Lou Ann Hammond, Wed, 14 Jul 2010 03:35:12 PDT
For a starting MSRP of $85,000 you get a wonderfully designed interior with posh extras including Park distance control, front and rear, iDrive system with on-board computer and eight programmable memory buttons, Navigation system with voice activation and real time traffic information, high-fidelity sound system with HD radio.
Why can't all auto companies just call the same technology the same name? Because, occasionally the technology is different, different to a degree that the name needs to be changed in order to highlight that difference. BMW 7-Series is a rear-wheel drive, unless you get xdrive. xDrive is an all-wheel drive system. The xDrives variable torque split defaults to 40 percent front and 60 percent rear, but can be push 100 percent if needed. BMW's xDrive is an "intelligent" electrical all-wheel traction control system that works through Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) sensors to redistribute power, within seconds, between the axles.
People buy all-wheel drive systems because they live in inclement weather, or they might visit those areas. New for 2010, BMW has added a multi-disk clutch in the drivetrain that, depending on the road conditions, allows more drive that can be given to the front or rear-wheel axle. In extreme cases the xDrive allows all the force to be diverted to the front or rear axle. If even more force is needed on the front axle there is an electric motor to assist.
Even in the tight turning corners where one would normally feel understeer, the DSC redistributed power and kept the back end of the car on its' side of the lane.
My test car ended up costing $99,825. You could save $6,500 if you didn't get the sport package, but sportiness is what BMW is all about. The feel of the road, the hug of the corner. It's what makes spending all day in florescent lighting fighting alligators worth it.
I have to have heated seats. Some car companies have heated seats standard, some, like Volkswagen, will give you a range of heated seat temperatures and actually keep it at that heat till your bum cries Uncle. BMW charges $800 for their cold weather package which includes a heated steering wheel, ski bag and heated rear seats.
The heads-up display for $1,300 is worth every penny, especially at night. I like not having to look away from the road, especially at night. With the information directly in my field of vision, embedded in the windshield, I don't look away from the road, but still get the pertinent information to not get a speeding ticket.
If you need more room in the rear seating you can opt for the Li model that is five inches longer than the 750i. The 750Li xDrive starts at $88,900, but gives your passengers a more limousine feel. Then you'll really need to add the cold weather package for $800. There is nothing as posh as sitting in the back and having heated seats.
Of course you can't get rid of the gas guzzler tax of $1,300, or the $875 destination charge. I still haven't figured out why the destination charge isn't added into the price of a car. You can't buy a car without it.
When I get in the car after my husband has been in it I have to readjust the mirrors. There isn't room for a man or woman's fingers above the rear view window to adjust the mirror.
750i rear-wheel drive 4.4-liter V-8 Automatic 17 mpg $82,000
750i xDrive all-wheel drive 4.4-liter V-8 Automatic 16 mpg $85,000
750Li rear-wheel drive 4.4-liter V-8 Automatic 17 mpg $85,900
750Li all-wheel drive 4.4-liter V-8 Automatic 16 mpg $88,900
760Li rear-wheel drive 6.0-liter V-12 Automatic 15 mpg $137,000
The 4.4-liter V-8 twin turbocharged engine gets 400 horsepower @5,500-6,400 rpm and 450lb.-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500. 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode.
There is a 6.0-liter V-12 for the 760Li with a walloping 535 horsepower.
Fuel economy: 14/20/16 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Mercedes-Benz S-class 4Matic, Audi A8, Porsche Panamera 4S