By on March 18, 2009

The 2009 750i is the car I was expecting from BMW back in 2002. That 7 turned out to be the poster child for automotive arrogance. It introduced flame surfacing (including the Bangle butt) and iDrive. Its controls were impossible to decipher, the ergonomics were infuriating and it was truly ugly. The 2002 7-Series drove me right into the arms of Mercedes. In the face of the criticism, BMW countered that their customers were too backwards to comprehend the brilliance and innovation inherent in the design. Sales continued—until they didn’t. The new 750i is a mechanical admission of corporate guilt that offers redemption for lovers of the pre-Bangle 7-Series.

The exterior of this new model is handsome. But it’s also dull and derivative. The new 7′s sheet-metal cribs from many of its elements of BMW’s own 3-Series, with a bit too much Lexus L-Finesse mixed in (which, ironically, borrowed heavily from the outgoing 7′s design). The Bimmer’s exterior is less polarizing and more anonymous, without offering compensatory classicism. It slides just over the line separating elegant from insipid.

The BMW 750i’s interior is more suave and user friendly than before but also somewhat cold and aloof. Anything would have been an improvement over the previous 7, with its abysmal mélange of plastics. Now, there is greater use of natural materials (e.g., the leather covered dash) and the ergonomics are greatly improved. I especially appreciated the hold button, which lets the driver rest their brake foot at traffic lights.

The BMW 750i’s chairs are outstandingly comfortable, even without the not-quite-massaging “active seat” function found in the Luxury Seating package (for $2500). Sixteen-way seating adjustments offer more potential positions than the Kama Sutra, but the cabin’s let down by chintzy headliner (rectified by the $7K “Individual” package) and an uncharacteristically skinny steering wheel (remedied by the $4900 sport package). The transmission lever has morphed from 3+3 on the tree to My Favorite Martian’s cell phone; someone in Munich doesn’t understand that a joke doesn’t get any funnier the more you repeat it.

Of course, there are more ways to spend your money to impress your friends: heads-up display, active roll stabilization, night vision, soft closing automatic doors, active blind spot detection and the rest. Although we’ve seen these features elsewhere, the 750i isn’t about to surrender an inch of ground in the luxobarge techno toy wars.

The 750i’s navigation screen is enormous, yet, strangely, provides too little specific detailed street information. The iDrive wart is still present, but I’m used to it by now and tired of complaining about it. My favorite playthings: radar cruise control (which operates in stop and go traffic) and the side cameras (which allow enhanced visibility approaching intersections). Ticking all the package boxes costs an additional $16,600, lifting the BMW 750i’s price above $100K. With the demise of factory sub vented residuals, the 750i will depreciate faster than your portfolio of bank stocks.

Never mind. The 7-Series has always been about driving. Right?

The new 750i is powered by an “authoritative” 4.4-liter, 32 valve, 400 horsepower (at 5500-6400 rpm) twin turbo V8. With 450 lb·ft of torque available at 1800-4500 rpm, the 4564 lb German luxobarge can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 5.1 seconds. The syrupy throttle tip-in creates an impression of turbo lag. But then I discovered that the normal suspension mode orders the car to save fuel by starting out in second gear (a trick also practiced by the Porsche Cayenne). Once I discovered the sport mode, I was more impressed with forward thrust.

I first sampled a long wheelbase 750i without the sport package. Despite the brittle ride quality imparted by the 19 inch optional wheels, the handling was mushy. The overall driving dynamic was more Lexus than BMW. The short wheelbase car with the sport package was more to my liking, but my wife complained about the throbbing tire noise (in an otherwise tomb-like cabin). Yup. Run-flats which eliminate the weighty spare tire but rob the sedan of its traditional luxury gestalt.

The 750i isn’t a vehicle you can jump in and drive; it takes some patient fiddling to find all the settings that suit your style. I eventually found my sweet spot: short wheelbase, sport package, sport setting, minus the Mrs. At that point, the 750i proved a highly determined sports sedan, carving corners with confidence—while sucking fuel at a rate in the very low teens.

