2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW 750i: Who Has the Better Butt?

March 04, 2010

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Last night I parked next to an older BMW 7 Series, and couldn't resist taking this quick shot of the two big Bimmers side-by-side.

Personally, I love the styling of our 2009 750i. Although I think the other car is still handsome as well.

Do you prefer the old or new?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 27,036 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Tiny Outer Mirrors

February 10, 2010

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As regular readers may know, I love our long-term 2009 BMW 750.
I even prefer it to our long-term M3, but I'll write that post another day.

One thing I don't like about our 750 (besides the engine accessory drive noise, wind noise, and throttle hesitation, then surge) is the outer mirrors. They're tiny.

I suppose this was done in the name of styling, because from the outside those mirrors don't look too small.

This is one car that would benefit from a blind spot detection system.

Turn my head? Yeah, I do that too.

But good mirrors and a proper blind spot detection system can also be helpful.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 25,400 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: 25,000 Miles

February 02, 2010

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The 7 Series has been in our long-term fleet for less than a year's time, and we've already passed 25,000 miles. We've taken it on road trips to San Luis Obispo, New Mexico, Sacramento, a multi-leg sojourn to Newport Beach, Paso Robles and See Canyon, and Las Vegas.

Happy 25K, Mr. 7.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 BMW 750i: Open Thread

January 19, 2010

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What do you want to know about the 2009 BMW 750i that you don't already know?

Have you driven one? Seen any on the road? Write us a review.

Are there any pictures or videos you want us to take?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 BMW 750i: Smokin'

January 17, 2010

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Now this is how you should drive a luxury car.

Our BMW 750i may have a swanky interior but it also has an engine capable of 400 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 450 pound-feet of torque at only 1,800 rpm.

So drive it like you're being chased by the coppers.

Our 2009 BMW 750i is car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 BMW 750i: Welcome To Nevada

November 06, 2009

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You learn a lot about a car between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Most of your time is spent on Interstate 15 banging through the set of the Road Warrior. It's a wonderful drive to clear the head and education yourself about a vehicle's rights and wrongs. Basically, it's a 600 mile (300 miles each way) run with nothing to do except nit pick your ride.

Here's what I learned about our long-term 2009 BMW 750i, there are ten.

1) It can travel more than 400 miles on a tank of Premium.

2) Its driver's seat is comfortable for atleast 300 miles.

3) Its steering wheel mounted cruise control controls are very intuitive. I especially like the thumb wheel used to dial your speed up or down.

4) The BMW's navigation system is easy to program and never seems to think you're someplace you're not.

5) It likes to go fast. So I'm told.

6) There's still a little too much surface vibration in the big sedan's ride (probably due to our combination of a Sport Package and run-flat rubber), but not enough to keep me from driving it for the next week.

7) Its engine and transmission are from the engine and transmission Gods. This car's twin-turbo V8 is its absolute best feature.

8) Its headlamps are some of the best in the world. It's dark out there in the dessert.

9) You can use the seat heaters and air conditioned seat function at the same time. Not sure why.

10) All the numbers on its dashboard add up to 4,407. (Don't check.)

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 BMW 750i: 20,000 Miles Old

November 02, 2009

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I'm not sure what's more shocking, the fact that our long-term 2009 BMW 750i blew through the 20,000-mile mark today or how disgustingly dusty its gauges are.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 20,012 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: The Run to Vegas

October 30, 2009

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Our coverage of the SEMA Show has already hit full stride, but the show itself takes place next week in Las Vegas. And flying to Las Vegas from Los Angeles is never an option for those of us that love to drive. It's a 295 mile run through the desert if you stay on the interstate, but there are more than a few detours (great roads, great scenery) that are worth the extra time and miles.

I leave for Vegas on Monday and this year my chosen stead is our long-term 2009 BMW 750i (Last year I drove our long-term Cadillac CTS and the year before that I took our long-term Infiniti G35.). I've already thrown our Escort radar detector in the BMW's glovebox, so I'm sure not to forget it, and as you can see I already plugged Vegas into the car's nav system.

