This 2009 BMW 750Li is virtually identical to our long-term test car, except for the addition of nineteen-inch wheels and high-performance tires. I’ve spent a lot of time in this generation of 7-series, and I’m generally very pleased with it. The interior is luxurious and most of the controls are very intuitive to use. Despite the fact that I’ve driven more than 2500 miles in a 7-series, I still don’t know everything the new iDrive system is capable of controlling. There are so many functions that relate to the incredibly advanced technology in this BMW, it would take a lot of effort to really learn them all. Thankfully the controls relevant to daily driving (things like the radio, navigation system, and transmission and suspension settings) are easy to find and take almost no time to master.
I didn’t notice a big difference in the ride quality of the car with these nineteen-inch wheels, but I haven’t driven our Four Seasons 7-series in a couple months, since it’s on the road almost nonstop. I can say this luxury sedan is perfectly comfortable with the suspension set to normal, but I don’t think a car this large needs performance tires. You’ll be much happier maximizing the comfort of a car like this than you would be going for outright performance. Maybe the forthcoming 760i (and its twin-turbo V-12) will be more enjoyable with the full complement of sport options, but the 750 family is more at home gobbling up highway miles than carving canyon roads.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Because I was planning on logging 300 or so mostly freeway miles over the Easter weekend, I made sure to sign out the BMW 750Li, knowing that it would be a comfortable long-distance cruiser. I wasn’t disappointed. The cabin is not only comfortable, it’s utterly luxurious, with highly polished wood trim that sweeps gracefully across the dashboard, supple leather upholstery, and lots of technological goodies, including a premium sound system, a rear-seat entertainment package, night vision, satellite radio, etc., etc. (In fact, this particular vehicle had almost $20,000 of upgrades, an astronomical sum in a car that already stickers at around $85,000.)
This 7-series was shod with the nineteen-inch wheels, and while they didn’t seem to have a detrimental effect on the ride quality (I’d have to drive it back-to-back with our Four Seasons 7-series to compare more closely), I did notice that there was more road noise coming into the cabin than I expected. I simply dealt with it by upping the volume on the premium stereo.
As for various controls in the cabin, I find that I’m finally getting used to the BMW automatic transmission shifter. It took me some time to get used to the fact that I had to push the shift lever forward to put the car into reverse, but I suppose that if I drove it every day, it would be fairly easy to get used to. As Phil Floraday mentioned above, this generation of iDrive controller is much easier to use than the previous iteration. In addition, the instrument cluster in front of the driver-speedometer, tachometer, gas gauge, and temperature gauge-are among the cleanest and easiest to read in the business.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
This makes for my second experience with a 750Li. I think I’d need to log about 1000 more miles, most of them in the passenger seat, to uncover even half of its features. That’s not to say the 7-series’ technology is inscrutable, but rather, that there’s just so much of it. My favorite trick so far are the active high beams, which automatically dim in the face of oncoming traffic.
The only complaint I have about the long-wheelbase 750 is that it’s, well, long. In tight turns or parking-lot maneuvers, there’s simply no getting around the fact that you’ve got some serious distance between you and the rear wheels. I’d be very curious to drive a model with active steering and see if that makes a real difference.
In every other way, the 7-series is pretty much unimpeachable. I likewise didn’t notice any real deterioration in ride quality from the nineteen-inch wheels on this test model, even when in Sport mode.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
It’s been a while since I’ve driven our lovely Four Seasons BMW 750Li (editor-in-chief Jean Jennings has driven it to Florida and New York recently), but I wasn’t able to detect any big differences resulting from this blue car’s larger nineteen-inch wheels. Like our long termer, it rides very nicely yet handles remarkably well for a big luxoboat.
I must agree with my colleagues’ comments above, from the much-improved iDrive interface and the multitude of features to the disappointing amount of wind noise and the large turning circle. I’ll also add that although the 400-hp twin-turbo V-8 is a bit sluggish off the line, it really launches this limo at higher speeds.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2009 BMW 750Li
- Base price (with destination): $85,025
- Price as tested: $104,720
- Camera Package $750
- Convenience Package $1,700
- Driver Assistance Package $135
- Luxury Seating Package $250
- Premium Sound Package $2,000
- Rear Entertainment Package $2,200
- 19″ Wheels w/performance tires $1,300
- Active Cruise Control $2,400
- NightVision w/pedest detection $2,600
- Head-up display $1,300
- Sat radio $595
- Gas Guzzler Tax $1,000
- Fuel economy: 14 / 22 /17 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
- Size: 4.4-liter 32-valve twin-turbocharged V-8
- Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5500 rpm
- Torque: 450 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic with automatic and manual shift modes
- Weight: 4640 lb
- Wheels/Tires: 19 x 8.5 front, 19 x 9.5 rear
- 245/45R19 front, 275/40R19 run-flat tires