This is the biggest problem with the 750i: times have changed. Say what you will about the “hypocrisy” of the hybrid Lexus LS600h L, but the Japanese automaker has read the writing on the wall. The 2009 750i was BMW’s opportunity to help usher in a new technological era, using light weight materials and alternative power. Instead, BMW offers us another bloated and inefficient automobile. While I respect the 750i’s engineering, craftsmanship and athleticism, piggish mpgs or hydrogen ain’t it. I’m hoping a diesel-electric version lies just over the horizon..

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63 Comments on “Review: 2009 BMW 750i...”


  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Informative review.

    While I respect the engineering, fit and finish and capabilities of the new 750i, I hope that a diesel-electric version is just over the horizon.

    Are BMW’s boffins actually researching diesel-electric drive? While I know of rapid advances in DC motors and switching, I figured that if diesel electric hasn’t made it into tanks yet, it’s still a long way off in cars.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Its controls were impossible to decipher, the ergonomics were infuriating and it was truly ugly. In the face of the criticism, BMW countered that their customers were too backwards to comprehend the brilliance and innovation inherent in the design.

    Well put! It seems like this was just yesterday with Bangle & Co getting all defensive about what we the public didn’t understand. I may be in the minority after all the accolades he got when he left BMW, but Bangle’s designs hurt more than they advanced. The Z4? Please. Hideous.

    Not that I’d ever be able to shop in this league, but the new 7 is what a BMW flagship should be about.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I had heard the news that the 7 was going to be a softer cruiser compared to the current model. Sounds like your thoughts and what I heard were the same. However, I have to ask…..isn’t that the point of this car? I have owned a series of BMW’s, but I have no interest in owning this model for exactly that reason.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Say all you want about E65/E66 (last generation of 7-Series), but it sold more cars then any previous generation of 7-Series. And look how many car makers (Merc and Toyota included) copied ‘Bangle butt’.
    Regarding Hybrids: even last generation was available as Hydrogen/Gas version (can’t blame manufacturer for lack of infrastructure) and F01 will be available as mild hybrid shortly (same technology developed between BMW, GM, and then Daimler-Chrysler).

  • avatar

    So it has become too much work to press down on the brake pedal at lights? A clutch, sure, but the brake pedal?

    This might be my favorite review of yours so far, Jay. Very nicely done.

    On the reliability front, I’ve heard that the 2002 was an electrical nightmare. Will the 2009 have a cleaner launch? TrueDelta would like to provide an initial result on the new 7 as soon as possible. Know someone who buys one? Send them here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    More participants always needed for all cars.

  • avatar

    Dave M.
    Sorry, I have to add my support for the Z4 as being a very sexy and brilliant design.

    The new 7’s sheet-metal cribs from many of its elements of BMW’s own 3-Series, with a bit too much Lexus L-Finesse mixed in (which, inonically, borrowed heavily from the outgoing 7’s design).

    This, sadly, just emphasizes most auto manufacturers’ reluctance to do something unique nowadays.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I would guess that every car company with an R&D department is researching diesel hybrids… (That would mean every car company except Chrysler.) The problem is the price of diesel compared to the price of gasoline makes a diesel anything uneconomical compared to its gasoline counterpart right now.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    Still the best option! Though I too was disappointed by the exterior.

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Robert! I know it’s early at this our in the USA, but changing the faulty Bimmer-Lexus-Hybrid-Hybrid LS 760h L to LS460hL?? WTF? A Lexus Non-Hybrid-Hybrid. You’ve driven the car and claim to have “car ADD”. It’s LS 600h L!

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I liked the ’02+ 7 Series. It was unexpected, it was different, but above all it was the beginning of a new era of BMW styling. Love it or hate it, that car inspired design for many other car companies trying to capture elements to add to their otherwise bland and boring style. It seems like every company from Hyundai to Lexus picked up some part of it and applied it to their own vehicles, especially the “Bangle Butt” trunk and shouldered rear quarters. I loved the previous BMW style, handsome but conservative, and they still look good today amongst other, newer cars on the road. That said, BMW needed to go a new direction. They needed to be cutting edge and different, even controversial. Bangle’s design was exactly that, and I love his cars.

