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2012 BMW 750Li Review By Steve Purdy

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2012 BMW 750Li
The Ultimate Riding Machine for a Potentate

By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

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Before doing the research on this amazing limo-size BMW 750Li I was not know the details of its power-train but when I put my foot in it on the freeway ramp and felt the thrust I knew it was something special. I was surprised by the gobs of torque, and the sound of that sweet V8 engine approaching the 7-grand red line. It was downright musical. This isn’t even the most powerful of BMW’s 7-Series flagship sedans.

Our test car is the 750Li with xDrive (all-wheel drive). The “L” refers to “long wheel base,” as in limo. This is just one of 5 models in the 7-Series lineup that includes two twin turbo, inline 6-cylinder models - 740i and 740Li, a regular size of this V8-powered 750i and the V12-powered, 535-hp 760Li which boasts even more torque, 550 pound-feet to be precise.

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Powering this 750Li is the lusty 4.4-liter V8 with 4 overhead cams, direct injection, twin turbos and variable valve timing. It puts out 400 horsepower and an amazing 450 pound-feet of torque. All that power is processed through a six-speed automatic transmission for a hot rod-like zero-to-60mph time of 5.2 seconds and an equally impressive 60-to-100mph time of ‘the-blink-of-an-eye.’ (I didn’t actually measure the latter, just characterizing its feel.)

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Fuel mileage is listed on the window sticker at 14-mpg in the city and 20 on the highway, though the BMW Website shows 22-mpg on the highway using premium fuel. I easily managed 22.5 on my last 100-mile highway trip with the car. With the 21.7-gallon fuel tank we have a range around 400 miles. Contributing to the relative fuel efficiency of this 4,600-pound car is an impressive 0.31 coefficient of drag and much aluminum and other lightweight materials to keep the weight down.

Handling characteristics and chassis dynamics are among the best in the world for the large sedan category - hence, the BMW claim to be “the ultimate driving machine.” Front suspension is a multi link arrangement with double wishbones made out of aluminum. Rear is an integral-V aluminum multilink.

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Aluminum subframes around both contribute to the remarkably low weight referenced above. We have active steering (rear wheels steer up to 3-degrees under 38mph), regenerative braking and a nearly equal weigh distribution, front to rear. All this adds up to a truly charming experience behind the wheel, whether you want to go fast and hard or cruise gently like a limo. The car feels as large as it is but in an ultimately sophisticated way.

Beyond all those great performance numbers we find a purely Teutonic, no-nonsense, luxury automobile finished inside with Nappa leather, wood and other fine materials, none of which call attention to themselves. The front seats are adjustable 20 ways and heated. The power adjustable steering wheel has an amazing amount of range. BMW’s iDrive system has gotten better with each generation and I found this one easily manageable. The standard audio system has 14 speakers including 2 subwoofers under the front seats.

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The back seat seems designed for a potentate, and a big one at that. There is so much room back there it should have its own zip code. Foot rests on the floor are a nice touch and hint at a high level of luxury. The four-zone climate control means both front and rear seat passengers have their own selections.

Our 2012 BMW 750Li with xDrive shows a base price of $91,200. Standard are 19-inch, run-flat, all-season tires on light alloy wheels, rear view camera, power trunk lid, keyless entry, push button start/stop, soft-close automatic doors, Xenon adaptive headlights with auto-leveling and cornering lights, hard disc navigation system with voice command and real time traffic, iDrive and everything else you might expect on a modern German luxury car.

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Options on our tester include: the Cold Weather Package, an extensive Driver Assistance Package (lane departure warning, blind spot warning, head-up display and a few other systems), Active Roll Stabilization, Ceramic Controls, Smartphone integration and Satellite radio with 1-year subscription. Those, along with destination charge and a $1,300 Gas Guzzler Tax, add up to just over a hundred grand.

The 750Li comes with BMW’s standard new car warranty that covers the car, including powertrain, for 4-years or 50,000 miles. It also includes all routine maintenance during that period.

It was just about a year ago that I had the pleasure of reviewing the Jaguar XJ-L and the Audi A8L back to back. While these, along with the BMW 750Li, are focused on the same buyer (all three are about the same price with similar performance numbers) the former will appeal to those who like a little attention and the Audi to those who love the technology with a strong personality.

This BMW is more about subtlety, performance and quiet prestige, with a huge back seat. Tell your favorite potentate I recommend it without reservation.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved