May 23, 2019

2017 BMW 750Li Review

Luxurious no expense spared motoring.

At first sight, the biggest BMW looks imposing. The quality craftsmanship exudes excellent build quality, and a raft of inclusions make anyone feel like the queen of Sheba.

The fancy headlight array has a complex “active high beam head light” system that switches lighting so that only the oncoming car remains unlit. Both sides of the road remain well illuminated.

The long bonnet leads the eye to a cabin that is big enough to keep half a football team in the lap of unbridled luxury.

Everything is electric, including all four seats which are also heated and cooled. The 4 zone climate control can be synced to the driver’s controls. The rear left hand passenger also gets a large footrest which appears magically from the back of the (unoccupied) seat in front.

There are optional tray tables, but I’d like these to be standard in a car costing the price of a small farm.

The back seat passengers can have their delicate eyes shielded from the click-click-click of the paparazzi  by electric sun shades and rear door windows, and on the rear windscreen.

The Nappa leather seats are butter-soft, and can be adjusted by buttons on the rear console, or the removable Samsung tablet. The tablet can control the media system including TV which can be heard through top-notch headphones.

Both rear monitors can view different media be it TV, movies, or a mirror of the front LCD. If the tablet is being used by one passenger, the other can use a conventional remote stowed inside the console.

I’m 180cm and can fully extend my legs on the passenger’s side making the rear compartment the place for even the fussiest hubby in his wedding day.

There is even an optional removeable fridge in the boot which keeps champers nicely chilled, and can be accessed through the rear pull-up leather-covered hatch. Rather shockingly, you have to make your own arrangements for glassware.

Everything is clad in the same luxurious Nappa leather.

In our case, the cabin was finished in deep cream carpet with elegant white diamond-crossed leather. This is not an interior for the sloshed.

The driver isn’t left out. All but the most useless of drivers will be thrilled by a 4.7 second 0 to 100kph sprint. Burying your stelly into the Axminster brings out the jaunty-capped chav in all of us. Although the power is brutish, it never ever slaps upside the head.

The ride control system has a Sport setting that can be configured by fiddling in the iDrive menu. It changes the throttle, suspension, and steering. Even in this mode, the steering is uber light making the 1.950kg saloon feel more bijou.

It would be even heftier if not for the “carbon fibre core” used as part of its construction. It makes an almost perfect 50:50 which all hot hatch drivers love to hear. Listen up, hot hatch drivers can’t afford to have an opinion on a 750Li.

The sophisticated 5.0L V8 has twin turbos.

Twin turbos does not mean two units, but rather two turbos in a single unit. This eliminates the old turbo-lag by putting a small and large set of vanes on a single axel. The smaller turbo spools up faster, taking the larger set of vanes with it. What genius.

The electric steering means there is no hydraulic pump running a belt off the engine. The electric system only draws power when the steering wheel is moved. Regenerative braking charges the battery, so the alternator does not need to run all the time.

That means no belts running, and more power while using less fuel. The engine disengages from the transmission during coasting, and along with the braking and air flow technology, reduces fuel usage even further.

The ride is delicious. The BMW wafts along in luxurious slendor, and on the highway, is a true GT car. There is an endless reserve of power, only slightly outdone by the cocoon of the leather, metal and wood inside.

The powerful audio system sounds like live music. The speaker grilles are drilled aluminium. They have the look of an exclusive Danish audio showroom mixed with a touch of Bauhaus, and mid-century-modern.

The high-tech extravaganza continues with the ubiquitous driver assist systems. There is active lane control which helps centre the car in the lane by applying a smidge of torque now and then. It doesn’t feel too intrusive, but you can leave if off if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

The regular blind spot monitoring also warns if traffic is approaching at speed, and the rear camera warns you if traffic is coming while you’re backing out at a bus Bunnings. We know how distracting beefy P Platers are.

There is a Night Vison Camera to help in low light conditions, But I did little more than test it and see little point to it. The switch was hidden to the right of the steering column, low on the dash board out of sight. It would have been easier to put it with the rest of the camera functions.

Satnav has 3 input methods: via the iDrive dialing and selecting characters on the screen, by writing on the top of the iDrive dial which doubles as a track pad. But if you’ve had a long day, and all that is to tiring, simply say the address or place you want to go.

If the system can’t find it, it will give you a selection to choose from.

There is automatic rerouting for traffic congestion, but I left it set to “always ask” mode. I dislike Satnav bossing me around mid-journey. You often miss the messages and think she is trying to toy with your emotions.

There is Voice, and gesture control which you can use or ignore at your pleasure. The voice control can be terribly testy. It can be used to deal with phone calls, and volume control.

