2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW 750i: Exxon Valdez

March 19, 2010

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You don't usually think of a BMW 750i as some kind of an mpg solution, but a trip to Phoenix and back reminded me that it's brilliant for long distance cruising. You just sail right by gas stations, laughing all the way.

This is what happens when you're driving a car with a fuel tank that holds 21.7 gallons. You might not have mpg, but a least you've got cruising range. Of course, there were times when I felt like the wacky Dennis Hopper character in the post-apocalyptic Waterworld, hoarding fuel oil in the Exxon Valdez, the world's last supertanker. (It's since renamed many times in the wake of its notorious oil spill in 1989 and is now doing business as the Dong Fang Ocean).

Did the 425.4 miles on the way over on one tank and then did the 423.4 miles on the way back on one tank. Just drove with traffic, which was 80 mph depending on the location of the photo radar setups in Arizona. Got 24.7 mpg, which is not so bad (actually a record in this car, which invites exhibitions of speed every second). If you program your destination into the navigation system, the graphic at the bottom of the instrument binnacle that shows your cruising range will also plot your destination mileage, so you know if you'll have to stop for gas before you get there.

Of course, any sane person would stop at least once during such a distance anyway, but the BMW keeps you from being tethered to all the usual Interstate off-ramps where drivers are searching for fuel. I've made the Phoenix trip on holiday weekends and getting stuck in some bad gas station in Blythe for 25 minutes is not fun.

When you're driving this car, you'll never having to eat again at some franchise fast-food place in back of the gas station. Instead you can risk being poisoned at Farmer Jack's Bar-B-Q and Methane Gas Emporium, and who wouldn't want that?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 26,000 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: The Ultimate Luxury

November 30, 2009

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The ultimate luxury during cross-country motoring is not having to go the gas station. Sure, you want to take a break during a long drive, but trying to fight your way to the pumps through a horde of minivans on a Thanksgiving weekend is not for those who value the structural integrity of their sheetmetal.

Say what you will about the relative merits of its fuel efficiency, but the 21.7-gallon fuel tank of the BMW 750i took me 459.3 miles before the reserve light finally forced me to the gas station. And for that I'm thankful. It was desperate enough just to be out amongst the civilians on the Interstate during my trip to Phoenix and back.

Sometimes it's all about cruising range, and that's what a big car does best.

Of course, if every gas station looked as good as this 1958 design for Shell by Meusburger and Ramersdorfer that you can still see in Goetzis, Austria, I might be going there more often.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 22,396 miles.

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2009 BMW 750i: 20 Miles Plus on Zero Range

November 09, 2009

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This weekend I learned three more things about our long-term 2009 BMW 750i.

First I learned that its fuel range read out will click all the way down to "Range 1 miles". Then I learned that if you keep driving it will count down to zero. But instead of "Range 0 miles" the readout changes to "Range ---- miles" (pictured above).

And the third thing I learned is that if you're really stupid and really stubborn you can continue to drive the car at least 20 miles in the city beyond that zero range mark.

You haven't lived until you've entered a crowded drive-thru line 15 miles into driving with zero range. That, my friends, is a rush.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 20,486 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Yet Another Road Trip (part II)

September 22, 2009

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Yep, those are Cabernet Sauvignon grapes -- about a month away from being harvested. The second part of our Summer Road Trip took us about 250 miles north to Paso Robles for a tour of the wine country (again). We're "members" of the J. Lohr winery who invited us up to learn a few things about harvesting and blending Rhone-style wines, but not from those Cabernet grapes. Click through if you care.

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2009 BMW 750i - Yet Another Road Trip

September 21, 2009

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It seems our 2009 BMW 750i is the natural choice for road trips. It lays waste to mile after highway-mile effortlessly. This week's installment of the Edmunds Family Vacation takes us to Crystal Cove State Park south of Newport Beach, California. The Park is has a strange and complex history (Native-American habitat, Rancho San Joaquin, the Irvine Co., the burgeoning film industry, Japanese-American farmers, a small, eclectic colony of surfers who built most of what remains, and finally the State of California ownership who refurbished 21 of the original 46 structures), but the public may now reserve one of the cottages--if you've got the determination of a person trying to get a U2 concert ticket with a high-speed internet connection--for about between $65-$350 per night depending on the cabin and the season.

