2016 BMW 750Li xDrive video review

Technofest – the new flagship Beemer is a showcase for cutting-edge gadgetry – but is it still a BMW?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

If BMW was still product-placing in Bond movies, then Q Department would be absolutely delighted with the all-new 2016 BMW 750Li tested here. 007 himself on the other hand would certainly not be shaken or stirred.

Watch our comprehensive video review of the all-new 2016 BMW 750Li by clicking below.

Now there are many reasons why this new flagship Beemer is an extremely impressive machine that’ll leave potential owners with gaping mouths and lots of ‘want’ whilst sending rivals rushing back to their virtual drawing boards wondering where they could possibly go from here.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

However there are also a few, and to my warped thinking, stronger, points about this vehicle that left me rather disturbed and depressed.

So let’s start with the good stuff – this is probably the most gadget-laden, technologically advanced, and cleverest car I have ever experienced. There are a gazillion motors operating a bazillion devices all catering to your comfort and compensating for your incompetence.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

In the back there’s a removable tablet that operates everything from the lighting ambience (including colour and intensity) to the climate and curtains, the sunroof, the seat positions, the various massage options, the infotainment for the rear and the speed of the Earth’s rotation. Actually I lied about that last bit, but as you relax in this sumptuous luxury, time does seem to slow down a little.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

Interior space, the opulent appointments, the classy trim are all simply beyond reproach. The sound system is tremendous (though I still like the Mercedes S-Class’ Burmeister system better) and you wouldn’t even know or care if the world went to hell.

Upfront it’s equally lavish, you simply can’t experience discomfort and there’s a vast array of MI6-level tech to keep you ahead of the game – as if there’s any game left.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

A massive screen unlocks a ton of features including adjustable everything, numerous ways to input commands including hand gestures (actually the slowest and most pointless feature – merely a showstopper you’ll use once to show off and never again).

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

And you can get help on the move wherever there’s a phone signal, whether it be the service centre in the UAE, the cops should you need them (God forbid) and even a man in Berlin who’s your personal butler and can do all sorts of things including booking a romantic table for two at an exclusive restaurant, sending the directions directly to your Sat Nav, ordering flowers, giving your wife an alibi about you being stuck in meetings till late and leaving something for the weekend in the glovebox.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

I’m exaggerating only very slightly. What I can’t overstate however is the sheer amount of nannying and annoying interference by the car in the one thing that you’d think might still be left to YOU, the driver. The Nav always knows where you are and the speed limit of every road and it takes great delight in sounding the alarm the moment you exceed it.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

Then there’s an entire armoury of drivers aids that fight you from changing lanes, brake for you, warn you about your terrible driving and generally make an absolutely nuisance of themselves. Yes you can turn them off – most of them anyway – and you can even tweak the intensity of the busy-bodying inflicted on you.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

But if you buy a car with all this tech and then disable it, it’s rather like buying an iPhone 6S Plus and ONLY ever making phone calls on it.

This is certainly a fast car, it rides okay, and for all we know, it might handle alright and perhaps even vaguely like a BMW should. However I never got to find out, because this car annoyed me way too much.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

At one point I found myself arguing with it so intensely as it continued to undermine my authority at the helm, that I almost unbuckled my belt, crawled into the back seat and shouted: ‘alright then, you think you know how to drive better than me? Well then you bloody well do it yourself!’ all whilst still on the move at 120kph.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

And you know what? I reckon if I had done it, the car would not have crashed, it would have sighed with relief and happily carried on. This car desperately wants to be autonomous and take control away from the numpty behind the wheel. And you actually end up wanting it to, because it’s just so darned comfortable to ride in the back instead, and driving it is utterly joyless.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

Verdict

This is a car to be driven about in. It’s the closest thing to an autonomous car you can buy today. It’s loaded with kit and technology that even the most enlightened R&D fellows at other car makers haven’t even dreamt up yet. It’s fast, it’s opulent and it’s gloriously well built.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

But it doesn’t look even half as different to the previous car as it actually is – and that’s a lot of money to pay for ‘same again’.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

It’s surely too techy for the more mature clientele it’s aimed at – although my 15-year old son figured most of it out in minutes – and as a BMW it’s disloyal to the brand ethics by completing removing you from the process of actually driving it.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

Worst of all it seems to revel and take great delight in reminding you how much more clever it is, and how inferior you are. This is comfy car, but not a friendly one.

2016 BMW 750iL xDrive review

Yet if you’re the sort that always must be the first to have the latest, most advance tech, and then take great delight in explaining every SINGLE pointless feature to all and sundry within earshot until they’ve silently slit their wrists and bled out, then this is the car for you.

For me the segment leaders remain the S-Class, Audi S8 and Jaguar XJ.

2016 BMW 750Li xDrive – The Specs

Price: AED575,000 ($157k)
Engine: 4.4-litre Twin Turbo V8, 450bhp @ 5500-6000rpm, 480lb ft @ 1800-4500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, All-wheel drive
Performance: 0-100kph 4.4 seconds, Top speed 250kph
Fuel Economy: 12L/100km
Weight: 2177kg

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