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2013 BMW 750Li

06:09AM - 17.12.'12

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For a while now, the absolute and rather uncontested king of big luxury executive sedan sales worldwide has been the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Among the obvious competition, there has been an almost unspoken agreement that this is so, and that it shall remain so for our lifetimes. Clearly, this is regardless of the fact that the motoring press – i.e. we the so-called "experts" – have generally preferred this generation of Audi A8/S8, or the sporting BMW 7 Series in its various trims. But hey, what do we know?

Deliveries of this midlife-update BMW 750Li to US dealers began back at the end of September, and we waited deliberately until now to delve deeply into it. Visually, aside from some small aesthetic changes, there is little difference on the surface between this 2013 model and the 2012 model it replaces, the main change being that it gets the latest edition of BMW's iDrive system, which in software terms is version 4.2.

We'll get to that, but there have actually been upgrades to the twin-turbocharged V8 ("N63B44" to those in the know) that renders this big Bimmer more of a sports car in its class, even in the long-wheelbase form tested here. Output is up by over eleven percent to 443 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, torque now stands at 479 pound-feet for a more modest gain of just under seven percent between 2,000 and 4,500 revs. Acceleration to 60 miles per hour is claimed at 4.7 seconds using the eight-speed Steptronic automatic, a time that seems almost freakishly quick for a 4,660-pounder that stretches 17.1 feet from bumper to bumper. As you have likely already assumed, our test car arrived fairly well stuffed with performance, aesthetic, comfort and convenience options, taking the ultimate sticker price a few thousand north of the $100k mark. This sort of pricing is fairly common at this tier, whether you want this rear-wheel-drive 750Li with its $3,300 M Sport Package, a Mercedes S550, Jaguar XJL Supercharged, Audi A8L 4.0 TFSI, or (for a little bit less) Lexus LS460 F Sport. Every single one of these models is very well executed and intensely interesting in its own right, but there's still something special about the Bavarian.

The interior is very nice on this 750Li, and the M Sport touches add some welcome attitude and tactile surfaces. The changes all work well with the car's most aggressive drive attitude, achievable through the Driving Dynamics Control on the center console. Go for Sport or Sport+, and the M-wearing 750Li gets pleasantly hungry in its throttle mapping, steering calibration and shift times. Our tester was also supplied with options like Integral Active Steering ($1,750) and Active Roll Stabilization ($2,500), assuring that our drive experience on California's finest sunny and dry roads was going to be entertaining.

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