BMW's flagship sedan is the 750Li. Its long wheelbase makes it appropriate as a chauffeur-driven car. The 2009 model is a serious update, with an all new engine and cabin tech.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Corinne Schulze/CNET
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BMW has had consistent styling over the last 10 years, and the new 7-series doesn't depart from it, featuring the classic kidney grille and smoothed sheet metal.
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The 750Li is powered by a 4.4-liter V-8 with forced air from two small turbochargers nestled in the V of the engine. This power plant makes 407 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.
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Although 5 inches longer than the 750i, the 750Li doesn't look that big.
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The suspension for the 750Li is adjustable, with settings ranging from Comfort to Sport Plus. It tightens quite a bit in Sport, but never becomes quite soft enough in Comfort mode.
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The tail lights on the 750Li use a unique tubular design, just visible through the lens.
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As its most luxurious car, BMW lines the cabin in leather and wood trim. Switchgear is made from a ceramic material that feels better than plastic.
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The steering wheel has buttons for the adaptive cruise control on the left spoke and audio buttons on the right.
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BMW fits an instant fuel economy gauge on the lower rim of the speedometer and a range gauge on the lower rim of the tachometer.
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The console holds BMW's odd-shaped shifter, new iDrive controller, and the performance adjuster.
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With route guidance on, the head-up display gives detailed directions.
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Buttons on the lower left of the dashboard turn on a variety of driver aid devices.
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The 750Li is fitted with a night vision system that also features pedestrian detection.
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Cameras in front of the car give a split-screen view to either side, useful when nosing out of a parking garage or other blind area.
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The rearview camera has a huge amount of detail, with trajectory lines showing which way the car will go.
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When you change the car's performance setting, this diagram shows up on the LCD, showing what's being adjusted on the car.
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The new main menu for iDrive is lot easier to use than the older quadrant menu.
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With an 80gigabyte hard drive, the navigation system has room for these nicely detailed topographic maps.
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Traffic reporting is integrated into the navigation system, and will find detours around bad traffic jams.
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Destination entry isn't much improved, as you still have to select individual letters with this dial. However, voice command works much better.
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Satellite radio is one of the audio sources in the 750Li. It also has an iPod connection and internally stored music.
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The phone system works very well, ingesting a phone's contact list so you can call people by name.
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