Last month, I wrote a quick summary about my experiences with the 2014 BMW 750Li. Initially, I only had the vehicle for a couple of days, but the folks at BMW were kind enough to give me the vehicle again for another week. Who’s complaining, right? But it’s not all fun and games; I wanted to make sure that a full review of the 750Li was given.
Two of my good friends are home designers and while sipping on our favourite beverages, we began to admire my Alpine White test 750Li (“Li” indicates long wheelbase), which was parked right outside the Starbucks at which we were meeting. The 750Li has presence. This luxury vehicle is just sensual and luxurious, suggesting countless hours in perfecting an almost flawless modern structural design. The Li, however, has a completely different profile than the regular 750i. Walk around the car and from the front and sides, the beauty of the car just blows you away. A long hood, elongated sleek roofline, and an elegant tail section define this car as pure luxury. Unlike the previous generations of the 7-series, the current generation is less curvy and has much more of a chiseled look, which appealed to the three of us. For 2014, there are minor changes in chrome accents and design in the lower front bumper that are tastefully done.
After we had finished our coffee, we all decided to take a ride to White Rock in the 750Li. Leaving their cars behind, my friends and I got into the BMW and admired the interior. Just like the exterior, the cabin of the 750Li offers outstanding craftsmanship that matches the choice of materials: supple leather, inlay polished wood trim, and a beautiful Alcantra Roofliner. The seats were redesigned last year and thus, there is not much change for this year. The front passengers still enjoy stitched leather, heated and vented, and massage seats. For long drives, the massage seats are invaluable. Not to be ignored, the rear seats are heated, and in the Li, rear passengers are comforted with more than 44.3 inches of legroom, more than the Jaguar XJL and the Audi A8L. In the BMW 750Li, all occupants are really able to stretch out and drive/ride in comfort.
The front cabin is still driver, or me, focused, with the instrument panel and most controls angled towards him or her. This is a theme that is found in the 5-series as well, and works well to reinforce that this is a driver’s machine. My test vehicle had the optional stitched leather dashboard, which just adds a new level of elegance. At the center of the dash was positioned the 10.2 inch high-definition display, which I mentioned before is probably one of the best in the market. Using trans-reflective technology, the screen is easy to read in even direct and bright sunlight. The iDrive system has come a long way since its inception about 10 years ago, but…well, it still lacks some refinement. I’m not saying that it’s bad, but in a vehicle of this calibre, one shouldn’t have to go through a bunch of root menus to access a new playlist. Now, that being said, once you have mastered the system, it’s a piece of cake to use. Voice recognition is spot-on and rarely are mistakes made. The premium sound system is great, but I would have liked to experience the optional Bang & Olufsen system.
Once we all got comfortable, I fired up the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and pulled out of the parking lot. This V8 is flawless and would be my engine of choice, over the V6 and high-torque V12, and should provide the perfect mix of power and torque for most drivers. Matched with an 8-speed transmission, the 750Li can boost to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds, on par with the Porsche 911. The 750Li is a no doubt a big car, but it’s so surprisingly easy to drive and manoeuver at lower and higher speeds alike.
And given the array of sensors and warning systems, it would be hard to hit anything while parking or pulling out. Speaking of warning systems, you can order this BMW with almost every driver safety option, including blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, front collision and automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and night vision, just to name a few. One system that I really like, and many people hate, is the standard Auto Stop/Start, something that is becoming commonplace in many vehicles. When you come to a stop, the engine turns off, to save fuel. Once you let go of the brake, the engine turns back on and you’re on your way. Yes, there is a minor jerk upon starting, and the system is not as smooth as the one in Jaguar or Mercedes, but it still works well. If you really dislike this feature, you can turn it off by the press of a button. But this feature is more than just a fuel saver; I like the system because it helps in reducing emissions during idle, which we do a lot of considering the number of stop lights in the city.
The drive of the 750Li is exceptional, providing great comfort, performance, or both, depending on your mood. In the Comfort and Normal modes, the car behaves like a big luxury sedan should. Select Sport or Sport Plus, and this sedan becomes a sports car. What we all really noticed was how incredibly quiet the cabin was, even when driving at highway speeds. In fact, at one point, my friend in the back almost fell asleep. BMW’s xDrive is amazing and will ensure that you and your loved ones get to where you need to go, even in rough weather. Speaking of loved ones, on a trip to the Fraser Valley, my kids kept asking me when we were going to trade in our 5-series for a 7-series. I guess they really enjoyed the room and gadgets of the 750Li.
The BMW 750Li is an amazing, and perhaps, the ultimate driving machine for most enthusiasts. There are some really minor hiccups if we were going to get picky, but you really can’t fault this sedan. The 2014 BMW 750Li xDrive starts at $105, 500.