    The 7 Series of 2002 looks nice to me inside and out, and the technology was ahead of the rest too. Every lux manufacturer out there is creating their own version of iDrive. I never had a problem operating the first version, once I figured it out. It’s just like any other new tech, you have to learn it to get it. The people that complain about it just haven’t taken the time to figure it out, IMO. Anyway, I think the ’02-’08 7 gets too much criticism. It was a great car.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I especially appreciated the hold button, which lets the driver rest their brake foot at traffic lights.
    Michael beat me to it.
    Just how lazy have we become?

  • avatar
    Boston

    So the biggest problem is that it doesn’t offer a hybrid and therefore it gets 3 stars out of 5?

  • avatar

    Dave M – The Z4 IS hideous and will only become moreso as years go by.

    I walked around the “old” 7 recently and, compared to the later crap which came from Bangle’s pen (or keyboard), it is quite restrained. With the exception of the butt, which Lexus got right on the LS460, Bangle’s first 7 does have a consistency which the new one lacks. The new one looks as if they realized that they needed a change, but could not put in a ground up redesign. Similarly, I saw the facelifted 3-series recently and while I don’t mind the new strakes in the hood, and am happy that the taillights now look less Korean, it’s still “bangled”. I can only hope that von Hooydonk gets some face time with Henrik Fisker, or some designers at Audi, before he starts on a new design paradigm.

    By contrast, all of Audi’s latest are elegant, sleek and devoid of the mickey-mouse detailing which Chris Bangle inflicted upon BMW.

    For my money, in the large car class the Lexus has it. I wouldn’t buy one of these looking for a sports sedan, but want a quiet and competent ride which wrapped the driver in luxury. Lexus has done a better job of this than either MB or BMW, and this comes from a BMW owner.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Do none of you so-called design aficionados remember the Chrysler mid-sizers from 1995?

    They had this ‘Bangle-butt’ you keep mentioning– a full generation before BMW.

    The original neon did as well. In 1994.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I first sampled a long wheelbase 750i without the sport package. Despite the brittle ride quality imparted by the 19 inch optional wheels, the handling was mushy. The overall driving dynamic was more Lexus than BMW. The short wheelbase car with the sport package was more to my liking, but my wife complained about the throbbing tire noise (in an otherwise tomb-like cabin). Yup. Run-flats which eliminate the weighty spare tire but rob the sedan of its traditional luxury gestalt.

    I miss “normal” tires. I took a test drive in a Venza when our new-ish Sienna was getting prepped and you can really feel the penalty those big wheels impose on ride and dynamics. The Sienna feels lighter, nimbler and more car-like** on sixteen-inchers than the smaller, newer Venza does on nineteens.

    I remember the same behaviour on the Malibu LTZ’s eighteens versus the hybrid’s sixteenw. Ditto the Taurus (17) and Flex (20), Mini “Classic” (15) and Cooper S (17). I understand the point to the thin sidewalls, but between modern tire composition and the sheer mass of a nineteen-plus inch wheel, I really wonder if it’s needed.

    ** As much as a four-thousand van made by Toyota can feel so.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Do none of you so-called design aficionados remember the Chrysler mid-sizers from 1995?

    They had this ‘Bangle-butt’ you keep mentioning– a full generation before BMW.

    Also, Hofmeister kink debuted on post-WWII Kasier/Frazers.

    but it sold more cars then any previous generation of 7-Series. BMWs will always sell, until they don’t…thus the redesign.

    And look how many car makers (Merc and Toyota included) copied ‘Bangle butt’.

    Maybe I didn’t get the memo, but look at how popular tatts are right now. Doesn’t mean I’m going to mar my exquisite body with that foolishness.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    “Its controls were impossible to decipher, the ergonomics were infuriating and it was truly ugly.”
    “The 750i isn’t a vehicle you can jump in and drive; it takes some patient fiddling to find all the settings that suit your style.”
    “…BMW offers us another bloated and inefficient automobile.”

    I hear that once upon a time, BMW used to be really phenomenal driver’s cars. At some point, they became luxury items. Now, it would seem, they are more about the luxury features than the actual driving. Too many gimmicky controls and options that just end up frustrating the driver. Also, my oh my it is one expensive BMW.

