Driven: 2010 BMW 750Li
Needless to say, we like to party, so the car stayed in Sport, Sport+ or DSC-OFF mode most of its week with us. That may have contributed to the rather miserable 11.6 mpg average we saw, though a heavy right foot and the endless reward of really pushing the 750Li likely contributed as well.
Similarly, the transmission can be bumped from standard Drive mode into Sport by a slide of the gear selector to the left. Once there, you can choose to let the computer do the job for you or bump forward to shift down and pull back to shift up. Those who've attempted to drive American and Japanese manu-matics hard will recognize that BMW has gotten it right; none of the bump forward to upshift/backward to downshift nonsense. In the end, though, the point may be moot--unless you're really pushing the car to its limits, automatic mode is just as quick as manual mode, and perhaps quicker as you obviate the tap on the rev limiter brought on by a late upshift.
The 750Li's electronics match revs on downshifts in either drive or manual, though the lack of paddle shifters on the steering wheel remind you you're driving an executive limo, not a sports car. The fact that you may need reminding is real though--with the M Sport package in full sporting mode, the big 7er handles much more nimbly than its curb weight or wheelbase would suggest. The meaty steering wheel weights up nicely, the not-too-aggressively-bolstered seats hug you, and it rotates and transitions like a sporty 3-Series running at 80 percent pace.