Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 BMW 750LiBigger tech, smaller footprint in the BMW that says "I'm da' man."
-If you like driving a big, old, tech-laden, high power [unk] and kind of being hermetically-sealed from the rest of humanity, this might be your ticket. Let's drive the 2013 BMW 750Li, the long one, and check the tech. Now, as you can see, the 2013 7 Series did not get a major piece of plastic surgery done to it. It's about the same as the 2012. But 3 things caught my eye in terms of innovations and improvement. A really outstanding 8-Speed Automatic Transmission. You've got a basket of efficiency power-trained technologies that might surprise you, and we're looking at a rear-seat entertainment system that might actually change my mind on how worthless those are. Now, there's not a whole lot new in the cabin tech of the 750. But that doesn't keep it from being a tech tour de force. iDrive is really solid these days. And if you disagree, then you have excellent voice command that lets you speak in whole phrases when entering an address. 1-0-0-0 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California. -Processing your input. Did you mean 1000 S Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco? -BMW's map quality remains one of the best, though, I still doubt the usefulness of little SimCity building depictions in any car. And BMW's head-up display is still the best in the business, period. It can show a variety of selectable data points, from speed limit on your road to the next nav instruction. Audio sources are AM, FM, HD Radio, but the HD does not have iTunes tagging, AUX jack, usb plus iPod, satellite radio, a now passÃ© 20-gig hard drive, and of course, blue tooth streaming. In terms of apps, BMW has long supported Facebook, Twitter, and streaming web radio through an app on an iPhone - an iPhone only. Someone needs to send them some android sales figures. But, this is new. I now, see a cloud-based version of Yelp in the dash which rides on top of the 3G connection that is built into the car. Something BMW and Audi pioneered about a year and a half ago. Now, if you know much about me, you know that I pretty much hate rear-seat entertainment systems. But this BMW has almost got me convinced to give them a second chance. Here are the 2 screens [unk] on the head rests on the front seats. Do they remind you of any mobile electronics product you can think of? Yeah. They're a generous size. They're nice and thin. The optical drive for them is down here, but notice what's really interesting. They are iDrive interfaces with an iDrive controller. You can switch from right to left passenger based on which screen you're operating, independent or together. You've got access to multimedia, radio navigation, all the same services you've got in the front of the car. You've also got ConnectedDrive. So, without having to bring an iPad to the car, you've got some modest degree of online services right here in the vehicle built in. This is a very nice way to do rear-seat entertainment, and the price is not bad - under $2,000. Under the hood, twin power turbo means different things depending on the BMW. Since we have a V-8 here, it means 2 discreet turbos, one for each bank. They feed 4.4 liters of displacement in conjunction with direct injection and Valvetronic, totally variable valvetrain. The mind boggles at repair bills after warranty. But in the meantime, you'll enjoy 445 horsepower and a stout 480 foot-pounds of torque. The nearly 4700 pounds of car launched to 60 in 4.8 seconds while delivering a not-at-all awful 16/24 MPG rating. That relative efficiency is thanks to a number of things: The new 8-Speed Automatic, up from the 6-Speed of before; Direct Injection, as I mentioned; Brake Force Regeneration to help charge the battery when you're braking and not always through the draggy alternator; Auto Start Stop kills the engine at a stop, which I've always thought BMW could do better, and then, there's the unseemly ECO PRO Mode which basically gives you the throttle response of a Prius, climate control that shuts off at a stop, and a drivetrain that freewheels when you're coasting. 2 of those 3 seem to be sacrifices in a car that is really about not making any. The first thing I noticed in this 7 is it's built like a vault. I mean, this is really a big, heavy, incredibly well-screwed together car. The next thing you notice, though, is that it sheds weight on demand, very few cars can do this. In other words, it starts to handle, and accelerate, and brake like a much lighter, nimbler car when you ask it to. That's an amazing trick that only a few cars I've ever driven can pull off. They can be a heavy, luxurious ride and then, something an entire class lighter when you need them to. Now, as you've seen, the technology in this car is very broad and sublime in many cases. What I do like about the long-wheelbase version is that you've got 4 seats that are on equal footing. You feel like your investment makes more sense when you can expose this vehicle's attributes to everybody in the vehicle. BMW's Auto Start Stop technology still annoys me but on this car, it is less intrusive than it is on other BMWs. It still sounds a little bit like a lawn mower restarting, and still shakes the car more than I think it should. Buy this car because you either have way more money than you need to afford it, or because the company's paying for it. It's a pricey ride but it does some really great things on the road for everybody inside it. You want help driving? You've got it. First, there are drive modes from Eco, to Comfort, to Sport that change the personality of the engine, transmission, and adaptive suspension. Then, driver assist comes in many flavors. Adaptive Cruise maintains distance not just speed. That Lane Departure and Blind Spot Technology not only warn you but can also veer you back into place. BMW's Night Vision tech seems much improved now. The focal length and field of view are now almost exactly what your eyes see out the windshield. So, glancing down at the night vision isn't as disorienting as I noticed before. Let's price this house class investment. The 750Li starts at about $91,400 delivered. Optioned up with driver assistance technologies, rear-seat entertainment, that great head-up display, BMW apps, B&O audio, night vision, and a few more tech toys, I got it to just a tick under $108,000 and that's not entirely loaded. No, it's not a Lexus Prius but you knew that going in. You pay a premium for a 7 Series. But if you want a sedan with great luxury intact for all 4 people, and a car that can get down when you want it to, this is one of your few and better choices.