    I mean, it should be simple, right? Just get rid of all the gimmicks and snake oil then create a basic, powerful driver’s car. Yet here it is, another BMW gilt with gimmicks.

    However, there are people out there who purchase these. There really are some people in this world who don’t care about driving. They care about having a gimmicky luxury barge. And they will pay any price to have their luxury barge.

    On a side note, if the Japanese start getting into the diesel thing seriously, watch out.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    superbadd75

    I agree. As much as the 2002 – 2008 7 Series were criticized for the ‘flame surface’ design, the car sold in record numbers for BMW. The last gen 7 was a handsome and sporting car in my opinion
    The new 7 is elegant in a more conservative way and I think BMW’s switch from normally aspirated to turbocharged engines reflect an acknowledgment to making their powertrains more efficient while at the same time more powerful.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The new 7’s sheet-metal cribs from many of its elements of BMW’s own 3-Series, with a bit too much Lexus L-Finesse mixed in (which, inonically, borrowed heavily from the outgoing 7’s design).

    So basically it’s a design that incorporates design elements of other current BMW models, which I consider is a good thing (brand recognition etc) while also carrying over some cues of the outgoing model (same deal).

    How is that such a bad thing? You can’t really blame BMW for copying Lexus if you say Lexus copied BMW first. It’s a bit like blaming a student for cheating just because someone else copied his/her answers.

    Anyway, I generally like the new 7′s design, the front ain’t great but not bad (I’d say 7- out of 10), the side profile looks good (7,5) and I like the rear and the new interior (8). Basically what I expect out of a 7-series, eventhough I hope the new 5 brings just a little more svelte design-wise.

    Also, the SWB is always a lot more pretty than the LWB and probably more fun to drive (like you mentioned in the review as well).

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Boston :

    So the biggest problem is that it doesn’t offer a hybrid and therefore it gets 3 stars out of 5?

    No, that’s just a straw man of his position.

    Jay lists many complaints about the 7-Series that probably lead to his decision to give it 3 stars, including:
    -Mushy handling
    -Transmission programmed to favor fuel economy, start in second gear
    -Gadget overload interferes with use
    -Problematic ergonomics
    -Costly interior upgrades (steering wheel, headliner)
    -Harsh ride on run-flat tires

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    However if you average this review with ones from elsewhere it looks to be quite a quality automobile. Though I didn’t at first I really like its conservative looks now.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’m in the market for a car like this. I sat in one this weekend, and while I didn’t test drive it, they fixed a lot of ergonomic issues compared to the outgoing 7. I also like the looks, and I think it would have staying power with me.

    My complaint is the market positioning. The V6 twin turbo is available in foreign markets but not the USA/Canada, there’s no AWD available yet, and there’s no hybrid or diesel option. I like waftability, but I can’t believe I’m the only one who wants an AWD full-size flagship with a V6/I4 + hybrid.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I like waftability, but I can’t believe I’m the only one who wants an AWD full-size flagship with a V6/I4 + hybrid.

    No, but you’re part of such a tiny slice that you’re not worth supporting. These aren’t like the 3-Series, where people are trying to sneak into a 323i on a Camry budget and might justify the small engine to win the badge or the dynamics. You have to have real money to own a 7-Series, and the bulk of the people who have real money wants the big engine and don’t give a damn about hybrid, diesel or forced induction. They want the biggest number on the trunklid when they go to the golf course.

  • avatar
    jybt

    Quit complaining about the 750i’s fuel mileage when it’s the most powerful and most efficient car in its class.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    I’m hoping a diesel-electric version lies just over the horizon..

    What’s wrong with the diesel-only 730d? For the last generation it accounted for over 80% of the 7ers sold in Europe.

  • avatar
    ScottGSO

    I think this car will have a tough time coming anywhere near the previous model’s numbers. While previous commentators have noted they “sold” more of these than ever before, that’s not entirely true. They actually leased these in huge #’s using subvented interest rates and overoptimistic residuals. I think they had amoung the highest leased rates of any car. Those days are long gone.

