For 2006, BMW’s largest passenger car undergoes several changes. There’s a new 4.8-litre V8 engine that replaces the 4.4-litre of 2005, and increases horsepower from 325 hp to 360 hp. Because of the new engine, the model designation changes from the 745i and 745Li of 2005 to 750i and 750Li.
There are exterior styling changes: the hood gains a power dome; there are new headlamp contours; the large front kidney-shaped grille is set lower; there’s a restyled trunk lid spoiler; new rear lights are integrated into the trunk lid; the rear bumper has a new sculpture line and chrome trim; there is a rear diffuser for increased downforce; and there are modified side skirts. Inside, there’s a new three-spoke sport leather steering wheel; iDrive receives enhanced graphics, a redesigned controller and new freely-programmable button; and there are new hard keys for AM/FM functions on the audio system.
The 7 Series is available in two wheelbase lengths and three models. The 4.8-litre appears in the regular-wheelbase 750i and the long-wheelbase 750Li; a 6.0-litre V12 is used in the long-wheelbase-only 760Li. All models use a six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic manual mode.
Features on the 750i include 18-inch wheels, adaptive automatic headlamps with high-pressure washers, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles and wiper rest area, self-charging keyless remote, heated door locks, soft-close trunk lid, four-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power sunroof, heated leather seats with 14-way driver and 12-way passenger power adjustment, driver position memory, iDrive system, BMW cellular phone system, navigation system, BMW assist with emergency button, voice system control, and six-CD player with ten speakers, including two subwoofers.
The 750Li adds 20-way adjustable front seats with active headrests, two-position passenger memory, rear foot wedges, and front and rear bumper chrome trim strips.
The 760Li adds 19-inch wheels, electronic damper control, self-leveling rear air suspension, park distance control, rear-seat side thorax airbags, electronically-adjustable rear headrests, rear seat pyrotechnical tensioning system, automatic trunk lid, soft-close doors, illuminated V12 logos on the door sills, front ventilated active seats, heated rear seats with 14-way power adjust and two-position memory, rear seat ventilation, electric rear window sunshades, full Nasca leather, 13 speakers with two subwoofers, trunk mounted six-DVD system, and rear iDrive system with screen.
The 7 Series is big-car luxury with a sports sedan feel: despite its size, its superb handling and immediate response gives the impression of a smaller and very nimble vehicle. The new V8 is a strong engine, but the V12 is heavenly. The iDrive system is further enhanced and simplified, but there are still a lot of controls up front to keep you busy. No luxury is overlooked, from massaging seats to a suede headliner, and there’s even an available two-bottle refrigerator to keep the bubbly cold for picnics. Its price keeps it exclusive, which is just one more part of the package.