2016 BMW 750Li

By Jaedene Hudson on 13 October 2016
2016 BMW 750Li

Engine
Transmission
Fuel Economy
16.4 L/ 100km
Output
ANCAP rating

Not Tested

What is it?

While it may not look that much different from the outside – it's still unmistakably a 7 Series - this is the sixth generation flagship BMW. The Bavarian car maker has given the 7 Series a refresh with extra equipment, new tech and some chassis refinements – including a substantial diet that's resulted in a dramatic weight drop of 130kg.

What's different?

From the outside, there's a new vertical kidney grille, part of the BMWs new "family face". The larger grille also serves a purpose – it integrates a porthole for the night vision camera standard on the 750i models) and can open and close automatically to improve aerodynamics.

How much is it?

There are five models in the 7 Series range – the 730d (diesel), the 740i, 740Li (long wheelbase) and 750i and 750Li petrol models. Prices start from $217, 455 (plus on road costs) for the 730d and stretch to $312,415 (+ ORCs) for the 750Li we tested. Our version (equipped with the M Sport package and a few options) comes in at $338,558.51 driveaway.

What does it compete with?

As the epitome of luxury, the 7 Series competes with other flagship limousines, such as the Mercedes Benz S-Class, Audi's A8 and the Lexus LS.

Are there different engines?

Across the range, there are three engine choices – a 3.0-litre six-cylinder twin turbo petrol (740i and 740Li), a 4.4-litre eight-cylinder twin turbo petrol (750i and 750Li) and a 3.0-litre six-cylinder twin turbo diesel (730d). All engines are matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

With 330kW of power and 650Nm of torque, the 750Li covers the 0-100km/h dash in 4.7 seconds. Not bad for a car that weighs almost two tonnes. Fuel consumption is also not bad for a car of this size and weight at 8.1 for the 750i and 8.3 for the 750Li.

It's lighter? How did BMW achieve that?

As mentioned before, the new 7 Series has dropped some serious kilos. But there's no fad diets or gym memberships, it's been achieved by clever use of what BMW calls Carbon Core – in fact, the 7 Series uses the most amount of carbon-fibre of any mass-produced car on the market. The new model uses a carbon-fibre, steel and aluminium for strength, but also to reduce weight which dropped the shell weight by more than 40kg alone.

While typically used as a limousine (with a focus on the rear seat experience) BMW has also ensured that the drive experience, for those that do actually sit behind the wheel, has the traditional BMW driving feel.

What do you get for $350K?

As you can imagine for a car that costs the price of a house in some states, the 750Li comes loaded with gear. If you want some light reading you can check out the 17-page specification guide online but we'll stick with highlights and new additions to keep it simple. Highlights include Nappa leather seats, seat ventilation (front and rear), massage function and heating for all seats, a 12.3-inch screen touch screen, radar cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, heated steering wheel and armrests, Laserlight headlights with cornering and automatic high beam, heads up display, semi-automatic parking, night vision, full electric seating and keyless entry and start.keyless access and keyless start (including contactless opening and closing of the tailgate), a TV, Harmon Kardon surround sound system, Navigation system professional, rear entertainment experience, surround view camera, touch command, night vision with pedestrian recognition, fine wood trim (black) with metal effect and 20-inch M Light alloy wheels.

There are options?

Even at this price tag, there are still options such as a tyre pressure monitoring system, Ambient Air (Air ionisation and scents for the interior. There are eight scents and the intensity can be controlled in three stages via iDrive controller or button in the air-conditioning control panel), Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, Extended rear air-conditioning (two extra nozzles with control unit in the headliner above the outer rear seat), a cool box (fridge) and Alcantara headlining.

What's new?

New to the 7 Series is Laserlight technology, which utilises high-intensity LEDs offering a viewing range nearly double the most powerful LED headlights. This increases the range from 300m to 600m! The lights themselves consume 30 per cent less power.