    When realistic interest and residuals are used on this thing, the monthly payments will be much higher than the old 7. And recall, the old 7 has been selling about as well as Milli Vanilli albums for the last 6 months, with something like 200 sold in the entire country for December to February. Add in the much slower economy and needing to actually buy a $100,000.00 car (Monthly payment about $1800-1900), the devaluing of the 7 by the previous giveaway leases and I see a bumpy road ahead.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    WaftableTorque: AWD next year I think, and yes too bad on no gas turbo 6, but that’s not surprising. Apparently this car is is just as fast to 60mph as the 335, if not faster, however.

    Quit complaining about the 750i’s fuel mileage when it’s the most powerful and most efficient car in its class.

    As well as the only Bimmer.

  • avatar

    THE 745 was a SUCCESSFUL FAILURE.
    When it was released, everyone wanted one – and to this day people are buying them used. EVERY Auto maker COPIED the iDrive and simply improved on it. Though BMW was stupid for copying the iPod control scheme without actually having actual users test it, the idea of integrating major car controls into a simple Jogdial was NOVEL. The seat control placement was bad for fat people but cool for the skinny.

    Mercedes Benz made it much better with the COMMAND system in the S550.

    The 750 reintroduced idrive 3 years ago and made it slightly better but still suffering from the same basic problems.

    The new 750 has everything the predecessors did, replaced seat controls and the new sideview cameras which are gimmicky for most circumstances.

    But the one thing that can’t be argued is that this car drives best of all. The LS460, A8 and even my S550 don’t measure up to this car’s sport handling. The only problem with the BMW seems to be iDrive (which the new model’s design now resembles the GUI of the Honda Accord).

    I’m happy for BMW but I perfer the S-class and its the only line of car I’m buying from now on.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    The problem is the price of diesel compared to the price of gasoline makes a diesel anything uneconomical compared to its gasoline counterpart right now.

    Don’t know about US, but in Canada Diesel is again cheaper then Gasoline:

    The price of gasoline for March 18th will be:

    Toronto/GTA/London 86.5 Cents/Litre
    Ottawa 82.4 Cents/Litre
    Montreal 92.3 Cents/Litre

    The price of diesel for March 18th will be:

    Toronto/GTA/London 78.9 Cents/Litre
    Ottawa 79.6 Cents/Litre
    Montreal 89.1 Cents/Litre

    Plus diesel engine gives you about 30% better fuel economy.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Jay is right – luxo barges in this price bracket have to do more than just be luxurious and fast – they have to lead the field in some fashion and the current 750 doesn’t do that – not in style, performance or economy. If all I wanted was a luxurious, leather wrapped full size sedan then a Hyundai Genesis will do that for half the price. A badge alone doesn’t bestow value on a product – the product has to live up to the badge and its associated heritage.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    segfault :
    The problem is the price of diesel compared to the price of gasoline makes a diesel anything uneconomical compared to its gasoline counterpart right now.

    BMW 730d European fuel economy: 7.2 l/100km (combined)
    -> 32.6 US MPG

    BMW 750i European fuel economy: 11.4 l/100km (combined)
    -> 20.6 US MPG

    So diesel would need to be at least 63% more expensive than diesel to make the 750i more economical than the 730d. Which I’m pretty sure it isn’t.

    The 730d is also 23% cheaper to buy than a 750i, and it has a proper BMW inline six.

  • avatar

    My former boss had a 750i, and was so baffled by iDrive that the dealer sent out a technician to give him a one-hour tutorial. I was walking through the lobby when the tech came in, and asked him what he was doing. He said he was an iDrive expert. I said something like, “Oh, that rot?” He became genuinely offended. I said I thought it was a safety hazard (particularly for people like my dingbat ex-boss). The tech was this soft-spoken German guy, and it was like I’d spat on the Fatherland.

    I am puzzled by the arguments that we should give the E65/E66 credit for taking BMW in a new styling direction (which is absolutely hideous) and influencing other automakers (in whose hands the results are also hideous). It doesn’t change the fact that it’s an eyesore, although I will grant that it’s not quite as ugly as the E60 5-Series.

    “If a million people do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    I have a hold button on my Stratus…

    It’s called I smack shifter with my hand to put it in neutral.

