Full-size luxury sedans tend to have a loyal following, especially among the German cars, and BMW's 7 Series is no exception. If you are a BMW fan (or one of another make), then a review may not woo you to another manufacturer, but it can point you to the model that fits your needs. For example, BMW's extended wheelbase 750Li.
Appearance: The 7 Series is BMW's flagship luxury sedan, and the line includes several models. Our tester was the extended wheelbase 750Li. The design is stately, with BMW's familiar split grille. Our tester's light-alloy wheels and chrome accents stood out nicely against its dark Imperial Blue Metallic color. (Expect slight styling tweaks to freshen the 7 Series look when the 2013 models hit showrooms.)
Performance: You expect comfort and you get it. The rear-wheel-drive sedan's Driving Dynamics Control lets you adjust your ride, which errs on the stiff side, from comfort to Sport Plus modes. The 4.4-liter, 445-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 pulled steadily and confidently. Lyra felt a bit of turbo lag; Peter did not. (There also is a turbo 6-cylinder option.) Still, this isn't a sports sedan. We found the experience less than engaging, probably owing to the big-car feel of the 4,200-pound-plus, extended-wheelbase sedan. That said, however, this is a car you would want to take on a long road trip.
Interior: We found this to be the 750Li's strong suit. The cabin is roomy and luxurious, yet understated. The 20-way (!) power front seats are plush, with adjustments that include thigh support. Our tester's Veneto Beige Nappa leather seats were a nice contrast with the rest of the interior trim, which includes natural-wood inlays; we also appreciated the lighter color in the summer heat. Also nice: The four-zone climate control has a solar sensor to compensate for extra heat. As for the controls, BMW seems to have made its iDrive system more intuitive — let's hope they keep refining it. A USB port and iPod adapter are now standard. The rearview camera provides a bird's-eye angle for easier parking, which we found really helpful with the big sedan. Because of our 750Li's extended wheelbase, we had lots of headroom and legroom in the front and rear. The Li adds more than 5 inches of rear space to stretch your legs. The trunk space (14 cubic feet) is adequate for a large car, but Peter felt it a bit narrow. (Golfers will have to judge for themselves.) BMW also groups its options in packages, which can quickly increase the base price.
Our 3 favorites
Interior: Roomy, comfortable and quiet.
Engine: BMW's V-8 is one smooth power plant.
Profile: The car's silhouette symbolizes luxury.
No more slamming: Nice and easy with soft-close doors.
Bird's-eye view: Overhead view makes parking easier.
Trunk space: Enough space for my shopping trips.
The bottom line: The BMW 750Li is roomy and refined. If comfort and style are a priority — especially for passengers — then this BMW deserves your consideration.