I'll let you know how it goes next week.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 BMW 750i: Door Ding Hell

October 27, 2009

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Just look at that nasty door ding in the passenger side rear door of our long-term 2009 BMW 750i. I'd give anything to know the name of the careless, disrespectful, narcissistic, repugnant sociopath that did it.

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2009 BMW 750i: Jacket Required

October 13, 2009

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There is a thing here in LA, that I'm sure is not unique to the Southland, called Dine LA. Basically a bunch of restaurants, typically nice places, have a prix fixe menu at a somewhat lowered cost. My girlfriend is really into the festival and we try a few places every year.

When she told me we were going to a steak place on Sunset Boulevard, I thought of her run down Jetta with a broken headlight and squeaky death trap brakes. "I'll drive. I insist."

If you knew me, you'd know I have no business driving a car such as the 750i. I don't shave everyday, I get dirty all the time being a photographer and I dress down accordingly. But in a weird twist of fate, looking like I rolled out of bed at 3 in the afternoon and dressing kinda sloppy works in the Hollywood crowd. Especially when you mix in a 7-Series.

"FANCY!" exclaimed my girlfriend as we approached the car heading out for dinner. No doubt it is. The sumptuous leather, nicely polished wood and uber-comfortable seats are worlds above my means. As a cherry on top of this luxury sundae is a meaty engine that can deliver when called for. It was going to be a fun night out on Sunset Boulevard.

When we got to the restaurant, I was glad I insisted on taking the BMW over my girlfriends' car. In front of the place was parked a Phantom, a 911 Turbo and a murdered Quattroporte. Our 7-Series gave us a hallpass. This place was oozing with haute culture. There were men in $3k suits and women in cocktail dresses wearing sunglasses. At night.

Then we two comparative hillbillies walked in. They spot us for who we are right away and seat us next to the kitchen door. I enjoyed our dinner, but I all honesty I didn't need the organic Hungarian Beet Mustard and a micro-greens salad with my steak. I just wanted a good steak. I was ready to go before the check arrived.

On the way back to my place, I knew this car didn't suit me. It's not what this car represents that bothers me, because honestly I could care less. What it offers is almost completely wasted on me. I can appreciate it for what it is, but I don't need rich Corinthian leather or fancy wood. If I had a choice between a Tacoma and the 750i, I'd take the Tacoma without hesitation.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 BMW 750i: Returning to its Spiritual Home

October 08, 2009

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The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena is arguably the world's leading automotive design school. So when I was invited to participate in a class, the first consideration was not what am I going to wear, but what am I going to drive? After all, I'm going to be talking with tomorrow's design leaders.

Of all the cars in the Inside Line fleet, the 2009 BMW 750i seemed the most logical, given that the last two BMW design chiefs were Art Center graduates: Chris Bangle ('81) and current head of design Adrian van Hooydonk ('92). (Maybe this was why there was a reserved, curbside parking spot for me when I arrived?)

While BMW was not the focus of the outside class, the Bimmer's stance gradually sucked in the attention of the designers-in-waiting. They walked around, peered inside the cabin and one gently traced the lines of the hood with his finger, for added sensory training. Either that or it was a not-so-subtle reminder to head to the car wash next.

Class instructor David O'Connell, former head of Mitsubishi Motors Design, abandoned his lesson plan and joined his students, as did Stewart Reed, the school's chair of transportation design, for an impromptu walk-around.

Nearly two hours passed while the car was inspected from headlamps to lip spoiler. Finally, it was time to say good bye. Pulling out of the tree-lined hillside campus, I couldn't help but sense that Art Center is the 750i's spiritual home.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @18,669 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Homecoming Wheels

September 28, 2009

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You're a 15-year-old high school sophomore. No driver's license, means you've gotta ask your parents for a ride to the big homecoming dance. No wheels, no date. Safer to go with a couple of buddies instead.