It seems strange that the State owns this ramshackle collection of surf cottages, but the unspoiled views and walks on the beach are there for the public to enjoy; just like they did in their heyday of the '40s and '50s.

You'll notice there's not single photo of the car because there's no vehicle traffic allowed in the Park and you must park on the East side of Pacific Coast Highway and hoof it to your cabin. They do offer a bellman service for your luggage, however.

What I will say about the car is that I'll echo the entire staff's sentiment that the marrying of awkward throttle mapping and busy transmission calibration do not make for a seamless experience in Friday bumper-to-bumper traffic--where I believe I achieved the worst fuel economy to date with an agonizing 7.7 mpg from Fullerton to Crystal Cove.

Click below to get a rough idea of what the cabins look like prior to and just after the renovations. Bummer the sun didn't burn through until we were leaving the next day

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2009 BMW 750i: California Road Trip MPG

September 04, 2009

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I was all set to write about the big BMW's fuel economy when I noticed something - this is a real nice looking car. Dark blue paint with gray wheels and subtle shiny bits makes it look sleek and powerful. I like the rear end treatment on this version better than the previous 7-Series.

Anyway, here's my fuel economy so far:

Best 20.6 - worst 16.4. The car's on board computer says the vehicle's overall average is 18.6 MPG.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor @ 15,400 miles.

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2009 BMW 750i: Ahhh

August 20, 2009

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See a dramatic sky, take a picture of a long-term car.

I was really glad to be driving the luxurious BMW 750i this morning. I was feeling a little under the weather and the interior of this BMW is so comfortable and full of little features to brighten my day.

Its seats are sturdy and covered in soft leather. The center storage compart is also covered in plush leather, so after I hooked up my iPod to play soothing morning music, I could rest my arm on its softness when stopped at traffic lights.

I cranked up the seat heaters and floated smoothly to the office.

The BMW 750i helped me ease into my day.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 14,043 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Road Trip MPG, Plus Albuquerque Travel Tips!

April 04, 2009

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I've already written in detail about my road trip in our long-term 2009 BMW 750i, bragging about its long cruising range and excellent headlights . Now I've got the fuel economy results for you. Although my numbers are short of the 750i's 22-mpg EPA highway rating, I'm still impressed given that (a) this car weighs 4,600 pounds; and (b) I didn't drive 75 mph.

Total miles: 1,948

Total gallons of 91 octane: 95.406

Average miles per gallon: 20.4

Best tank: 21.6 mpg over 435.7 miles

Worst tank: 19.2 mpg over 375.8 miles

5th gear, 6th gear & final drive ratios: 0.867, 0.690, 3.462

My best tank comes with a slightly amusing story: I get an early start on the drive back to LA from Williams, AZ. With the distance-to-empty meter showing 59 miles, I decide I'm too cool to make a fuel stop in Seligman, AZ, only to see a sign immediately after the exit ramp that says, "Next Services 56 miles." I look back at the DTE meter and it's already fallen to 55 miles. Oops. I spend the next 56 miles kinda-sorta hypermiling, finally pulling into the next gas station with 8 miles to empty. I put in 20.133 gallons, so with a 21.7-gallon tank, there's still a small reserve.

During my 24 hours in New Mexico, I visited the Unser Racing Museum, a collection of cars all driven by members of the Unser family. The Unsers are from Albuquerque; there's even a road named after them. The photos below are just a sample; the museum has a whole room dedicated to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and another to the history of race engine and tire technology. I also got a great restaurant recommendation from a museum docent: Sadie's, which makes traditional New Mexico food (a pdf of their menu). Trust me, it's a mandatory stop in Albuquerque.

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