Also new to the 7 series is a world-first electro-mechanical active stabilisation system that is combined with air suspension with variable dampers. BMW says this new system responds quicker than previous systems and helps the 7 Series sit flatter in corners. Want even more control? Well, hit the Sport button and the ride height lowers by 10mm (at speed) and the ride stiffens up. The steering reacts more sensitively to inputs and gives the 7 Series a more sporty edge.

Another new feature is the new key that uses an LCD screen. It is able to remotely check the status of the car and precondition the vehicle based on time.

As the name suggests, Gesture Control, enables you to "gesture" to the system, rather than having to press buttons. It works using a 3D sensor positioned above the centre console. Gesture functions include volume control, accepting and rejecting phone calls or closing externally triggered popups.

BMW Touch Command allows multifunction operation for comfort, infotainment and communication. The 7-inch touch screen can be used in all seats via a wireless connection and can be stowed in a "theft-proof" charging holder in the rear centre armrest.

Night vison is now standard on the 750Li and transforms the centre dash in to an image of the road ahead. If it detects a person or an animal it will highlight that object and, at night, will use the adaptive high beam to flash at the object. If the object moves into the path of the car it will automatically begin braking the car (speed dependent).

With most 7 Series' used as limousines, BMW has paid particular attention to the functionality and comfort of the rear seats. The Rear Entertainment Experience offers two high res tiltable independent 10-inch screens with Blu-Ray drive. These screens can be operated by the Touch Command tablet. When fitted with the "comfort seat rear package" the two outside seats are electrically adjustable (including the backrest up to a 42.5 degree angle. These functions are controlled by a in the rear centre armrest. This package also includes the "Gentleman Function" for adjusting the front passenger seat from the rear – clearly BMW doesn't expect women will use this function.

The interior is quite a work of art and comes with LED lights in the Panorama glass sunroof (Sky Lounge). There are about 15,000 illuminated surfaces in the glass which can be adjusted in six colours.

What's it like to drive?

With a twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet, there is certainly no shortage of grunt. Effortless is the best way to describe acceleration in the 750. Gear changes from the eight-speed automatic are silky smooth and refined. Around town the 750Li rumbles along but open it up on a stretch of highway or under strong acceleration and the V8 comes alive.

Contrary to the large luxury saloons of old, the 750Li doesn't feel like you are driving a boat. In fact, it's surprising how agile it feels. The drop in weight has had some impact, on handling BMW has focussed more on the driving dynamics of the new 7 Series.

The ride is a highlight. The adaptive suspension has four drive modes — Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro and Adaptive. ALL are pre-set but you can further customise them. Comfort mode is best for those bad stretches of bitumen, laced with potholes – like a country b-road. Sport is best for that stretch of winding twisty road while adaptive is like a "middle ground" setting in between both. What is unique about this particular system is that it is "proactive". It uses cameras to scan the road ahead to then pre-empt what may be coming up. Other adaptive damper systems are reactive - they adjust once the irregularity has been encountered. This is a remarkably efficient system which elevates the 7 Series to the benchmark in the class.

The stabilisation system works a treat in keeping body roll under control and the 7 Series remains flat corners. The large 20-inch wheels and tyres (245/40 front, 275/35 rear) provide plenty of grip.

Should I consider one?

If you are looking for a large limousine that is a "driver's car" then the all-new 7 Series is definitely worth considering. While we have not driven it against its rivals back to back, it appears to be the new benchmark in terms of dynamics at this end of the market.

Specifications

Make

BMW

Model

750Li

Category

Luxury

Body type

Sedan

Pros

Great dynamics for a large limousine
Effortless power from the twin-tubo V8
Excellent ride comfort

Cons

More exterior difference
No Apple Car play/Android Auto
Still options even at this price

Country of manufacture

Germany

Available from

13-Oct-16

Priced from

$312,415 (plus on road costs)

Engine

Number of cylinders

8

Engine size

4.4 L

Claimed max power (kW)

330kW @ 5500rpm

Claimed max torque (Nm)

650Nm @ 1800rpm 

Transmission

Type

8-speed automatic

Fuel Consumption

Claimed fuel consumption

8.3 L / 100km

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