The 2016 7-Series BMW ups the ante with even more tony touches and advanced gadgetry.
With the sixth iteration of the 7-series BMW, not only has the exterior and interior received a redo, but also multiple configurations and engine options are available. Added, or more accurately, subtracted is weight as a result adding carbon fiber, aluminum, and high-strength steel here and there.
And since the BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine, there are numerous boxes on the order sheet when it comes to powerplants. If green is your scene, a hybrid version with a small 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine plus battery power is option one. For pure fuel economy, a 6-cylinder, 265-horsepower diesel is offered.
If performance is on the agenda, a 3-liter, 6-cylinder unit with 320 horsepower is up to bat. Our test vehicle had the much more powerful 4.4-liter, twin-turbo 6-cylinder with 445 units. And the ultimate model is the Alpina model with a V-12 with a very stout 610-horsepower engine, resulting in a zero-to-60 mph time of a mere 3.6 seconds. An eight-speed automatic handles the gear changes, and the standard drive train is rear drive with an optional all-wheel-drive. And speaking of configurations, these four-door sedans can be had in two lengths, one of which adds additional rear-seat, stretch-out room.
Dramatic would not be the word to describe the exterior changes. Refinement might be a better choice. The classic BMW dual grill remains, and the headlights are stretched and are more integrated. Both the side and rear, likewise, receive some changes from fifth-generation version.
Its interiors boast more drama. Besides the beautiful full leather and wood treatment throughout, BMW in our 750i test model received a sizeable tech upgrade and ended up with four video screens. A big 10.2-inch screen sits on the top of the dash. Besides the usual stereo, a 3-D navigation screen is available, which depicts the buildings in the area you are traveling (and it had an excellent rendition of the Hawaii State Capitol Building). Besides the camera, that shows a 360-degree view and rear view when in reverse, a front view can be selected with a button—but only for low speeds. A heads-up display on the inside of the windshield tells you your speed, the legal speed limit and even the status of the cruise control.
Aside from the now expected buttons, dials and touchscreen, BMW has added a new control mechanism— your hands. Simply pointing with two fingers toward the stereo can change radio channels, and looping your hands can change the volume.
In our upgraded and option-filled test car, the rear seats have the real treats. First, there is ample room to spread out. A sizeable center console has an aircraft-style tray that can be pulled out. Two large video screens grace the back of the front seats, and a removable iPad is on the console. Among other things, these screens can be used for Internet access because it’s WiFi capable. Power shades can be raised and lowered on both rear doors and back windshield. The two rear seats can be separately adjusted for individual comfort. Additionally, a footrest can be dropped from the back of the front passenger seat.
Fortunately, BMW has not forgotten the driving experience. The powerful 4.4- liter twin turbo runs silently yet provides instant thrust, and in any mode, it is difficult to tell when the eight-speed automatic shifts. With various buttons, the shifting mode can be changed from sport to economy. With the latter, the engine shuts down during stops. Handling is completely controlled with excellent steering feel. Moreover, the ride absorbs the worst that Honolulu roads can throw at it. Safety issues are handled with a system that detects lane changes and lets the driver know with slightly greater steering resistance.
So with this redo, BMW continues the ultimate driving experience and yet provides numerous choices between green and Formula One speeds. Still, for those want silence and the ability to be driven around with all the comforts of a luxury ride, that option is also available.
BMW 750i xDRIVE SEDAN
PERFORMANCE: 0-60: 4.4 SECONDS, TOP SPEED 155 MPH.
POWERTRAIN: 4.4 LITER TWIN TURBO 6 CYLINDER 445 HORSEPOWER, 8 SPEED AUTOMATIC.
SOUND SYSTEM: HARMAN KARDON SURROUND AUDIO SYSTEM WITH HD RADIO STANDARD WITH THE BOWERS & WILKINS SOUND SYSTEM OPTIONAL.
PRICE: BASE PRICE $97,400, AS TESTED $123,185.
Photos courtesy BMW