    (No, I don’t take my foot completely when I do this, but a lot less braking pressure is required to keep the car still this way)

  • avatar
    shiney2

    My biggest problem with the 2002 7series was how close it came to true great greatness. If it were not for the ugly and amateurishly integrated tail, it might have been the best looking BMW of all. If not for the poorly executed iDrive, it might have been one of the great luxury/driving cars. Its hard to forgive coming soooo close to perfection, then blowing it with arrogant and irritating detailing.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Ah, these wonderfully relaxed Shoemaker reviews, I love them, they make me feel like a million bucks (for a few minutes). It takes guts and knowledge to say a 7-series is nothing particularly special. I wish somebody in Germany would do so.

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Martin Schwoerer> Could you please post the link to the Auto Motor und Sport sound level data that you mentioned in your article some weeks ago?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Who cares about comparing it to the last 7 series? That car SUCKED. I may be hated for saying it (I have a couple family members with 2002 and 2003 models), but it did.

    The steering was way way too light for a BMW, and lacked feedback. It was not enjoyable to drive, more like piloting around a big, fast car. The steering wheel itself was large and ugly (and whats with the buttons on it that do nothing?). The interior quality, while using fine leathers and wood, was pretty poor for an 80,000 luxury car. Large panel gaps, zero style. iDrive was GOD AWFUL. Even I, a pretty tech savvy person still struggle to get the navigation to work on that thing, and the radio, holy F*CK, I still don’t think i’ve figured out how to tune it to the station I want. My grandparents pretty much gave up on that piece of work. They don’t even know how to program their clock radio for daylight savings. The ride was soft and mushy too. Great on the freeway (I believe that car has “normal” tires, not run flats). And it had serious thrust when you put your foot into it. But to be honest, it feels more like a better Chrysler 300C than a BMW.

    I wanna know how this car compares to the generation before 2002. That was a true BMW. Heavy, fantastic steering with great feedback. Firm ride that told you what was going on without ever feeling mushy. Felt like it was a block of steel. Controls that were easy as pie to use. It was fast, and it handled fantastically. I could change the radio station in 1/2 a second. That was the best 7 in my opinion. Drove like a slightly bigger 5 series, and could embarrass just about anything on the road, regardless of its size or price. That is the car this one should be compared to, because that 2002-2008 model was garbage.

    I fell in love with BMW during the mid-late 90′s. Their cars were simply superb in every aspect, and most importantly they drove like nothing else on the road. The V8 540i was a true masterpiece. The last 7 started to ruin it (though i do think the 3 series still feels pretty darn good). Suddenly I found myself looking more at Audis, and even the detested Benzes. Heck, even Jaguars started becoming more appealing (though you can keep your Lexus). The 7 just wasn’t special any more. Drove too much like everything else, while being harder to use comfort/convenient wise. A car can be luxurious with out being full of garbage toys. That’s what the late 90′s 7 (and all other BMWs of the day) were all about. Fantastic drives, luxury without gimmicks. They may have gotten more sales by going that route, but people who drove BMWs because they were different suddenly will find themselves considering other options. They lost that unique selling point. Its a shame.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Unfortunately it’s safe to assume that what you see here in the 7 Series, is an indication of the next generation 5 Series. I don’t want to keep beating the Al Ries/Farago drum, but BMW lost their brand focus and in doing so, lost their soul.

  • avatar
    7

    @ ihatetrees

    The Maus and The Elephant did (both are early Porsche productions)

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    Disclaimer – I am on my 2nd e38, and would like to find a good 05-06 e65 in 2-3 years.

    What’s wrong with sport mode? 4 days a week I get low 20′s economy driving to work relaxed, and one day I get 15 flooring the crap out of it when my hair’s on fire. It is a Luxury Sports Sedan – it does both surprisingly well – yes, it’s outdone at either end, but it’s hard to find a car that can split personalities so well.

    As for I-drive – if you don’t get it, don’t use it. Set the controls and leave them the hell alone. There is no need for you to change the shift settings while driving down the road, and some of us like the ability to do it at all without a plethora of knobs cluttering up the console.