But good news for Kyle Toepke, his parents have access to cool cars. When we asked if he wanted us to play the part of chauffer for his group, he responded coolly, "That depends. What are you driving?"

The 2009 BMW 750i sealed the deal, and Philip and Zack were pleased to tag on.

The 750i is luxurious and sophisticated, but also a little complicated. Being inquisitive teenagers, they pressed every button within reach, which resulted in the raising and lowering of the back sunscreen, rear door sunscreens and even the driver's headrest.

We arrived at the dance after a quick bite at Sonic Burger, and overheard Zack bragging to a friend in the parking lot, "There are so many buttons in this car, you don't even know what they do. The car is so cool."

Homecoming night had me thinking of how I arrived at dances. My parents' 1978 Chevy Caprice Classic wagon wasn't exactly my chariot of choice. Can you top that embarrassment?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @17,699 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Sorry Officer, I Was Looking At That Billboard

September 18, 2009

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Obviously this would have been a better picture if I had been driving our long-term BMW 750i, but I was in our M3 when I stumbled upon this billboard in Westlake Village yesterday about 30 miles north of our Santa Monica office. It's on the west side of the 101 freeway facing northbound traffic.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 BMW 750i: Tell Me Why I'm Wrong

September 11, 2009

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I like the BMW 750i but after spending nearly two weeks with the car I'm beginning to think of it as a very attractive ex-girlfriend - pretty, smart and sophisticated but ultimately not worth the hassle. Here's why -

Like that ex (let's call her Marie) the BMW has a few issues. No, it's not fond of making a scene in public but both the car and the girl sure needed a lot of extra attention. The warning lights alone had me on my toes during a recent family road trip. Here's how it went:

Before leaving, I check all the fluids and tires - everything was fine. 60 miles from home, a warning light comes on "low oil" it says. 12 hours ago it was at max now it's at the minimum mark (you check it via an in-car display). OK, so I stop and get oil - hit the road again. 2 hours later, warning light comes on "low washer fluid." I haven't used the washer fluid since i picked the car up 3 day prior, where did it all go? This one can wait - once I arrive at my dad's house, I drop some washer fluid in, light goes off.

3 days later, warning light comes on "tire pressure low." oooook then. So I check, all the tires are at about 30 lbs - some are at 29.5 one is at 31. The indicator says it's the left front tire - of the four tires, it isn't the lowest. Granted the elevation and temperature is much different than where I live so I air up all the tires anyway - warning light goes off.

4 days later, on Interstate 5 just North of Fresno, the check engine light comes on. C'mon - this is getting old. Plus, despite the check engine light, the vehicle status still says all is "OK." Regular service is due anyway so we're taking to the BMW dealer to see what's up with the light. Still don't know why - service advisor says it's usually emissions related. Yes, I checked the gas cap.

Both the BMW 750i and Marie were great but I can't help but think the trip would have been a little more trouble free had I opted for a the Ford Flex or Hyundai Genesis. Maybe the BMW (but not the girl) is worth the hassle - what do you think? Are the little annoyances worth putting up with in exchange for the 7's power, handling, massaging seats, excellent stereo and impressing the neighbors? I'm leaning toward no.

Brian Moody, chief happy-to-be-home editor @ 15,973 miles.

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2009 BMW 750i: 15k Miles - Road Trip Edition

September 02, 2009

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About 100 miles south of Tracy, California the big BMW hit the 15,000 mile mark. Cruising up Interstate 5, it quickly becomes obvious where this car does its best work. The stop and go traffic plus low and moderate speeds of city driving don't help the 7 Series shine. This car likes extreme drivng, the harder you push it, the better and more natural the responses. Hit the brakes at 30 MPH and they feel grabby and abrupt - brake hard at 80 MPH and everything suddenly makes sense - same principle applies to the car's throttle response.

