The BMW 750i xDrive M-Sport
BMW answers your questions about what motoring will be like in the future—by delivering it today in the high-performance tech stunner that is the 750i xDrive.
My wife is calling. Her name appears in the heads-up display, next to the gently-lit number confirming that I’m traveling under the speed limit. I wave my hand toward the dash and the phone picks up. “Hey babe, what’s up?” “Change of plans; we’re meeting my family for dinner.” I’m exhausted, stuck in traffic between Los Angeles and Palm Springs at the end of a long work trip, but I don’t protest. I press a button on the steering wheel and my recent calls appear, the numbers seemingly floating in the air in front of me. Eyes still on the road, I roll the scroll wheel with my thumb until I see my mother-in-law’s name. I press to call and ask if she needs me to bring anything. She doesn’t, and so I hang up. Another hour to go followed by an evening of conversation with family, when all I really want to do is go home, kick off my shoes and open a beer.
Suddenly feeling tense, I swipe the touchpad controller on the console’s control wheel to select a seat massage setting: “Shoulders” or “Back”? Ah, “Whole Body.” That’s the one. Boston’s More Than a Feeling comes on the satellite radio—pouring through the brilliant Bowers & Wilkins sound system. “Hide in my music, forget the day…” Absolutely. I draw a quick circle in the air with my finger to turn up the volume, settle back into the massage and momentarily let the new BMW 750i take the wheel as it inches us forward in traffic, automatically adjusting speed for the car in front and staying in the lane while my mind begins to unwind. Hardly flying down the road, I’m enjoying the ultimate driving experience nonetheless. And a half an hour later, when the traffic breaks, the large V8 roars to life, and the gently-lit number in the heads-up display glows red (indicating we’re now over the speed limit), the experience is confirmed: This is a superb automobile.
Technology in cars can be divided into three categories: that which improves performance (stabilization systems, top automatic transmissions); that which improves comfort and safety (seat belts, air bags, satellite radio); and that which does neither but which satisfies certain curiosities (the in-dash vinyl record player, briefly available in the 1960s). BMW’s new luxury flagship sedan is heavy on the first two, and if there’s a touch of the last, well, what’s a flagship car without a few bells and whistles (we don’t need the perfume dispenser, though it’s available if you want it).
The real story of the latest 7-Series is one of integrated technology as applied to both performance and to comfort/safety, and over a few days with the top-of-class 750i xDrive we’re convinced that we’ve experienced the future of driving. Many of the technologies at work here will be commonplace in a few years. For now, effortlessly part of the driving experience, they’re in the BMW 750i xDrive.
It’s big, but then BMW’s 7-Series has never been shy about size. Introduced in 1977, it’s only available as a four-door sedan, with ours just over 17 feet from tip to tail, 206.2 inches, to be exact. With a curb weight of 4,610 lbs (45.7% toward the front) it’s hearty as well, though the current model is lighter than the previous generation and (as tested) it makes 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds. The weight loss is primarily down to the “Carbon Core” construction, which sees carbon fiber bracing used throughout the car’s structure. Despite the size, it’s quite agile, flying across lanes and through turns when there’s room to play, easily navigating parking lots when things slow down. Further aiding handling is the new Adaptive Mode, which moves the car between “Comfort” and “Sport” automatically depending on various conditions. The GPS system analyzes the road ahead, calculates the radius of upcoming turns and other factors, and then makes a prediction on how the driver will want to behave, factoring-in driver input from steering and throttle. If you go for it in one turn, the car will stay mostly in “Comfort” mode. But hit it hard through a series of turns and you’ll feel the 750i xDrive tighten up. It’s fantastic, and well served by the solid ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel drive is joined by rear-wheel steering as well, which, when combined with the suspension and handling tech on board, means that the 750i xDrive feels much more sporting than one would expect. We had the M-Sport package, which adds flair with aerodynamic aprons and M-Sport wheels, though engine and suspension systems are untouched.
If you’re in the front seat, the incredible array of controls and supple appointments (leather, wood and real metal everywhere; the iDrive console control knob with a touchscreen surface; digital, easy-to-read gauges and center display; and more) will thrill. But rear-seat passengers are treated especially well, with 10-inch screens to control in-car entertainment, watch streamed videos, and so on. A pop-out Samsung tablet in the back makes for handy control of the iDrive system plus surfing the Web while an optional Executive Package allows the rear right passenger to move the front passenger seat all the way to the dash, fold out a footrest and recline.
There’s the panoramic roof and a smartphone-esque key with a swipe screen offering info on fuel level and more. Gesture Control—a system in which the car recognizes hand gestures for control input, including volume, handling calls and other functions—is something we see as inevitable in all cars at some point. Likewise, the “birds-eye view” of the 750i xDrive on the display screen while in reverse is unbelievable in terms of aiding parking and in just looking great.
You won’t fully appreciate the 750i xDrive on a dealer test drive. You won’t “get it” until you take it home and live in it for a while. Once you start making calls, dealing with metro traffic, handling meetings, traveling across town or even across the country, all of the tech makes sense. You get the feeling that this is the car BMW’s engineers enjoy: informed by the cutting-edge i8, the performance M division, the decades of luxury interiors and tech brilliance. The 750i xDrive is a car designed by smart busy people who love to drive—for smart busy people who love to drive.
Handing the keys back to BMW, we were sad to leave the future, but we were thrilled to have visited. That the technologies on display here are so much a part of the vehicle’s experience is a testament to BMW’s engineers, who clearly took time working on real-world integration. That makes the BMW 750i xDrive not just one of the most capable cars on the road, but one of the most functional—and that includes the massage seats. After four hours in traffic, I arrived at dinner relaxed, invigorated and ready for an evening of conversation with the in-laws. I’m not sure you can put a price on that.
Learn more at bmwusa.com
BMW 750i xDrive M-Sport
4.4-liter 455hp turbocharged V8
480 lb-ft of torque
0-60: 4.3 seconds
As tested: near $127,500