I once had breakfast that cost $150 a plate. Seriously.
I didn’t actually pay for it. The friend who invited me did, the same friend who, unlike me, had gotten an MBA, worked up the corporate ladder and could afford such things. I’m lucky to get a biscuit with powdered eggs, a dollop of cheese and a sketchy piece of meat called ‘sausage’ which has probably been in the walk-in for weeks. And that’s only if I have a coupon.
This particular breakfast, no my friend didn’t need a coupon, was in a large hotel in an upscale dining room in Chicago that we entered via large two story high doors. Waiters in white shirts who spoke with accents and wore white gloves served us, and I was quite uncomfortable the entire time. Of course, that was because I was so out of my normal world. Sure it was nice to enjoy something normally seen by those in the upper class, and I have done so before; stood on a yacht in the harbor in Monaco, got bumped up to first class, had a limo ride in LA, but each time it was just, just so weird. If I had been on the Titanic, I would have been lucky to be in third class. And I would have drowned.
I was able to peer into that upper crust world again for a week recently, thanks to BMW. Now BMW does a great job with all their vehicles, and the range is such that a 3-Series can be had by most of us. At the upper end of the scale though is the 7-Series, and for 2016 BMW has turned it up a notch. The 7-Series has been around for a while now, but the sixth generation debuts for MY 2016 and I recently got to spend a week with the top of the line, the 750i xDrive.
The 7 Series is the BWM flagship, the best they have to offer when it comes to luxury sedans. It’s a direct shot across the Mercedes bow, a thumb at the nose of Lexus, and a condescending nod towards the other luxury sedans on the market like the Porsche Panamera.
The 2016 BMW 7 Series is offered as a 740i and 750i xDrive at the moment, with others expected to join the lineup in the not too distant future. The separate long wheelbase versions are gone; actually, the short wheelbases are gone as the 7 Series is only offered in a single, longer wheelbase version now.
Being the top of the line, BMW has equipped even the base 740i with a plethora of niceties. There’s LED headlights that are adaptive with automatic high beams, LED foglights, automatic wipers, dual panoramic sunroof, wood trim, leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustments, four-zone climate control, and front and rear parking sensors. There’s also keyless entry and ignition including a hands-free power trunk lid, and 18-inch wheels with run-flat tires.
The gauge cluster is a 12.3-inch digital display, and the iDrive infotainment system has a 10.2-inch central display that is controlled by direct touch, a touchpad enhanced controller, or gesture control, which means you can wave your hand in front of it making different gestures for different controls. There is also a rearview camera, onboard Internet with WiFi hotspot capability, wireless phone charging and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio and dual USB ports.
Moving up to the 750i xDrive will add unique LED headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, 20-way multi-contour power front seats with four-way power lumbar with a heads-up display, and a power rear window sunshade atop 19-inch wheels.
Both models have adaptable suspensions and use structural carbon fiber which make the new 7 Series about 190 pounds lighter. The cars center of gravity has also been lowered.
The options available on both the 740 and 750 include the Autobahn package that has a camera-based Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview system that predicts changing road conditions and adjusts the suspension dampers accordingly. There is also a Cold Weather package with a heated steering wheel, and heated front seats. In addition there is a Driver Assistance and Driver Assistance II package. The first has blind-spot monitoring, auto parking, lane departure warning and front collision mitigation with automatic breaking. There’s also a surround-view camera, with selectable views. The second package adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure prevention.
The 740i has an Executive Package with power rear side window shades, ambient lighting on the rear pillars, ventilated seats up front, those seats become multicontour by the way, and there is some more leather trim using contrast stitching. The 750i xDrive’s Executive package adds massaging front seats.
For either variant, you can choose an Interior Design package that allows you to customize things such as trims and accents, synthetic suede headliners and even wood trimmed seatbelt covers. The M Sport package adds customized sportier additions like 19-inch wheels and includes an aero kit on the 750i along with a sport exhaust. There is also a luxury seating package that adds the Cold Weather package items and a heated arm rest, and power-adjustable ventilated rear seats with massage functions (rear seat passengers never had it so good).