  • avatar
    AG

    What’s that Pontiac Grand Prix doing with a BMW badge?

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    1.) Finally, BMW styling is making a comeback. I’m not saying the 750 is perfect, but a huge step in the right direction if you ask me… And have you seen the new Z4? Wow! Looks incredible! That car’s exterior design is spot on!!!

    2.) Newsflash – Not sure about everywhere else in the World, but in the United States if you have $80,000 – $100,000 to spend on a new car, ummm, you’re not that concerned with getting another few miles per gallon – LOL. But you DO want power/torque, which this cars sure looks to have in spades…

  • avatar
    CaliCarGuy

    i dont think this 7 will b as successful as the generation going out. the design is invisible. boring. plain. and its too techno ladden.

  • avatar
    James2

    I’m just surprised BMW hasn’t yet copied the remote control device James Bond used to drive his E38 750i. iDrive looks lame by comparison. And where’s the Mercedes emblem-lookalike stars (look closely) to deter pursuers???

  • avatar
    vanderaj

    Boring.

  • avatar
    gsp

    “The 2002 7-Series drove me right into the arms of Mercedes.”

    I did a double take when looking at a 2002ish Mercedes the other day with massive rusting going on at the bottom of the doors. Ewe. The bottom of the doors are not rusting on a 2002 BMW. (I live in Canada.)

    And regarding the brake hold button, I have the same thing on my 2008 X5. It is annoying. It does not allow you to creep forward, which is handy sometime, not to mention intuitive for more drivers. When stopping at a red light to make a right hand turn it engages, when you really don’t want it engaging at all. I haven’t used it since the first week I owned the car.

    The 7′s are nice car to buy used off leases. They are “cheap” at that point and good solid cars for the money.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    “If a million people do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

    Not it’s not, it’s a statistic….

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Voice of Sweden: I don’t like to get off-topic so I prefer to not post unrelated links here. But if you need them, feel free to contact me directly. martin at dornbusch dot com.

  • avatar
    pariah

    I don’t need help holding the brakes on at a light…it’s not that friggin hard. And it’s ugly. Were they trying to design a car or a porpoise?

    I’ll take an Audi A8 please.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    pariah: no you won’t!

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Martin Schwoerer> Thank you for your kind suggestion – but perhaps best of all would be to post the links in the comments to that original article? “The Art of Noise” By Martin Schwoerer, February 8, 2009.

  • avatar

    I would like to understand why Germans seem to be unable to make reliable cars. It’s frustrating – as to ergonomics and handling German cars are great, generally speaking much better than Asian cars, but their reliability sucks. On the other hand, Japanese (and now even Korean) cars are much more reliable, but their ergonomics and driving dynamics usually suck. What’s going on? Why cannot someone make a car that is fun to drive, reliable, and comfortable (and that most people can afford)?
    I think TTAC should start designing and building cars.

  • avatar
    Jason

    Especially considering the price, I find this to be one of the least desirable vehicles on the face of the Earth. How many utterly fantastic vehicles for $100k or less must you walk past to arrive…here?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Another yawner from BMW. But it at least looks a tad better than the tediously bland plain looking Bangle butt disaster before it.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    The 7 series cars are all over the place here in philadelphia. The nouveau riche like them nouveau because it it provides length and girth in a driveway where a harley would look suspicious. As 10 year old rides, they are supremly cheap, making them the anti-bling blingmobile. The perfect car.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    So many comments on such a a a blah!

    No really, this review just makes the “faulty” Maserati recenly reviewed that much better, now doesn’t it? I mean, if you’ve got 100k to blow on a car 120k is not much of a stretch. So go out and buy a real car and not such a techo-wacko-gizmo thingamajig.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Love it or hate it, that car [old flamed 7] inspired design for many other car companies trying to capture elements to add to their otherwise bland and boring style.

    I don’t get this. Pretty much every design has already been used before, and different styles go in and out of vogue. At the end of the day, you still want the product to look good, and much of the so-called “bangle” look is awkward. Actually, many parts of the design were supposed to address specific requirements like the euro pedestrian law and more trunk space, but they weren’t integrated well which is a sign of bad design.

