Though a lot of the kit on this 750Li is catered to the rear seat passengers, the driver isn’t forgotten – oh no.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long since established itself as the pinnacle of the luxury segment. It’s the car that has pioneered many of the features that we now see as commonplace, and is the gold standard for motoring. BMW fully redesigned their competitor last year, and we think it’s good enough to fight head on against the big Benz. The specific model in question competes with the S 550 4MATIC (reviewed here), and has enough technology, luxury, and the driving dynamics to match the bahn-stormer from Stuttgart. This is the 2017 BMW 750Li M-Sport xDrive, fully kitted out with almost all available options.
From a design perspective, the 7-series is stylish without being too over the top. This particular model includes the M-Sport package, which adds what BMW calls a high gloss shadow line; a black accent that runs down both sides of the car. It looks a bit like a hockey stick and we could do without it, but the unique M-Sport bumpers and ground effects look properly sinister. Our car also was spec’d with 21” double-spoke alloy wheels (BMW style 650M), a step up from the standard 20” setup on the standard M-Sport vehicle. The proportions are excellent, and the 7 is unmistakably a BMW without any fussiness to the design.
There’s a lot to talk about with the interior on the new 7-series, and we can’t even touch the tip of the iceberg in our review. Every single material used to upholster the cabin is soft-touch or premium leather, with no visible panel gaps or evidence of cost cutting. Models equipped with the Executive Lounge Tier 2 package (long wheelbase only) get a four-seat configuration. The rear seats fully recline, massage the occupant, and there is a footrest that folds down from the back of the front seat. In the leather-covered console is an airline-style tray to rest your laptop on as you work.
Other special additions on this package include a rear entertainment system, individual climate control for rear passengers, and accent lighting on the doors. Naturally, powered shades are equipped on both rear side windows as well as the rear window and panoramic sunroof. All of this can be controlled via a Samsung Android tablet mounted flush into the console. Lastly, the Ambient Air feature, for $500, adds a series of scent cartridges that are capable of pushing pleasant smells through the climate control. The car comes with a few different options located in a box in the glove compartment, and changing cartridges is extremely simple.
Though a lot of the kit on this 750Li is catered to the rear seat passengers, the driver isn’t forgotten – oh no. Noteworthy tech up front includes “Gesture Control”, which uses BMW Touch Command to allow volume adjustment and a series of other functions by means of the driver waving or gesturing with his/her right hand. The 7-series utilizes the latest version of iDrive, on which voice control is significantly improved. The smartphone connectivity also incorporates features such as Spotify for audio streaming. An extra $4,900 will get you the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond audio system, which is worth every penny.
Powering the 750Li M-Sport is the same 50i series motor we have seen in other models, including the 650i xDrive (reviewed here). It’s a 4.4L twin-turbocharged and intercooled V8 with an all aluminum block. This engine is good for 445 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 480 lb-ft of torque at just 1,800RPM. Coupled to the ZF eight-speed automatic, the 750Li is a chameleon capable of transforming almost instantly from a serene highway cruiser to a large sedan with surprising driving dynamics.
Overall road manners are excellent no matter which drive mode is selected, with composed body control and buttery smooth ride quality. Using the “Comfort Plus” mode adjusts the dampers, throttle, and transmission for the creamiest and most isolated ride possible. On the flip side, engaging “Sport” or “Sport Plus” awakens the motor, and the M-Sport Exhaust makes for a fiery roar on throttle application. There’s still a confident rumble from the boosted V8, but overall it’s far more muffled than a brutish naturally aspirated engine would be.
Despite possessing the ability to make delightful noises on acceleration, one of the most impressive party tricks of the 7-series is the quietness of the interior. Driving this car back to back with a decade-old Lexus flagship, the laminated dual-pane window glass and overall insulation do a commendable job of keeping engine, road, and tire noise outside the vehicle. This makes the 750Li a formidable way to spend many hours cruising down the highway with minimal fatigue and in all of the opulence the car offers.
Opening the driver’s door reveals a badge on the B-pillar that says “Carbon Core”. This describes the fact that a good chunk of the unibody structure of the 7-series is made up of carbon fiber, which provides maximum rigidity while minimizing weight. This also means the center of gravity is a lot lower than it otherwise would be on a car of this size and caliber, improving overall feel as well. A nine-foot arc of carbon fiber travels from the bottom of the A-pillar right over the roofline, through to the rear of the car, a neat setup.
Fuel consumption is not a strong suit for the 750Li xDrive – the plug-in hybrid 740Le (reviewed here) is worth considering if frugality is a requirement. This test vehicle is rated by BMW at 14.7L/100km in the city, 9.7L/100km highway, averaging 12.5L/100km combined. Over the course of this test, temperatures were well below the freezing mark, there was no active effort to conserve fuel, and the vehicle was shod in winter tires. Somehow, thanks to the vastly improved start/stop system, we averaged 11.2L/100km, leaving plenty of range on the 78L tank. 91-octane premium fuel is required.
Sitting right at the top of BMW’s non-M lineup, the 750i starts at $113,900 in short wheelbase form. The long-wheelbase model (which is the only way to get the executive rear seating configuration) is $117,900. Our car was equipped with literally every option possible, including the Executive Package, Driver Assistance Package with night vision, ceramic controls, and of course, Executive Lounge Tier 2. The total sticker before freight, delivery, and taxes crests the $151,000 mark. On the road, this car would cost well over $170,000.
There’s some pretty heavy competition out there right now for the 7-series, and it’s going to be a challenge for BMW to keep things fresh. With new entries showing up in the coming months like the revamped Lexus LS 500, and sometime next year the new Audi A8, the 7 will have to make some revisions to stay ahead of the curve. It’s currently the only flagship sedan with a smart key (BMW’s Display Key has an LCD screen with advanced connectivity features) and some other class-exclusive features. Perhaps the S-Class is the better overall luxury sedan, but the 7er is the more athletic driver.
Anybody who spends the six-figure asking price for the 2017 BMW 750Li M-Sport xDrive is sure to enjoy the pampering nature of the car. It’s a confident machine offering just as much to the driver as it does the passenger, though those who have no intentions of being driven around might want to save some money and opt for the short-wheelbase model. The long-wheelbase model is a bit of a status symbol, and there’s nearly just as much premium kit in the regular car. Regardless of configuration, the 7-series has very little going against it, and is a great way to travel whether it’s the daily grind or the family road trip.