There’s plenty the 2020 BMW 750i can’t do. It can’t accommodate a big family. It can’t haul a load of scrap metal. Oh, and it can’t fly… yet.
But the high-tech sedan can respond to voice commands this year: “Hey BMW” (or a name of your choice) gets the attention of the infotainment system. It responds to friendly hand gestures, too. BMW’s flagship also can autonomously drive through sluggish traffic up to 37 mph – accelerate, brake, keep in the lane – as long as the driver watches the road. And, it can back out of the garage by itself – you control it on the key fob – and it can retrace a recent path up to 165 feet.
The 7 even watches over you like a mother hen. BMW’s “Caring Car” can detect fatigue and change the interior temp or radio station to perk you up.
While all that is dazzling enough, the elephant in the showroom is 750’s new and mammoth twin-kidney grille. Seems young Chinese buyers asked for it and, since 7-Series sales in China are far higher than anywhere else, BMW bumped up the grille by 40 percent. The rear was redesigned, too, with new L-shaped tail lights and a daytime light clear across the width of the car.
A larger grille may suggest more power to some (greater air intake) and they wouldn’t be wrong. The all-wheel-drive (xDrive) 750i has a 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 engine that produces 530 hp and 553 foot-pounds of torque – that’s an increase of 80 horses and 74 torque units. And it translates to an amazing 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, according to BMW, and a quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds.
That’s sports car-like acceleration down a straight line. An 8-speed automatic with manual-shift mode is rapid-fire and smooth in getting the beast (yeah, it’s nearly 2.5 tons despite its lightweight carbon-fiber core) up to speed.
It excels on the highway, too, where it is smooth and stable, quiet and comfortable. BMW added thicker side-window glass and sound insulation materials throughout. Around town, an adaptive suspension smooths out the dips and bumps and allows it to grip corners. Still, the 750i does not have the sports car agility of the smaller Bimmers.
EPA-rated fuel economy is 17 mpg city, 25 highway, but it managed around 28 on the highway during test week.
Inside, it’s all about comfort, luxury and technology. Seats are heated and ventilated, offer 20-way power adjustments, and are trimmed in quilted Nappa leather that stretches across the center console. Wood inlays come in gray poplar or eucalyptus; the interior is refreshed with a built-in air fragrance system.
The 12.3-inch digital instrument screen is bold and customizable, while BMW’s infotainment operating system has been upgraded this year and responds to new hand gestures and voice controls. A flip of the fingers across the 10.2 inch display can reroute navigation to get you home, or sift through music choices.
Voice commands to the “Intelligent Personal Assistant” can bring the temp down or offer restaurant suggestions. It’s not always quick to respond, or may be hard of hearing?
Rear-seat folks get equal (better?) treatment. They get entertainment via twin 10-inch HD screens and Blu-ray player. Passengers can adjust, by remote, their heated and ventilated seats with massage functions, and flip down foot rests on the floor. A tablet in the rear console also controls seats and infotainment options.
Power rear and side shades keep the heat and light out and offer privacy, while the BMW’s “sky lounge” offers colorful ambient lighting (all for $3,900). Tunes come through a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system (another $3,400). Now it’s time to chill, if those figures don’t spoil the mood.
There’s plenty of room for luggage and golf clubs. The long-wheelbase sedan exceeds most luxury-sedan rivals with 18.2 cubic feet of trunk space.
Advanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, front-collision warning and city-collision mitigation, four-wheel active steering. There’s also an emergency stop assist, which halts the car in a health emergency, and a drive recorder that captures video and driving data.
Each year brings high-tech features that are more amazing than the last. The 750i still can’t prepare dinner, or get the grass cut. But you might check back next year.
MSRP | $102,650
As Tested | $126,145 (with Autobahn package, $4,100; Driver Assist, $1,700; Luxury Rear Seat, $3,900; Executive seats, $3,900; Bowens & Wilkins audio, $3,400; rear entertainment, $2,700)
What’s all the excitement about? BMW’s flagship sedan has a bolder grill, more power, unexpected luxuries and advanced safety
Powertrain | 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine capable of 530 hp, 553 lb.-ft. of torque; 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle switches
How’s the performance? Straightaway to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, comfy and quiet on highway
Fuel economy | EPA estimates 17 mpg city, 25 highway; 20 mpg combined