2010 BMW 750i xDrive Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Be forewarned:  If you get behind the wheel of the 2010 BMW 750i xDrive, you better have a grip on what you're doing.  It's not that the silky smooth Bimmer is hard to drive, because it's not.  This car is chocked with so much technology, though it requires a bit of study to effectively operate it, even for a seasoned automotive writer who's used to pushing buttons on every car available for sale.

I experienced the 750i xDrive on a recent trip from Maryland to New York.  This is a route that is hit or miss.  If traffic is bad, you crawl along at miserably slow speeds.  But if traffic is light, watch out!  With a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and all-wheel drive, the term "rocket sled" comes to mind as the combination of sheer power and performance options made my journey a blast.

On to some of the technology that made my travel so enjoyable.  First up is Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, part of a $5,500 Technology package that also includes Active Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning and Night Vision with Pedestrian Protection, options that are worth every penny.  With Active Cruise Control, a front mounted radar sensor permanently scans the road ahead. As you approach a slower vehicle, the system automatically reduces power output from the engine and gently applies the brakes, keeping you at a predetermined distance to the vehicle ahead. When the lane ahead clears, the system automatically increases your vehicle's speed to your preferred cruising speed (Stop & Go). Up to four different speeds can be preprogrammed, and pressing the accelerator or brake pedal deactivates the system.  If a crash is determined to be imminent, red flashing and audible warning reminds you to get on the brakes hard. On curves, Active Cruise Control uses data from the stability control and navigation systems to calculate whether the cruise speed needs to be adjusted, and to determine whether vehicles in the radar's field are in the same or adjacent lane. The radar sensor is heated in cold weather, great for Canadian and Northern U.S. climates. But this system is not an autopilot, and if sudden deceleration is required, you are alerted by a warning sound and visual message.  The system works very well and helped keep me alert during the long drive. Lane Departure Warning is one of my favourites, providing a haptic warning when you stray from your intended lane.  With Active Blind Spot Detection, if you activate the turn signal and there is another vehicle in your blind spot or approaching rapidly, an amber warning light appears in the side mirror. Night Vision System with Pedestrian Detection uses an infrared camera that allows you to see heat signatures up to 300 meters (980 feet) in front of you.  Pedestrian movement is tracked in the same fashion up to 91 meters (300 feet) in front of you.

A $3,500 Multi-Media package can also be had, with rear seat entertainment and six-disc DVD changer, but while the navigation system is standard you'll need to spend $7,700 extra to get a backup camera (not to mention Sirius satellite radio) because it comes as part of the Executive Package that includes so many things there isn't space enough to list them all, but a short list features a leather dash, active and ventilated front seats, soft close doors, rear sun shades, a powered trunk lid, and more.

When you are driving, all of the on-off buttons for the aforementioned systems are arrayed to the left of the steering wheel.  Figuring out which is which is where the studying comes in.  Once you master what switch does what, it's a great driving experience, enhanced by the xDrive all-wheel drive system, which provides sure-footed handling, no matter the weather. 

There's a ton of standard equipment with the 750i xDrive as well.  Leather seating, tasteful wood and metal accents and a premium audio system are among interior highlights.  Standard safety gear is also impressive.  Anti-lock brakes with Brake Drying feature and Brake Fade Compensation bring you to a safe stop in a hurry.  Airbags galore protect you in a collision, and adaptive headlights allow you to see your way clearly through turns.

And BMW's infamous iDrive system is much improved!  No longer do you have to swear loudly when trying to adjust vehicle parameters or find your favourite radio station.

I'm constantly amazed by the performance of the big sedans from German automakers.  Weighing in at a hefty 2,140 kilos (4718 pounds), the 750i xDrive accelerates to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds, and crunches your gut with 450 pound-feet of torque.  The feel of such a massive car moving so quickly is hard to describe, and infinitely enjoyable.

My 750i xDrive tester had a list price of $108,600 ($3,400 more than the $105,200 non-AWD base model) and featured nearly $20,000 worth of options.  The most expensive option, the $6,500 "M Sport Package," includes 20" sport wheels/tires, Dynamic Drive active roll stabilization, an aero package, a sport steering wheel, an anthracite roofliner, and "Shadowline" trim, which is high-gloss black window trim instead of chrome.  As with any BMW purchase, you can save big money by choosing options wisely, if saving money is a priority for you.

But for many, load it up to the gills!  This Bimmer is loaded and is the state-of-the-art of what BMW offers.  It embodies the best of the brand, and executes it with precision, comfort, and high style.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, BMW, 2010, 7 Series, 750Li, 750i, $75,000 - $99,999, $99,999+,

Organizations: BMW

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