BMW Redesigns 2016 Flagship Sedan For Elite Status

Tom Halligan
Posted on March 18, 2016

The 2016 BMW 750i xDrive is positioned to go head-to-head against the Mercedes S-Class.

The 2016 BMW 750i xDrive is positioned to go head-to-head against the Mercedes S-Class.

BMW has upped the ante in the ultra-luxury sedan class with its all-new 7 Series models ready to go head-to-head with the Mercedes Benz S-Class, and any other automaker that wants to fight it out at the top of the high-end sedan food chain.

Longer and loaded with more impressive technology and creature comforts than previous models, BMW boasts the 7 Series has the most rear legroom in its class (44.4 inches), and the optional Rear Executive Seating packages are sure to satisfy the most discriminating wheel-heeled clientele.

Comfortable In All Skins

Further, the 7’s new skin has a less muscular design than previous models. The more refined, classic body style is suited for the limousine industry “look,” but also sports sleek front and rear touches that highlight its luxury status. For example, the 7 Series has the largest double kidney grill BMW has ever stamped on its vehicles signifying its company flagship status.

Head-turning looks, a panoramic moon roof, interior plushness and electronic wizardry aside, the 7 Series is, of course, a BMW and engine power and performance stand out in all 7 Series models. The 750i and my test vehicle, the 750i xDrive, are equipped with a 4.4 liter Twin Turbo V-8 that crank 445 horsepower zipping from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds. The 740i sports a 3.0 liter Twin Power Turbo that produces 330 horsepower and is no slouch going from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds.

There also are three diving modes — Sport, Eco, and Comfort — which allow chauffeurs to adjust the vehicle performance depending on the situations.  Comfort mode is best suited when carrying passengers and Eco mode for when the chauffeur is running from job to job.

Rear Cabin Luxury

As I mentioned, the 7 Series rear seating is roomy by every measuring stick

Boasting the most rear legroom in its class, the 7 Series comes with an array of plush creature comforts and amenities. The long wheelbase sedan offers plenty of room to enter and exit the rear cabin. Passengers can control seats that recline and set numerous positions to ensure a relaxing ride, as well as individual climate control and entertainment systems.

Boasting the most rear legroom in its class, the 7 Series comes with an array of plush creature comforts and amenities. The long wheelbase sedan offers plenty of room to enter and exit the rear cabin. Passengers can control seats that recline and set numerous positions to ensure a relaxing ride, as well as individual climate control and entertainment systems.

— leg, shoulder and head room. The cabin features high-end black Nappa leather upholstery, black wood trim, and plush carpeting. The front passenger seat can be slid forward and folded, allowing rear passenger to take full advantage of the new pop-out footrest and optional 42.5 degree seat incline, available as part of the Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package. Individual rear seats can be adjusted via seven buttons that control head restraint, shoulder and lumbar support, forward/backward tilt and the backrest. The front passenger seat can even be operated by the rear passenger to increase rear legroom. Standard features include WiFi hotspot to stream content from mobile devices directly to 10-in. entertainment front and rear-console screens.

My 750i xDrive was equipped with the optional Executive Package II and Luxury Seating Package with Cold Weather. Package II added power side window shades with ambiance light, front ventilated seats, instrument panel with Nappa leather finish and front massaging seats — something chauffeurs will surely appreciate. The Luxury seating package added rear ventilated comfort and rear-massaging seating, and front and rear heated seats and armrests.

Rear Executive Lounge Seating Package includes:

  • Electric reclining seat and footrest
  • Rear-seat entertainment w/ 7-in. touch command tablet
  • Executive lounge rear center console
  • Executive Package
  • Luxury seating package with cold weather
  • Rear massaging seats
  • Rear comfort seats
  • Rear ventilated seats

Toggle Technology

The new 7 Series navigation features the iDrive 5.0 system with the first-ever Gesture Control system or toggling entertainment functions. Simple finger touches or movements on the exclusive Touch command and all new 7-inch Touch Command tablet serve as your controller to a number of comfort and luxury features, including multiple climate settings, seating, navigation and entertainment functions. The xDrive model I drove is BMW’s permanent all-wheel drive system. Under normal circumstances, it distributes driver power between the front and rear axles in a 40:60 ratio, and changes this figure variably when the road surface or overall driving conditions change. xDrive is regulated by Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and uses information from the latter system’s sensors to monitor road conditions. In addition, brake force courtesy of DSC is used when there is traction difference between the two sides of the vehicle and wheel spin is likely.

