Months in Fleet: Two
Mileage to Date: 10,862
Our 2009 BMW 750Li has only been in the Automobile Magazine Four Seasons fleet for two months, but it's already been driven the entire breadth of the continental United States. I took delivery of our new 7-series in San Diego in late February and drove back to Automobile Magazine's editorial offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The driver's seat barely had a chance to cool off before Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings departed on a mega trip from Ann Arbor to Atlanta, Georgia; to Amelia Island, Florida; to New Orleans, Louisiana; to Huntsville, Alabama, and back home. After barely a month in our hands, the 750Li blew past the 8000-mile mark.
These long-distance jaunts provoked universal praise for the twin-turbo V-8's excellent power and modest fuel consumption, but comments on the seat comfort are divided: I've never been able to find the perfect seating position, but Jean Jennings calls the 16-way power adjustable driver's seat "absolutely supreme." The fact that this car has been driven more than 1000 miles in a single day, with no stops longer than fuel, food, and restroom breaks, is a real testament to its overall comfort and drivability.
A few lucky staff editors managed some time behind the wheel before Jennings snagged the 7-series yet again, for her annual drive to the New York Auto Show. Those who have sampled the 750Li praised the new iDrive interface and overall intuitiveness of the car. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell remarked, "Wow, this car is a bit overwhelming at first, although most things are remarkably intuitive, especially for a BMW." And then he decided that he still needs to set aside some time to thumb through the owner's manual to learn exactly what the car is capable of doing. Senior Editor Joe Lorio agreed: "I look forward to learning - or having someone else learn, and then explain to me - all of the 750iL's special features and capabilities."
One of our favorite attributes of BMW's flagship sedan is its range. As Jennings put it, "Range is almost as important as fuel economy." The EPA rates a 750Li at 14/22 mpg, but we've seen real world fuel economy of nearly 23 mpg on trips without really trying hard, and that means our average is more than 400 miles per tank of fuel. Lorio was quick to praise the car's ability to isolate the effects of dismal roads without ruining the steering, "Steering is beautifully weighted, and it even allows a modicum of feel."
We've found a few things to complain about, though. Most troubling is the fact that we've already had to add two full quarts of oil to the 4.4-liter V-8. There's no oil dipstick under the hood of the 7-series, so drivers need to be on the lookout for a digital warning of the oil level. Aside from that issue, several editors have complained about excessive wind noise from the A-pillar/side mirror area at highway speeds, which is very uncharacteristic for this class of car. The wind noise can easily be erased by the 750Li's premium16-speaker audio system that includes a nine-channel amplifier and 600 watts of output, but we'd expect a little better sound insulation for this kind of money. Since the 7-series has grown in size and weight, a few drivers miss the agile handling of the last-generation car. Perhaps our test car's long wheelbase - 126.4 inches versus 120.9 inches for the regular-wheelbase 7-series--is to blame for that, but we certainly appreciate the extra interior room and stability on highway jaunts.
Can we keep up our current pace of nearly 5000 miles per month for an entire year? Only time will tell, but it's a safe bet the keys for this luxurious limo will remain in high demand for the rest of the car's stay. Check back with automobilemag.com to see where else we take our 7-series over the remaining ten months of our loan.
2009 BMW 750Li
Base Price: $86,025
As Tested: $103,420
Body Style: 4-door sedan
Accommodation: 5 passenger
Construction: Steel unibody
Engine: DOHC 32-valve twin-turbocharged V-8
Displacement: 4.4 liters
Power: 400 hp @ 5500-6400 rpm
Torque: 450 lb-ft @ 1800-4500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 14/22/17 (city/highway/combined)
Suspension, Front: Double wishbone-type
Suspension, Rear: Multi-link, coil springs
Brakes: Ventilated discs, ABS
Wheels: 18 x 8 in BMW alloys
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS2
Tire size: 245/50R-18
Headroom F/R: 40.8/38.9 in
Wheelbase: 126.4 in
Track F/R: 63.4/63.4 in
L x W x H: 205.3 x 84.0 x 58.3 in
Weight: 4640 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 51.5/48.5%
Fuel Capacity: 21.7 gallons
Est. Range: 369 miles
Fuel Grade: 91 octane