEMI V8 feel in a Chrysler 300. The car accelerates effortlessly and is very quiet up to 55 mph.
Unfortunately, like the Chrysler 300C, there is a noticeable throttle delay. At first the car complies when you order it to accelerate but all the sudden the valves kick in and the car feels like it wants to pounce on a wilderbeast – out of your control. This is most likely a safety precaution to keep you from accelerating so quickly that you hit something or lose traction.
The real problem with the new 7 series is that it is not as comfortable or as quiet as its main competitor, the S-Class. The S cushions impacts so well that you can damn near run over potholes and not know it. The new 7’s suspension still handles better than you could imagine a car this size should, but, its overly aggressive suspension seems tuned more for sport than for comfort. There is a button next to the column shifter which allows you to change the firmness of the ride but, even with the sport package on the car, the ride is still harsher than the S-class’. The 7 does however remain very calm over gravel and broken pavement. http://www.epinions.com/content_474159746692
While the 7 doesn't have the superior steering feel of the 3 series, it does drive better than any luxo barge you can name in its category. The ZF transmission always knows exactly what to do whether you are braking into an off ramp or powering out of a corner. The transmission never feels like its hunting for gears and you always get the feeling you have adequate thrust.
As I am a technophile, its important to me to have a computer system that allows me to drive and use it without having to think too hard. BMW’s alteration of the iDrive will definitely soften the hard hearts of its previous critics. The major functions of the car that are accessed with iDrive are radio, CD, Navigation,Telephone and Menu. Each of these can be easily accessed with the knob or by simply pressing one of the independent buttons provided for said feature. The improved scrolling arrangement reminds me of the GUI design in the Honda Accord, and is easy to use to enter Navigation addresses. For telephone dialing, you are best just using voice commands while at highway speed.
The one neat trick BMW fit into the new 750 is the “side view camera” system which uses two small cameras on the body sides to show you what is to the left and to the right of the car (in your massive 10 inch LCD screen) as you are pulling out of tight spaces. It comes in handy specifically if you’re pulling out a garage but, otherwise, its unnecessary. If you opt for the rear view camera, you’ll get the side view cameras thrown in with it. PRICE AND OPTIONS
The entry price of the new 7 series is over $85,000. This includes a 4 year/ 50,000 mile warranty, maintenance program. Also included is a 4 year/ unlimited mileage roadside assistance program with access to BMW’s safety Assist system (similar to OnStar).
The navigation system is standard since its built into the car, but, you need to pay $750 for the rear view camera and the aforementioned side view cameras.
There is a $2300 rear seat entertainment package
which includes 2 tiltable seat mounted LCD screens. The Auxiliary inputs allow most devices such as RCA jacks from video games.
In order to get a limo quality front and rear comfort you must spend $6000 for the front/rear ventilated/ heated seating / rear powered sun shades/ heated steering wheel and active driver’s seat (which raises and lowers lumbars to exercise the back during long drives.
The “Premium Sound Package”
includes a 16 piece speaker system (including two subs under the front seats) and an iPod integration kit (which should be free in my opinion).
The $1700 “Convenience package”
includes automatic trunk closer as well as motorized door closers to automatically close doors and the trunk if its not completely closed.
The real bread and butter of the BMW 7 package list is the $5000 sport package
. It comes with 19” BMW style wheels and run-flat tires and a more aggressive body roll control suspension, but, the main feature here is the “active steering” which allows the rear wheels to steer along with the front wheels.
The rear wheels slant about 3 degrees while the front wheels move about their regular course to help the car more sharply steer. The main use I saw for this feature was in making U-turns even though BMW suggests it helps the car change lanes faster. As I always change lanes while accelerating, I didn’t notice the active steering as much while doing so.
Also worth noting is the $2600 NIGHT VISION
and the $1300 HEADS UP DISPLAY
. The HUD shows speed and when in cruise control mode it can alert you if you could possibly hit the next driver due to them sudden decelerating. Unfortunately, the 7 can’t stop itself like the new E and S classes can, but, the 7 can at least prepare the brakes for emergency braking by sending them more fluid. The BMW cruise control system will also include a feature that allows it to recognize posted speed limits by zone and then adjust to them.
The NV system is basically a gimmick. It emits infra red light to “illuminate” targets ahead and that light is picked up by the car’s scanners so you can see it in your LCD screen. Problem is, unless it is directly in front of you with adequate depth perception, it doesn’t really help that much. And who really needs it? There are people who drive more than 40 miles daily from Manhattan to Long Island where lighting isn’t always adequate and many of these people end up killed in car accidents. Inside the city, its unnecessary cause our lights are always adequate. This is a feature for people who do really long driving in very dark conditions but, I still prefer the S55-‘s NV system because it broadcasts the info directly ahead of you in the gauge cluster where you can more easily see the road ahead.
There are numerous other trim options to consider, as well as leather options. Some cost extra, some don’t. Therefore I won’t bother to mention them. However, if you simply add the sport Package to your purchase and disregard all the rear extras, you’re price is about $91,000 before taxes.
I didn’t bother mentioning gas mileage because the government slaps the car’s sticker automatically with a $1000 Gas Guzzler Tax as it only gets 15mpg in city streets and averages a little higher on the highway at 22mpg or less. OVERALL
Without options, the new 7 series tops $90,000 when you apply taxes and dealer fees. The car feels supremely solid and ultra luxurious but, this is ultimately a car for someone who must have the largest BMW regardless the price tag.
Compared to previous 7 series, this car is the uberyacht - nothing else made prior comes close to its engine power and handling prowess.
But, if you aren’t bent on owning a BMW, check out the S550 and compare the ride comfort. I’m sure you’ll agree that the S is more comfortable even though it feels larger than the 7 does when you’re at highway speed.
The Audi A8 and Lexus LS460 have absolutely nothing on this car so I’d say if you don’t know which uberyacht maker to buy from stick with BMW or Benz. If you want to go cheaper than $75,000, check out the new E550 or the new E AMG. The E550 offers plenty of technology, plenty more interior space (than the equivalent 5 Series) and plenty of power with an entry cost below $60,000. UBERYACHTS S-Class 550 http://www.epinions.com/content_252095073924E-Class 550 http://www.epinions.com/review/2010_Mercedes_Benz_E_Class_epi/content_474159746692
BMW 745LI / 750LI http://www.epinions.com/content_252534754948 AUDI A8 L http://www.epinions.com/content_254135406212
Amount Paid (US$):
2009Model and Options:
Active Sport System/ Automatic Transmission