Driven: 2010 BMW 750Li
The 2010 BMW 750Li equipped with the optional M Sport package, is the automotive incarnation of Billy Bob Thornton. Smooth, refined, and highly intelligent when necessary, but rowdy and rude when business is done. And that, for me, is a near-perfect mix.
Or, to put it another way, the 750Li is a reverse mullet: party in the front, business in the back. In the driver's seat, once you engage the Sport+ mode and pull the gear selector over into Sport, things get very interesting--and they get even more so if you hold down the traction control button, putting the big limo into full DSC-OFF mode, its most focused and free setting.
With DSC-OFF engaged, you can power brake and roast the tires, slide tail-out around any curve of suitable radius for its frigate-like length, or toss the car back and forth like a super-sized sports car with nary a complaint from the car's electronics. In this mode, the big 7er is surprisingly competent, handling like a car 75 percent of its size. This is the party in the front.
Swing wide the huge rear door and step into the rear cabin, and it's a whole different universe. Even without the full executive treatment in the rear seat (our test car had very few upgrades in the back) it's a cavernous space, complete with wedge-shaped rests to support your feet. And it'll fit NBA-sized legs and feet, though headroom may run a bit short at the longer end of the spectrum. The moonroof does an admirable job of staying out of the way thanks to a large scallop in the ceiling just above the rear passengers' heads, but lean too far forward and the tall-torsoed six-foot-plus crowd may encounter some unwelcome cranial resistance.
But even so, there's ample shoulder and hip room, plenty of light (and shades to quell it) and enough panache to make negotiating a major share trade or setting the next tee time not just possible, but pleasurable. Materials, finish, and quality of the rear seat area is impeccable, even at the $98,900 price point our car stickered at. This is the business in the back.