Available on the 750i xDrive is the Rear Executive Lounge Seating package with a power-adjustable footrest and a foldable table, dual rear entertainment screens and a wireless, removable Touch Command Tablet with many infotainment system controls. The Rear Executive Lounge package also allows the right-rear passenger to fold the front passenger seat against the dash, fold out a power-operated footrest from its back, put down an airplane-style foldout table, and recline his or her own seat up to 43 degrees (rear seat passengers never had it so good, part 2).
Many options can be added like a cabin perfume diffuser, a wood and leather steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, a larger dual-pane sunroof with LED accents, a night-vision camera system and a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio system.
It’s not available in the US as of this review, but there is an upgraded key fob with an embedded touchscreen and remote control parking capability.
Under the hood the 740 gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 320 horses and 330 lb-ft pounds or torque, the 750 gets a 4.4-liter V6 with 445 hp and 480 lb-ft pounds of torque. Both engines have twin twinscrolled turbochargers. Both are mated to 8-speed automatic transmissions.
My tester for the week was the top of the line 750i xDrive with the Autobahn, Executive, Luxury seating and M Sport packages.
The exterior look of the new long wheelbase 7 Series is lean with the new Active Kidney Grills front and center. The new Air Breather and Active Kidney Grill balance cooling air needs with aerodynamics, with the new air breathers controlling air through the front apron and side fenders. There is no mistake; this is a big car, and the look oozes elegance without being overstated.
The interior is nothing short of magnificent. The high-end quality of the materials and the craftsmanship is evident everywhere. The touchscreen responds instantly and the center control knob works just as well. The cabin is somewhere you won’t mind spending a great deal of time in.
On the road, however the 750i is actually quite surprising. The large 4600 pound sedan will rocket 0-60 in just under 4 seconds. The adaptable suspension can be set in three primary modes, but can be individually adjusted in a myriad of ways. The ride is smooth and no matter how hard I pushed it, the 750 never seemed too ragged or out of control. The night vision worked well, and picked up pedestrians in the shadows at night coloring them yellow on several occasions before they could be seen out the front windshield.
Alas, the dream of owning such a thing as this is something that will never come true for me, or many others I suppose. The 750s xDrive I had for the week topped out with an MSRP of $128,445. For those who can afford such a thing and are looking for a luxury sedan, it’s worth every single dime.
As for me, I’ll probably die broke, forcing my family to tie rocks to my chubby remains and sink me to the bottom of the river since there will be no money for actual funeral. Truth is for those of us who have to work for a living and covet each measly paycheck; those of us who consider a matinee and a two for one entrée special at a chain restaurant a night on the town, we are used to living our inexpensive, give- me -a -Kia lifestyle.
That’s why if I ever hit the lottery, or come into some other sort of windfall, I will still shop at the Dollar Store and eat biscuits with powdered eggs, a dollop of cheese and sketchy sausage. I might however consider putting a new BMW 7 Series in the driveway of my modest suburban home. Because after all it is nice to enjoy the finer things in life.
The 2016 BMW 750i xDrive
MSRP (as tested): $128,445
Engine: 4.4-liter Twin-turbocharged and intercooled V-8, 445 hp @ 5500 rpm, 480 lb-ft torque @ 1800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic shiftable
All Wheel Drive
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 25 highway, 16 city, 19 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested , mixed conditions): 21 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 4610
Exterior Dimensions (in)
Length, Overall: 206.6
Width, Max w/o mirrors: 74.8
Height, Overall: 58.2
Track Width, Front: 63.9
Track Width, Rear: 65
Interior Dimensions (in)
Passenger Capacity: 5
Front Head Room: 39.9
Front Leg Room: 41.4
Front Shoulder Room: 59.2
Second Head Room: 38.9
Second Leg Room: 44.4
Second Shoulder Room: 57.7
Cargo Area Dimensions
Trunk Volume: 18.2
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Full specs can be found here.
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