Thankfully, August was a quiet month for our 2009 BMW 750Li sedan. There was no maintenance or repair work performed, and that left us a lot of time to drive the big Bavarian sedan.
Our BMW has now played a role in one wedding and a funeral, and it performed admirably at each event. Executive editor Joe DeMatio: "The 750Li was a properly regal ride for the funeral procession of one of my favorite aunts, Louise, this past Saturday. The only thing that could have made it better would be if it were painted black or dark blue rather than our car's champagne color, but it still added a suitably elegant and formal touch to the procession. In Catholic weddings in my hometown, the family and other mourners generally gather at the funeral home for the procession to the church. After the funeral itself, the procession continues to the cemetery on the other end of town. I was happy to have the 7-series to carry my mother and two of my sisters-in-law in style and comfort."
He continued: "I was even happier to have the 7-series that day because I had to make the 150-mile drive from Ann Arbor my mother's house that morning, and I was running late, and it was pouring rain. I drove between 80 and 90 mph almost the entire way on northbound US-23 and I-75, and the 750Li was incredibly composed and secure; it never put a foot wrong even while I was making record time in the heavy rain. This is something I would not have attempted in many other cars, but the 7-series simply shrugged it off and I arrived on time and relaxed."
Web producer Evan McCausland echoes DeMatio's comments about the BMW 750Li at speed, "It's utterly amazing how quickly this reaches triple-digit speeds, but without any of the noise, sensation, or excitement you find in other supersonic luxury saloons." When McCausland spent some time below triple-digit speeds he had time to interact with the infotainment features of the car: "I think I've become an iDrive pro, but the audio interface on this car still bugs me to no end, especially when I'm using my iPod. If I want to simply skip to the next song, I have to use the control on the dashboard rather than the more convenient steering wheel controls. The buttons on the wheel let me browse through my (massive) music collection (using a pop-up screen within the gauge cluster) and yet they don't let me do something simple like skip to the next song."
Jean Jennings, our ultracompetitive president and editor-in-chief, decided to challenge the BMW to a new type of limbo contest: how low can the gas gauge go? "This weekend, I decided I would try to beat Joe DeMatio's best fill up (stuffing 20.4 gallons into the 21.6-gal tank), which takes juggling several pages of the iDrive. This wasn't just a crap shoot. I picked Rosebush, Michigan, just south of the Jay's Sporting Goods exit off 127 as my target. There's a Shell station with a deli. I keyed it up on the nav just to get the Miles To Destination, which was something like 96 miles. Then I twisted up the iDrive page that revealed my range, which was a few miles short of that destination. Game on. I was gaining miles for most of the way, until I had about 10 miles as a good safety buffer. But the last twenty miles were more hilly than I realized we had in southern Michigan, which kept messing with my range. With the range finder reading ' --- Miles' for the last mile and a half, I sailed into Rosebush on fumes. Fill-up: 20.6 gallons. I win."
Road test coordinator Mike Ofiara summed up our sentiments for the 2009 BMW 750Li in his latest logbook entry: "From California to Michigan, down to Louisiana and out to Massachusetts, our 750Li has seen some driving over the last six months. It's clear this car has become the staff's ultimate road trip machine and it's on pace to rack up some serious miles."
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