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BMW 750i and 750Li 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the BMW 750i and 750Li with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch.

The Bavarians bristle with luxury and safety tech but most will end up as corporate conveyances.

There is triumph and there is tragedy at the pinnacle of Australia's BMW 7 Series range.

The 750i and long wheelbase Li — the peak rides for plutocrats until the 760i M with V12 power and all-wheel drive arrives later this year — usher in even more luxury kit, more safety gear and some really trick technology for a marginal price increase of $6000-$13,000 over outgoing models.

The tragedy is that most if not all 7 Series will end up in the ranks of hire cars and most of them will be diesel six-cylinder versions not one of these superlative V8s with outputs of 330kW/650Nm. Private buyers don't seem interested in having a 7 Series on the driveway.

Highlights of the standard equipment list are the so called Laserlights (not laser beams) and Executive Drive Pro, which is essentially adaptive air suspension.

Short and long wheelbase versions score twin sunroofs and massage/heated/ventilated seats. The Li goes further — rear recliners with individual comfort settings and entertainment controlled by a built-in tablet.

The tragedy is that most if not all 7 Series will end up in the ranks of hire cars. 

This may account for the "BMW genius'' in dealerships these days, a genius being necessary to explain to buyers how a car like this operates.

The 7 Series comes with weight-saving carbon inserts in the chassis to cut 130kg from its unladen weight (under 1800kg) compared to an all steel model.

The 750 pair also has Gesture Control, which responds to hand or finger movements to adjust volume, screen readout, climate and other functions. You can also use the new touchscreen, your voice or the i-Drive controller. Talk about overkill.

  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li
  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li
  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li
  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li
  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li
  • 2016 BMW 7 Series Display Key 2016 BMW 7 Series Display Key
  • 2016 G12 BMW 750Li 2016 G12 BMW 750Li

Options run to 20-inch alloys, monumentally powerful Harman Kardon audio and so-called extended leather — the whole cabin is already swathed in the stuff along with some woodgrain and metal fascia.

Driver assistance features include rear-view camera and 360-degree imaging, parking assist, radar cruise and so on. The snappier M Sport package is a no-cost option.

On the road

The V8 sings sweetly and accelerates superbly. Select a sportier drive mode and sharpen the responses of the throttle, transmission, steering, suspension and brakes.

We couldn't get enough of either variant on the launch program. In Comfort mode, the 750 will waft along in silence over all manner of road surfaces and still hook around corners with total control.

This is thanks in part to electro-hydraulic sway bars that push the body in the opposite direction to counter leaning through corners. A camera that scans the road ahead adjusts the suspension dampers to suit the surface.

No noise intrudes into the cabin other than under full throttle. That's when you hear the stirring V8 burble from the rear.

Select Sport and this huge vehicle changes character, becoming a more precise instrument for driving fast with total control yet still a high degree of comfort.

Underpinning all these traits is the fantastic engine, which never feels short of breath.

The excellent steering response of the 750 duo combines with massively powerful brakes. The suspension resists any deflection off line if you happen to hit a bump mid-corner.

Underpinning all these traits is the fantastic engine, which never feels short of breath.

As icing on the cake, we recorded a low 7.9L/100km during casual cruising back to the airport. That's almost unprecedented.

However, a short night drive showed a glitch in the adaptive headlights, which can be caught out and fail to dip for oncoming cars. The night vision screen is in the centre of the dash, not the instrument panel where it should be. A bit more R & D needed there.

The Laserlights are powerful and effective, giving up to 600m of coverage.

Verdict

Completely over the top but superb automotive engineering.

Check out Malcolm Flynn's video review of the BMW 7 Series:

 

Given the chance, would you take a BMW 7 Series over a Mercedes-Benz S-class or another luxo limo? Tell us in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 BMW 7 Series pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$83,900
Based on 10 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$78,880
Highest Price
$87,988

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
730d 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $82,600 – 104,500 2016 BMW 7 Series 2016 730d Pricing and Specs
730LD 30LD 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $78,880 – 87,988 2016 BMW 7 Series 2016 730LD 30LD Pricing and Specs
760li 60LI Xdrive 6.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $101,100 – 127,820 2016 BMW 7 Series 2016 760li 60LI Xdrive Pricing and Specs
740E Iperformance Hybrid 2.0L, Hyb/PULP, 8 SP AUTO $102,900 – 130,130 2016 BMW 7 Series 2016 740E Iperformance Hybrid Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8