Every time I enter the freeway, signal for the left lane and leave 18 wheelers and minivans far behind I can't help but think of the Springsteen song Born to Run. This BMW truly is an excellent road trip car. Anyone think there's a better sedan for gobbling up highway miles?

Next time, I'll figure out the car's best MPG.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor @ 15,004 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Starting to Blend In With the Crowd

August 19, 2009

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The BMW 7 Series made a bit of a stink in 2002 with its divisive design. From the odd headlights to the monster hump on its trunk, it was a love it or hate it proposition.

It seemed like a mistake at the time, but at least BMW was sure that people were noticing its big sedan. After a mild facelift a few years ago and a full redesign for 2009, I can't help but notice that the big BMW has slowly been watered down to the point of obscurity.

Nobody notices this car, and it's not just the average onlooker. I actually had a guy who was driving a previous 7 Series ask if this was the new car. He couldn't really tell. When I told him it was indeed the new model he just sort of shrugged his shoulders.

Made me glad I'm not a car designer, it's one of the toughest jobs in the business.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 12,984 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: It's the little things

August 17, 2009

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This weekend was the first time I've spent any real time in our long-term 7 Series. I just used it for regular family stuff: grocery-getting, trip to the beach for an evening stroll, visit to grandma's house (not more than a few miles away), dinner out one night. Every time I got into it, though, I'd notice one thing or another that struck me as a really great touch. One such item: four infinitely detentable doors. Sure, it's quite helpful in parking lot situations and it's even a nice safety feature, preventing little (and big) hands from being crushed by a rebounding door. But in practice, the feature operates so smoothly and feels so high-end, it really makes me say, "Wow."

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 13, 949 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: You Owe Chris Bangle an Apology

August 05, 2009

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You owe Chris Bangle an apology.

When the American assumed the leadership of BMW's design group in 1992, BMW chairman Eberhard von Kuenheim and technical director Wolfgang Reitzle asked him to make BMW a leader in design, matching the company's burgeoning success in matters of engineering, marketing prestige and commerce. The world car market was in a recession and BMW had decided that the best way out lay in product excellence.

Bangle and his associates decided that the classic BMW shape had gone about as far as it could since the first 3 Series was introduced in 1976. To their way of thinking, BMW was simply making the same kind of sausage in different lengths, applying a unified design look to every model line in a stodgy Mercedes-like sort of way. Instead Bangle decided to pursue a direction in which each model would have its own unique look, becoming a kind of artistic expression of its own automotive spirit.

And as soon as the 2002 BMW 7 Series appeared, people began to hate Chris Bangle.

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2009 BMW 750i: Getting the Finger

July 01, 2009

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Last night on my commute home, I pulled up to a red light behind a woman in a BMW 3 Series. It's a long light so I looked down to play with the A/C controls for about 6 seconds.

When I looked back up she was waiting for me so I could see she was giving me the finger.

I gestured to her to say "What's your problem?" But she just kept staring daggers at me in the rear view mirror. So, I smile politely and continued singing along with The Who. But I kept trying to think why she was so mad at me. I didn't cut her off. I wasn't driving anywhere near her until I got to the light.

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L, Buy, Abandon: BMW 7 Series

June 26, 2009

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Let's play a game. Does the car you've had your eye on rate a short fling with a no-strings-attached ending; is it worth a long-term commitment; or would you leave it by the roadside even if someone handed you the keys? The game is called Lease, Buy, Abandon.

The 7 Series has really come back around, getting away from the bulbous Bangle-butt styling to a cleaner, meaner look. So given your choice between the last three generations, which one would you lease, which would you buy, and which would you bury in the desert?

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2009 BMW 750i: Whatever Happened to BMW's Cool Wheels?

June 24, 2009


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Our long-term 7 Series is an official Sport model. With that you would expect some "sporty" wheels, yet our car has nothing but a set of dishless, turbine-style rims that merely blend with the car instead of accentuating it.

