Review: 2016 BMW 750i xDrive – Perfect or Superfluous Luxury Sedan
On a warm summer afternoon, I sit with my feet up, my body reclined, a pleasing smell in the air, cool drink in hand while listening to music in the shade as a cool breeze blows. It is an ideal setting, except I’m not sitting outside. I’m actually sitting in the rear of the 2016 BMW 750i xDrive. Its long list of features, comfort and material choices make it infinitely more appealing than a lawn chair, but is it all just a bit too much? Maybe to some, but definitely not to others.
The 2016 BMW 750i is the latest version of BMW’s luxury sedan dating back to 1977. This 6th generation model raises the bar again on BMW’s flagship model and the list of features should be closely watched by BMW fans as many of them will eventually be in many different models. Overall, it is clearly the most luxurious BMW out there and rivals models from other luxury makers like Mercedes-Benz.
One of the more interesting things about this BMW is how incognito it can be. Sure, the exterior styling is appealing and it cuts quite the image against any backdrop, but it isn’t attention grabbing by any measure. Actually, it completely caught me off guard. I knew, by its reputation, it was going to have a big price tag, yet looking at the Monroney and seeing a total price of $129,245 caught me completely by surprise. I immediately wondered what drove that price so high. Then, I hit the ignition, started playing with the buttons, surfed the iDrive system and finally sat in the back. It is pretty clear the features are what make this car special.
Let’s talk about the voluminous list of features I keep eluding too. Basically, if you can imagine it, my test model has it. From a fully loaded cabin featuring premium wood trim and plush materials to more technology than you may ever need, a car buyer will have to get fairly creative to find an item it is missing.
Also, the rear seats were accented by the many Executive Lounge Seating features like a reclining rear seat (behind the passenger) which provides a footrest. Plus, the seats are ventilated with a massage system along with pillows for headrests. Basically, it is a spa-like experience.
Besides the rear seats, the two big features that stand out for me on this new model are a gesture control system (world’s first) and the 7-inch Samsung tablet for the rear passengers.
Starting with the gesture control system, the idea is with the twirl of a finger or the pinch of two fingers, you can either turn up or down the radio and zoom in/out on the map. This is an interesting idea and could ultimately help with distracted driving. In practice though, I found it much simpler to turn the volume knob and use the iDrive’s circle mouse to navigate. While there will be plenty of consumers who like this feature, it is still too early to tell if it will catch on with the mainstream.
The other feature is a 7-inch Samsung tablet that controls a host of features like the rear sunroof, sunshades, seats, DVD player among other items. While at first, it seems like overkill, it is actually pretty handy and simple to use. How simple? One day driving around my 4-year-old son used it for a good 20 minutes and figured out many of the various features. There is nothing like watching a 4-year-old squeal in delight after opening the sunroof.
Speaking of driving, the 750i retains the characteristic BMW driving dynamics even in this longer size and especially with the Sport mode engaged. BMW equipped my test model with a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 (445 HP) mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters and 5 different driving modes (ECO Pro, Adaptive, Comfort, Sport and Sport +). Also, it had the Autobahn and Driver Assistance package to further improve the driving experience.
Behind the wheel, with Sport + engaged it is simply shocking how quick this sedan is considering its size. BMW says it goes 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and, while I don’t have a track to test this, I have zero reason to doubt it. The challenge here isn’t how fast it goes, but rather the challenge is how you will struggle to keep it under the speed limit.
The other driving modes are much more practical for everyday driving and I found the normal driving mode to be more than adequate for any driving situation.
I would also give it high marks for handling, braking and steering wheel responsiveness. It may be a longer car, but it just doesn’t feel like it.
Finally, the driver’s position is about as ideal as possible, the interior layout and materials are clearly top notch and the trunk space rivals any full-size sedan. It simply doesn’t miss on the items and actually tops them – the carpet in the trunk is better than most sedans use in the cabin.
Interestingly, with this amount of luxury and features, I did have a few items that diminished the sedan for me. While BMW has made a lot out of remote control parking, I found the lack of remote start on my test model to be shocking especially in this price point. I live in a cold weather state and remote start does wonders.
Plus, putting the car in drive for the first time caused the seat belts to tighten then release. I’m certain this is a safety feature meant to analyze the person in the seat. I’m also quite certain; I would get tired of it quite quickly.
Overall it is clear this is the pinnacle of what BMW offers. It isn’t brash or loud, but quiet and comfortable. It isn’t burning rubber at the stop sign; it is elegantly passing you by as you wonder what’s under the hood. It isn’t a one USB technology vehicle.
The 2016 750i is a feature/benefit pack so comprehensive as to ruin you for other transport.
And the rear cabin is quite simply the most comfortable and delightful space I’ve ever enjoyed in a vehicle.
Model: 2016 BMW 750i xDrive
Engine: 4.4L V8
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 16/25/19 city/highway/combined
Base Price: $97,400
- Autobahn Package (Integral Active Steering, Active Comfort Drive w/Preview) – $4,100
- Driver Assistance Package (Active Driving Assistant Plus, Surround View w/3D view, Parking Assistant w/Active PDC) – $3,200
- Executive Package (Power side window shades, front ventilated seats, instrument panel with leather, front massaging seats, ceramic controls) – $3,200
- Interior Design Package (Wood trim grab handle/seat belt cover/rear armrest, luxury rear floor mats, Alcantara headliner controls) – $1,800
- Luxury Seating Package with Cold Weather (Heated steering wheel front, rear seat and armrests) – $3,900
- Rear Executive Lounge Seating (Rear ventilated seats, rear comfort seats, reclining seats and footrest, executive lounge rear console, rear massaging seats, rear-seat entertainment) – $5,750
- 20” Light alloy wheels – $1,300
- Display key – $250
- Ambient Air Package – $350
- Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof – $900
- Bowers and Wilkins sound system – $3,400
- Night Vision w/pedestrian detection – $2,300
Price as Tested: $129,245 with $995 destination fee
Tim Esterdahl is a married father of three who enjoys all things automotive including wrenching on his collection of old pickups. You can find his work here and in print in Truck Trend magazine as well as on Pickuptrucks.com. Recently, he is growing a huge audience at his website PickTruckTalk.com
He also plays an absurd amount of golf. Like, really absurd.