By Cars.com EditorsJuly 20, 2016
About the video
BMW redesigned its flagship sedan for 2016 and the new 7 Series is a technological showcase, from its carbon-fiber body construction to its high-tech safety and entertainment features. Watch the video for more.
(engine revving) Flagship luxury sedans are technological showcases for a brand. And that's certainly what the redesigned 2016 BMW 750i is for the German automaker.
From the things you can't see, like the weight saving carbon fiber intensive construction to high-tech safety and entertainment features, The seven series shows BMW's thinking and what might be in store for future versions of its other cars. After spending a lot of time driving the new seven series, I'm both excited and concerned by the thought of that future. The 750i is a big car. It's only available in long wheel base form, and it measures 207 inches long overall. That makes it longer than a Cadillac Escalade SUV. It's pretty well proportioned though, and the twin port grill immediately identifies it as a BMW. This model has the $3,000 M sport package, which gives the car a little bit more of an aggressive look with 20 inch alloy wheels, piano black exterior accents, and an aerodynamic body kit. One of the effects of the long wheel base layout is that the rear doors are massive. It reveals a big opening for getting in and out of the backseat, which is nice, but these are a liability in parking lots. The 750i weighs about 190 pounds less than its predecessor, and the lower curb weight comes through in the driving experience. It's nimble and it doesn't feel as big as it really is. It drives more like the lightweight Jaguar XJ than the Mercedes S class, which is more isolating. The 750i is also very quick. BMW sights a zero to 60 mile per hour time of 4.3 seconds. Power comes from a twin turbo V8 engine that teams with an eight speed automatic transmission. The car has a fuel saving stop-start system, and it's one of the more seamless ones I've tested. The engine starts quickly and smoothly when it's time to go again. With its finely crafted cabin, the 750i is a comfortable place to let the miles pass by. There are upscale finishes, like an available leather dashboard, wherever you look. And the big front seats are comfy and have numerous power adjustments, including side bolster snugness, and seat cushion length. I'm not a fan though of the new silver colored and glass-like buttons on the dashboard and center console. BMW has used black buttons with white lettering for years, but the shift to these new buttons, while giving a more upscale appearance makes it harder to tell what they do. The seven series has the latest version of BMW's iDrive system, and it gives you a few different ways to operate the multimedia system. You can use the console controller here, or you can use the touchscreen on the dashboard, and there's now a feature called gesture recognition. So you can do certain actions like spinning your finger in a circle to raise the volume or spinning it the other way to lower the volume. Once you get the hang of it, the gesture controls work okay, but they don't necessarily make your life in the car any easier. For volume, there are already easy to use controls on the steering wheel and the dashboard itself. It seems like a feature that's gonna be good for impressing your friends, but something you probably won't use day in and day out. There's also an optional surround view camera system that includes cameras positioned around the exterior of the car to give you multiple views of your surroundings on the dashboard screen. And one of those views even gives you a virtual image of your car that you can spin around to see what's around it. As comfortable as the front seats are, the back seat is really where you want to be. With more than 44 inches of leg room, there's enough space to stretch your legs. And with power adjustable seats and convenience features like power window shades, vanity mirrors, and a dual screen entertainment system, this is one of the most luxurious and comfortable back seats I've been in that wasn't from Rolls Royce or Bentley. The 750i is one of the rare full sized luxury sedans that rewards the driver and passengers in equal measure. It's nimble and quick. And the expansive and luxuriously appointed back seat is downright rejuvenating. Perhaps that's what you'd expect from a corner of the car market where price tags are regularly more than $90,000, but the 750i is more of an exception than the rule. (upbeat music) (trunk slamming)