    I like how Mazda does their sheetmetal. They tend to smooth design elements into the panels with little emphasis on brightwork, and it flows well front to back. Their recent cars will look stylish well into the future.

    EVERY Auto maker COPIED the iDrive and simply improved on it.

    No, they all copied an mp3 player, and BMW did so poorly.

  • avatar
    menno

    The “hold” button is superfluous; but I disgree it is out of laziness, however. It’s just an extra convenience in a hyper-luxury car, nothing more. (Yeah, the ultra rich are super-spoiled, eh?) Now, where’s MY bail out so I can get a 7?

    Studebaker actually had “hill holder” (automatic brake at stop lights engaged once the brake and the clutch were pushed down) as an option for decades, right up until the early 1960′s. It disengaged when the clutch started to take-up and car started to move.

    Subaru also offers a version of that right now.

  • avatar
    menno

    BTW, I’m seriously SERIOUSLY looking at a 1988 BMW 750iL (E38 I believe it is known as) for a “future collectible” car.

    Anyone have any advice as to what to look for above and beyond the obvious potential glitches?

    I sold my old Chevrolet Convertible “leaker” 18 months or more ago, and I’m itching to have a SAFE and RELIABLE car to enjoy for a couple thousand miles per summer (Yeah, I know, NW Michigan summer lasts about 3 days…)

    It’s now at the nadir of depreciation, this car; under $3000 for a car which cost $90,000 new, 21 years ago. Twelve cylinders.

    I’m kind of looking at it through the eyes of the potential up-side in 15 years.

    Looking at this another way; crazy car guys with a spare $500 were buying 1930′s Auburns, Cords, Duesenburgs, Packards, Pierce Arrows, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Peerlesses, etc., post-war when all they were considered to be was old, unwanted, complex gashogs and out of style…. Look what happened to those values 30 to 50 years later.

    Not that I’ll be around in 30 to 50 years for the BMW value to go up that far (as if).

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    Yeah, wait for the diesel. You know it’s coming, and its arrival will cost buyers of the gas version a fat depreciation hit.

    To my eyes, it’s best looking Seven-Series ever. A luxobarge is not sports car and should have no ambition to look like one.

  • avatar
    homeworld1031tx

    But then I discovered that the normal suspension mode orders the car to save fuel by starting out in second gear (a trick also practiced by the Porsche Cayenne). Once I discovered the sport mode, I was more impressed with forward thrust.

    Is the author not aware that most automatic transmissions start out in a gear above 1st? Or, are you comparing the suspension settings as being the switch for this transmission setting? Because if you think the Cayenne is some technological marvel just because its ‘trick’ transmission starting out in 2nd from a dead stop, you’re badly mistaken.

  • avatar
    justin.82

    Every model BMW comes out with gets ragged on! They did’nt like the new 5 series and that had a nice face lift, it looks mean and performs mean and is classy! I own a 2007 M5 and a new 2009 M3 – I think they did really well with the new 7 and I think since the 3 series comes in a diesel the new 7 will sometime. They already run the hydrogen 7 in Europe! The last 7 Series was ragged on because of Chris Bangle’a designs. He was a little radical but it’s what BMW needed. The last 7 was a bit ugly and the new 7 is a nice predessesor!

  • avatar
    carguru

    BMW’s 7 series continue to disappoint. As bad as Bangle was, believe it or not the aesthetics of this car are just as, or more, ugly. It appears as if they copied Lexus’s flagship rear-end, and coming from a car maker like BMW, I expected alot more. I find it interesting how BMW competes with their M high performance series with Mercedes’s AMG line with the M3 and the M5, yet there is no M model in the 7 series line-up that competes with the S63, or S65. Could it be because there has been virtually no interest in the flagship 760 since 2001, and thus it is pointless to create an M7? Probably so. BMW’s 3 and 5 series are brilliant, the best sedans on the road, in terms of looks, and handling. If you are going to buy a BMW, I’d stick with these series of cars. As a side note, why in the heck did BMW bother creating the X6? It’s a hideous car, and after seeing that the Mercedes R class had as much interest as anthrax from the consumer, BMW should have known better to spare us with that hideousness.


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