You can see the future today, no soothsayers or crystal balls required. All you need is a German luxury flagship sedan – in fact, this particular one – and you will catch not just a glimpse, but a clear vista of what the future holds in the automotive realm.
BMW’s new 750Li xDrive sedan is the Bavarian marque’s most advanced and technology-laden luxury sedan offering to date, and smart money will be bet on the best of these features trickling down the BMW lineup over the coming few years.
Based on significant advancements in hybrid material construction, the new 7 Series borrows a lot of the mass-minimizing initiatives from BMW’s i car development and incorporates its Carbon Core technology for the first time in the 7 Series. This process utilizes lightweight steel, aluminum and carbon fibre extensively throughout the passenger cell, body components and even makes use of the light-is-right philosophy throughout the suspension, brakes and wheels. All of this results in the new 750Li being up to 86 kg lighter than its predecessor, with unsprung mass being reduced 15 percent, and the vehicle’s overall centre of gravity being lowered.
This is good news because mass reduction is a true friend to performance, and despite a profile stretching more than 6 cm greater than a full-size Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, the 750Li still has the ability to hustle when demanded to do so.
The 4.4L engine reaps the rewards of a pair of TwinScroll turbochargers nestled between the cylinder banks of the V8 configuration resulting in 445 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. This is ample to propel the 2,091 kg 750Li with splendid smoothness and near-silent effortlessness, to velocities well beyond any speed limit in our fair nation.
Like the engine’s hushed operation, the shifts from the eight-speed automatic are swift, but nearly imperceptible. And to suggest that it’s intuitive would be a gross understatement considering the transmission’s programming is linked in to the navigation to create a shift strategy based on route profiles, even if route guidance isn’t requested. This means the car is looking ahead at traffic and road conditions to optimize its operation. Moving from a high speed, country highway into a slower urban area? No problem, the car knows and will begin selecting its appropriate gears accordingly, and based on the selected driving mode (such as Sport, Comfort or ECO PRO).
The xDrive all-wheel drive system on our test car aided in the 7 Series’ unflappable stability, even when pressed on some curvy rural routes, and despite wearing winter tires. The powerful and precise brakes do their part to instill driver confidence, too.
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Still, all the power, impressive weight reduction and even its 50:50 weight distribution cannot repeal the laws of physics, and the 750Li never lets you forget that it is not the size of an M3, nor is it expected to, of course. The steering, too, is aloof, and while capable of impressive performance, the 7 Series is truly at its best as a sublime high speed, long-distance cruiser.