2009 BMW 750Li - The Subtle Seven

Daniel Byrne
2009 BMW 750Li - The Subtle Seven

The dashboard itself is lined in a leatherlike material that looks and feels rich-although our early-production cars suffered from some bunching and gathering in the corners and around the vents. The cabin feels expensive and well-built, but with decidedly less sense of occasion than the interior of the glamorous Mercedes-Benz S-class. In fact, the same can be said about the entire 750Li-it doesn't call much attention to itself.

Indeed, it's the subtleties of the 7-series that make it such an impressive machine. Like the way the electric seatbelt retractor quietly snugs your shoulder belt a few seconds after you fasten it, or how the seat adjustment motors start out slowly and then increase in speed. Or how, if you pay really close attention, you can just begin to feel the motions of the massive nineteen-inch wheels waltzing across broken pavement below you.

Twenty-or even ten-years ago, we wouldn't have devoted the majority of a 7-series review to discussing the car's looks and electronic wizardry-we undoubtedly would have concentrated on the driving experience. For better or worse, we now take for granted that every new BMW will out-handle, out-ride, and out-accelerate the previous version-and this new 7 does all of that. As its peers have caught up dynamically, BMW has turned the 750Li into a rolling electronics showcase. But-and in stark contrast to the outgoing 7-series-it has developed those systems to assist the driver in, and not distract him from, savoring what the 7 has always been about. The way it drives.

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