The gestures are: 1 finger in a drunken circle (sound up or down), one finger stabbed forcefully at the screen (answers phone), two fingers swiped dismissively to one side (rejects the caller), and two fingers stabbed like demented Churchill will do whatever the driver has assigned to it.

Our car advanced radio stations, and often did it when I didn’t want it to, as if the voice control wasn’t maddening enough on its own. I suppose the Germans want to test buyers to make sure they’re worthy.

The optional “ambient scent” is operated by a button on the dash and selects a choice of discrete aroma to freshen the cabin. It takes up a lot of room in the glove box though, and the scent is delivered through the air vents. It smells like freshly cut grass and green tea, or forests after rain.

It was a change from the usual car air fresheners which smell like public dunnies.

The front seats have a dizzying array of adjustments to get you sitting just so. The headrests go up and down, the top of the seat back tilts to change the shape of the backrest, and the bolsters and lumbar support adjust.

Of course, the thigh support moves and the seat bottom tilts, all topped off by all four seats being able to give you a gentle and loving massage. Luckily the car will tell the driver if he is enjoying himself too much by nodding off at a hundred k’s.

The dash and instruments will be familiar to anyone who has ever poked a nose into a modern BMW. The centre stack is clearly zoned with a free-floating tablet at the top, the vents, then radio direct selects, and climate controls.

The direct select buttons can used to store a wide variety of the 750Li functions. There is DAB radio and Apple CarPlay as options. The vent system is designed to change the air in the cabin without the occupants ever feeling anything as crass as a breeze.

The active cruise control makes a decent fist of controlling the speed but you may want to watch it going downhill and apply quick a dab of brake. I found she got a bit rambunctious if not kept an eye on.

If a car is detected in front, the BMW will monitor it, and slow down to keep some personal space. The system toss out the anchors of needed, but under normal circumstances, will simply slow down to a stop. When the traffic moves off in under 3 seconds, you do too.

It will keep the brakes on until you blip the accelerator or hit Resume if the duration at stop is longer than 3 seconds.

The parking assist is fully automated. The user guide, yes, I had to read it, gave a very loud and clear warning that if the car bangs into something, you, not BMW, are to blame.

I think not. It takes a while to master, but once you do, it controls the brakes, throttle, steering, and gear shifting simply by keeping a button pressed. The first few times you feel like bringing up your lunch, but eventually you learn to trust it.

There is one more party trick. As if the rest wasn’t impressive enough, there is a removeable self-charging remote Inside the consol. It has a discrete screen, which when woken up, displays car info such as whether you’ve locked the doors.

It lets you know if the windows and sunroof are closed, and provides information on servicing. But that’s not all, you can get out of the car completely and use the remote to reverse or drive forward 1.5 car lengths. It will get you in to, or out of, very tight parking spots.

With a steady eye, you could guide it in a straight line with very little room to spare. It should also protect itself from being scratched, but at $340,000, I wouldn’t want to test it. Nor would I want to scratch a $5,000.

You can really throw it into tight bends, because it, after all, a BMW. Although it feels like the super-rigid body is going to roll hideously, the active suspension never allows anything so unattractive. We tested the 750 on some beautiful but appalling goat tracks.

The poorly kept road surface would upset most cars, and although you felt it, you certainly wouldn’t be disturbed by the nonsense going on underneath. Dare I say it, the bends were fun. In fact, the country drive was a revelation.

The only thing missing was someone to enjoy it with.

It must be said that hubby was happy to take a spin to a family function, in the back seat of course. It was converted to Gentleman Mode complete with TV, snacks, and fizzy water.

In town, the BMW is light and nippy, and on the highway, is long legged and relaxed. It livens up in the bends and feels like a frisky sports car. As hard as it is to believe, the bulk is completely negated by excellent engineering and clever electronics.

The icing on the cake is our fuel figure of 12.6 L/100km (8.3 is claimed). That is unheard of in a Euro uber-saloon.

As usual for big German cars, the 2017 BMW 750Li will make an excellent choice for a posh buyer and is currently the biggest seller in this segment.

BMW have 30.2% of the market, with 73 7 Series VS 64 Mercedes-Benz S classes being sold so far this year. In a few years, the current 7 Series will make a fab second-hand car.

Price:                  $340,148 (drive-away NSW)

Engine:               5.0L, V8, Twin Turbo, 330kw/650Nm

0-100:                4.7 seconds

Transmission:    8 speed automatic

Econ:                   8.3L/100k (claimed)

C02:                    192gms/kg

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