On the right is a set of wheels from the 1999 740i Sport. They measure 18-inches in diameter, have a nice deep lip on them and are distinctive without trying too hard. They're an example of BMW's best work when it comes to stock wheels, an area that the company largely ruled throughout the early part of this decade.

It's latest attempts have turned out dull however. I even looked into accessory wheels on BMW's website and they're no better. I wonder who will take up the slack.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 11,128 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Because Hot Twins Like It

June 23, 2009

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Last month I drove our long-term 2009 BMW 750i to the Industry Speedway in City of Industry, California for a Wednesday night of good old fashioned Speedway Motorcycle action.

I arrived early. So I parked and sat in the driver's seat of the 7 Series pecking away on the Blackberry waiting for my father to arrive.

And that's when it happened.

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Separated At Birth: 2009 BMW 750i Meet 2009 Lexus LS460

June 23, 2009

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Here's a case of the chicken or the egg. Which is which?

If you're wondering, the Lexus had the lame fake tailpipes first.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 BMW 750i: Open Thread

June 23, 2009

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What do you want to know about the 2009 BMW 750i?

Have you seen any on the road? Have you driven one? If so, write a review in the comments section.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 BMW 750i: Looks Better My Way

June 22, 2009

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I like the way the new 7 Series looks...mostly. One point of contention for me is the placement of those chrome trim slash turn signal things that straddle the front door slash front fender gaps. For me they're just too low on the car. To my eye they look like they were glued on in the wrong place by some assembly line worker watching the clock on a Friday.

So I fixed the problem in photoshop. Check out the lower pic. That's my version. Looks better right?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 BMW 750i: Beauty Shots

June 21, 2009

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By now you realize I've discovered the mosaic tool. But some cars are worthy of these multiple beauty portraits.

By now you also realize that the 2009 BMW 750i is car of the week.

With a 400-horsepower V8 and thousands of $$$ worth of goodies, we should have a lot to discuss.

All photos by Kurt Niebuhr. You can view larger sizes in the Intro article.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 BMW 750i: Old School

June 17, 2009

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While driving the 2009 BMW 750i into the office this morning, I spotted this early 1990s 7 Series in front of me.

I snapped a picture so you can see how the 7 Series has evolved since the E32 735i.

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2009 BMW 750i: 10k on the clock

June 08, 2009

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Our Long Term 750 just passed the 10,000 mile mark. In that short time the car has largely been praised but there are a few issues. The front cup holder door is busted and there's a distant but annoying rrrrrrRRRrrrr noise coming from under the hood. Sounds like an '88 Ford Taurus power steering pump. Also, Editor in Chief Scott Oldham said he'd prefer the Hyundai Genesis - and that's not as crazy as it sounds. I may be in that camp too.

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2009 BMW 750i: TPW MIA, but OCD-PSI = AOK

June 05, 2009

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With Scott hogging all the seat time in the Hyundai Genesis I was forced into the BMW 750i recently. But I'm used to compromising my lifestyle when circumstances require it, so hold off on any cards or letters of concern.

Some (including Scott) have commented on the 750 feeling less sublime than its pricetag would suggest. And while no tire pressure warning lights have appeared in the gauge cluster I took it upon myself to check air levels on a cool morning before setting off. Truth be told, I'm a bit of stickler for tire pressure, and pretty much assume its off until I've checked it myself.

Surprise-surprise, every tire was low by 2-3 pounds (factory calls for 32 psi). This isn't enough to set off any warning lights, but it can impact everything from ride quality to steering feel (especially if your PSI-OCD, like me).

I actually thought the car felt great before adjusting the tire pressure, but I feel better knowing they're spot on now. About the only thing that annoys me on the 7 is the need to constantly upgrade its throttle setting to "Sport" every time I start it. And the variable steering often has me "over-turning" at low speeds as the steering ratio ramps up.

Otherwise I love this car. But I'm taking the Genesis this weekend, so maybe I'll agree with Mr. Oldham by Monday.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 9,764 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Crash Test Video

May 29, 2009

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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