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2010 BMW 750i xDrive Review - VIDEO ENHANCED

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SEE ALSO: BMW Specs, Prices and Comparisons-BMW Buyers Guide


By Henny Hemmes European
Senior Editor
Amsterdam Bureau
The Auto Channel

MUNICH, June 25, 2009; This summer, BMW will introduce an updated version of its xDrive allroad system that is now used for the X5 and X6, and the 5 and 3 Series.

The new intelligent xDrive will debut on the 2010 models of the 750i and the 750iL, the first time the premium limo gets all wheel drive. Of course, it is meant to attack the competition of the Mercedes S 4Matic, Lexus LS AWD and Audi A8 quattro. In the near future, the renewed xDrive will also become available for the upcoming new 5 Series and the future 3 Series.

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Under normal conditions, the xDrive system splits 40 percent of the power to the front and 60 percent to the rear wheels. When conditions get tougher, the up to 80 per cent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. While in snow it can be 100:0, or 0:100 New in the system iss the flex control of the distribution. Under stable conditions, and before for instance understeer happens, the car senses via steering input, yaw rate and throttle input and shifts power up to 20 percent up to the front wheels and consequently up to 80 percent to those in the rear. In other words, when you start turning the car, the system feels it instantly. The current xDrive started to react when the situation was starting to get unstable.

The 750i xDrive with its 407 hp strong V-8 TwinPower Turbo is prepared for bad road conditions, as was proved at the Autodrome de Miramas, BMW’s test facility in the south of France, that was a Formula 1 race track until the ‘50s. At first, we drove the standard 750i with rear wheel drive on the public roads on a winding road through the mountains, exchanging it for the xDrive model and afterward for a 5 Series with the current xDrive. The differences are a bit hard to recognize, as we could not drive dynamically with the heavy traffic, this morning. But within the concrete walls of the test track we could indeed.

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The first test was performed on a 20 degree slope with an extremely slippery middle section, that consists of glass blocks that were sprayed with water. There we placed our 7 Series with the left wheels on the asphalt and the right wheels on the slippery part. The standard 750i needs some time to take off, sliding to one side. The xDrive model accelerates very well and keeps a straight line. Also with four wheels on the slippery glass blocks, the 750i xDrive can go uphill from a stand still. We can not try it the standard version, it would just roll backwards.

We exchange the extreme situation at the slope for something that is more from real life: on the road course that is constantly sprayed with water. The 750i behaves as I expected. ESP is interfering and lets you go safely through the bends. Push the button to switch off ESP, or DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) in BMW terms, then the tail wants to hang out. That is true rear wheel drive, especially nice for playing, but undesired in daily traffic. With xDrive, the 7 Series handles really nice and is safe, DSC interferes somewhat later and when you switch it off, the car remains stable longer. The 750i xDrive comes standard with Dynamic Drive. This is an active suspension system that cancels out the body roll when cornering or changing direction abruptly. Performance Control brakes the inner rear wheel a little bit (through DSC) in order to give a better steering feel when entering a corner.

I am convinced that when you live in the northern American states, Canada or European countries where the weather can get real bad, the xDrive will add to the joy of driving a luxury limo like the 750i. In those markets the 750i and its longer version will be available from September.

Prices have been announced too. In the US the 750i costs $ 83,300 ex tax, in Germany the base price is 69.00 euro.

Click PLAY to watch The Auto Channel's exclusive in-depth RoadTrip profile of the new BMW 7 Series

HHR June 2009