THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: A great blend of luxury, comfort and technology.
- What’s Worst: All this comes at a price.
- What’s Interesting: BMW used a lot of the technology it developed in its electric car program for use in the 7 Series.
‘Wow, there’s enough room for an entire hockey team back there,’ I mumbled to myself as I glanced at the cavernous rear seating area in the luxury sedan I was picking up.
In reality there were only two seats in the rear, but it seemed like more with legroom that was beyond belief.
But this was no ordinary sedan. It was BMW’s 7-series flagship model, and the 2017 750Li xDrive Sedan is the long-wheelbase version, measuring in at 525 cm (206.7 in) in length and 112 cm (44 in) in width.
This makes it the roomiest car BMW has ever built with class-leading rear seat legroom.
With your driver at the wheel, the rear seat backrest can be reclined to an angle of up to 42.5 degrees, which allows the seat to be moved into a relaxing position.
A power-operated foldout footrest can be accessed on the back of the front seat. For even more legroom, the front passenger seat will slide forward an extra 90 mm and its backrest tilted all the way forward.
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To top it off, the package also includes heated/ventilated rear seats, a rear centre console that has a fold-out table, two cupholders and storage compartment as well as the removable BMW seven-inch touch command tablet that controls functions such as seat adjustments, interior lighting and air conditioning as well as the infotainment, navigation and communications systems.
A WiFi hotspot built into the vehicle provides the necessary online connectivity to surf the internet with the tablet, while two 25 cm (10-inch) screens mounted on the back of the front seats complete the entertainment system.
For 2017 Canada gets a three versions of the 7 Series, starting with the normal wheelbase 445 hp 750i xDrive sedan. Moving up to the long wheelbase, offerings include the 750Li xDrive as tested here, and the 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid.
For 2018, an all-new M760Li xDrive 12-cylinder sedan, boasting more than 600 hp is on the horizon.
This latest generation in the 7 Series debuted last year. The exterior design is not a huge departure from the outgoing one. It’s a bit on the conservative side, which is not a bad thing for the segment of buyers who want the best that money can buy without the ostentation.
Call it understated elegance if you will.
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From the front, though, the car has what BMW calls a “powerful presence” in part because of the active kidney grille, which is both decorative and practical.
It has a visible air flap that opens when engine cooling is required. The flap also improves aerodynamics.
But underneath the skin is where many of the changes have really occurred.
Weight has been reduced by a whopping 86 kg (189 lb) thanks to a composite body construction using carbon fibre technology (CFRP), ultra high-tensile steels and aluminum. Interestingly, the carbon core body is based on technology transferred from BMW’s electric vehicle ‘i’ program.
Under the hood is a robust 4.4-litre V8 engine, boasting twin-scroll turbochargers and producing 445 hp and 480 lb/ft of torque. This new V8 engine is mated with BMW’s latest version of intelligent all-wheel drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The electronically controlled power split between front and rear wheels enhances both traction and stability.
During my week with the car I never once said, “gee, I wish I had more power.” Acceleration is spirited (0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds) and handling is superb for a vehicle that weighs in at 2,091 kg (4,610 lb).
Inside, the cabin has all the bells and whistles one could ever imagine. Driver and passenger feel like they are enveloped in an insulated cocoon it is so quiet, peaceful and serene until you punch the throttle and the throaty roar of the M Sport exhaust comes into play.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, in part because of an air suspension system and electronically controlled dampers. Weight is distributed equally 50:50 front and rear and chassis control systems help provide sharper driving dynamics and ride comfort.
Starting at $117,900, the 750Li xDrive Sedan priced out at $151,500 with other options such as the M Sport Package ($4,900), Driver Assistance Package ($4,200) a killer Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($4,900), a custom 21-inch wheel package ($3,000) and a couple of other stand-alone features like Ambient Air ($500) and Ceramic Controls ($600).
Among the high-tech features in the Driver Assistance Package are night vision with pedestrian detection and park assistant that will automatically parallel park the car for you through the use of a series of cameras and sensors around the vehicle. A bit scary the first time you try it, but amazing nevertheless.
The list of technological and luxury features is too long to mention in this short space. But suffice to say, virtually anything you can think of is offered on this vehicle.
BMW has its bases covered with its flagship 7 Series lineup when you consider the plug-in hybrid and high-performance variants that are also offered. All are worthy competition for the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ and others.
BMW is using technology to help drive the brand and the 750Li xDrive Sedan showcases the best it has to offer.
2017 BMW 750Li xDrive Sedan
BODY STYLE: Four-door full-size luxury sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: Front engine, all-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 (445 hp, 480 lb/ft of torque) mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
CARGO CAPACITY: 515 litres.
FUEL ECONOMY: 13.8/9.1/11.8 city/highway/combined.
PRICE: $117,900, as tested $151,500
WEB SITE: www.bmw.ca