Load Factors

Driving throughout the New Jersey-New York metro region — in all conditions — during my testing period, the xDrive delivered as promised, coupled with a suspension system that absorbed all highway turbulence not even causing a ripple in my coffee cup. As you would expect from its ultra-lux status, the cabin was church quiet even in horn-honking Manhattan and Long Island where I easily maneuvered in quiet comfort through the usual chaos.

The test vehicle was loaded with a long list of standard features and amenities as you would expect for a top-of-the-line German engineered car, including state-of-the-art high-tech wizardry that manages all creature comforts, navigation, entertainment and performance monitoring, plus abundant cutting-edge safety and driver assistance features that validate insurance discounts.

The 750i was equipped with the optional Driver Assistance Plus package and also the optional Driver Assistance Plus II. The Plus package consisted of Surround View with 3D view; parking assistant with active park distance; blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision, and speed limit information and the active lane departure warning feature, where if you drift into another lane, the steering wheel vibrates to alert you that it is automatically pulling you back into your lane. It’s a little disconcerting at first, but no question keeps chauffeurs alert and on the straight and narrow.

Cool Factor

If your chauffeur is stopped in traffic and wants to impress your high-end client who most likely drives a personal luxury vehicle, BMW‘s “world’s first” Gesture Control should do the trick. Basically, you just wave a finger or hand in front of the iDrive touchscreen display to operate various control functions. For example, just twirl a finger to set audio volume up or down or point a finger to receive an incoming call or wave it off to not answer.


The 7 Series contains an impressive list of high-tech safety features inside and outside. Front and rear cameras include a “surround view” of the area around the vehicle. The Plus II package takes safety and vehicle awareness of its immediate environment to a new level, with “active” driver assistance, cruise control, lane keeping assistant with side collision warning, traffic jam assistant, and more.

The optional Driver Assistance Plus package included in my test vehicle added 3D surround view, parking assistant, blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning, lane departure warning for when you stray from your lane, steering wheel vibration alerting you as the vehicle automatically pulls back into your lane. In addition, the vehicle also included the optional Driver Assistance Plus II package that added Lane Departure Warning and approach control warning with light city braking function, and also the Active Cruise Control with stop and go functions and traffic jam assistant.

Active Cruise Control maintains a speed determined by the driver, as well as the distance to the car ahead. The vehicle takes over accelerating and braking and keeps the predetermined distance to the car ahead even in slow-moving traffic and down to a standstill in traffic jams. If a vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, the BMW responds immediately if the approach control warning is activated. The system operates in steps. It displays a warning symbol, which begins blinking, emits and acoustic sound, and then applies the brakes.

Trunk capacity at 18.2 cu. ft. can handle normal luggage for two to three passengers.

Trunk capacity at 18.2 cu. ft. can handle normal luggage for two to three passengers.

Traffic jam assistant takes the burden off the driver on motorways and in other monotonous traffic situations. At speeds of up to 37 mph, the system lets the car simply “glide along” with the other cars in dense traffic situations, making traffic jams less stressful. It automatically maintains the desired distance from the vehicle ahead and regulates the car’s speed down to standstill, all while providing active steering support — as long as the driver keeps one hand on the steering wheel.

SPECS: 2016 750i xDrive

Length: 17 ft. 2.6 in.

Width: 6 ft. 2.9 in

Passengers: 4 passengers total (3 preferred for livery (2 rear, 1 front passenger)

Rear legroom: 44.4 in.

Rear head room: 38.9 in.

Rear shoulder room: 57.7 in.

Trunk capacity: 18.2 cu. ft.

Fuel Tank/economy: 20.6 gal.; 19 city/29 hwy

Engines as tested: 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V-8

Available packages: Rear Executive Lounge Seating

Warranty: 4 year/ 50,000 miles

Extended Warranty: Purchase 3 years/100,000 and 3 years/150,000

Price (Review model): MSRP $97,400 (with option packages/destination charge: $108,945.

Pricing: MSRP for the 7-Series models range from $81,300 to $97,400

Livery Pricing: Contact Eric Vicedomini, BMW Key Account Manager for special livery pricing discounts and incentives. [email protected] or (201) 307-4465

Competition: Mercedes S Class, Audi A8

Related Topics: BMW, BMW 7 series, new vehicles, OEMs, premium luxury sedans, sedans, Vehicle Reviews, vehicle technology

Comments ( 1 )
  • Pam Lassila

     | about 3 years ago

    My BMW is my favorite car and I love driving it! I love how much room is in it considering that I am not a very little person. I love the different option I have for driving modes as well. And who doesn't love the horsepower?

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