2006 760 New Car Test Drive
BMW sparked debate four years ago with the introduction of its radically redesigned and heavily computerized 7 Series sedans. Critics assailed the styling and some drivers did not like the iDrive controls. While the company has toned down the styling and backed away from some of the more convoluted electronics, the car still sparks debate. However, we can assure you this: This is a luxury sedan in the truest sense and it is impressive to drive.
Its responsive engines and six-speed automatic transmission, its magic-carpet ride quality, its excellent handling, its awesomely powerful brakes, and its well-tuned electronic stability control systems deliver the ultimate in big-sedan river control. This car flat flies. The 760 models are two of the quickest, fastest, normally aspirated 2.5-ton vehicles in the world.
Whichever 7 Series you choose, starting with the standard 750i, you'll get a sedan that's big, smooth, fast and inspiring. It'll also be equipped with the latest safety technology. No matter where you sit, you'll experience a cabin that's beautiful and wonderfully comfortable. The 750Li and 760Li (L for long) offer even greater legroom in the back seats. All the 7 Series models are exceptionally powerful and responsive, and if the V12-powered 760i and 760Li don't stir something inside you, you may as well call a cab.
Virtually everything in the cabin is controlled through a single mouse-like interface called iDrive. It controls the entertainment system, the navigation system and myriad settings managing the car's suspension, lighting and driver/car interface, and it demands some study to master. Once that's accomplished, however, driving the 7 Series cars is easy and quite satisfying.
The whisper-quiet cabin is a great place for quiet conversation or magnificent solitude. The 7 Series has a superb stereo, so it's an insulated sound studio where you can hear Mozart concertos, crystal clear vocals or crisp acoustic guitar notes. The level of technology the 7 Series offers is mind boggling, and a negative in the minds of some. Almost-silent, hidden fans and heating elements cool or warm your rear end or your soft drink; microchips stand by to instantaneously detect and restrain a skidding tire or to apply the brakes full force just in case you were distracted by a phone call; power sunshades keep the sun off your rear passengers. Adaptive headlights turn with the car.
There's more, much more, but the point is made. Among the big luxury sedans, the 2006 BMW 7 Series retains its status as the ultimate driving machine.
The 2006 BMW 7 Series models offer a freshened appearance with a redesigned grille, hood and headlamps. The lower grille opening now looks like it's smiling, rather than frowning. The V8 engine on the 750i and 750Li has been revised for 2006 and delivers siginficantly more power. And the iDrive system has been revised on 2006 models for improved graphics and easier operation.
The 2006 BMW 7 Series cars are available in two lengths, each with a choice of engines. The 750i ($71,800) and long-wheelbase 750Li ($75,800) are powered by a 360-hp, 4.8-liter V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic. The 760i ($111,500) and 760Li ($118,900) come with a 438-hp V12 engine.
The 7 Series sedans come standard with a long list of luxury features with interiors trimmed in a choice of rich leathers and woods. The 750i has dual-zone, automatic climate control with activated-charcoal microfilter ventilation and pollution/odor-triggered recirculation; American walnut wood trim; BMW Assist emergency and information communications; 14-way, power driver and 12-way, power front passenger seats; power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; two-setting memory for driver seat, steering wheel and mirror settings; a power moonroof; a climate-controlled front console compartment; and single-CD audio with 10 speakers. The 750Li adds 20-way, power, front Comfort Seats with articulated upper backrests and passenger-seat memory. Both 750 models come standard with V-speed-rated, 245/50VR18, all-season tires on 18-inch alloy wheels; 19-inch wheels with performance tires (245/45 front, 275/40 rear) are optional ($1,300). Park Distance Control comes standard, helping the driver track hard-to-see obstacles. Adaptive headlights, which aim around corners as the steering wheel is turned, come standard on 2006 models.
The 760i and 760Li have almost everything BMW offers. The base price covers high-gloss, Ash trim with inlays plus leather on virtually all interior surfaces (except the dash). The V12 models include soft-close doors that suck themselves shut and heated and ventilated seats front and rear. Power rear window and rear side window shades are standard on the 760Li, optional on the other three ($750), as is the heated steering wheel ($150). The 760i comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels and performance tires (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear). The 760Li can be ordered with rear climate control with a cool box ($1,800). The V12 models earn the government-imposed gas-guzzler tax ($1,300).
Most of what's offered on the 760i and 760Li is available on the 750i and 750Li through individual options or packages. The six option packages for the 750i and 750Li include: the Sport Package ($3,200) with 19-inch wheels and tires, sport-tuned suspension, 20-way Comfort front seats (more aggressively bolstered sport seating is a no-cost option) and specific exterior and interior trim; the Adaptive Ride Package ($1,900) with a self-leveling rear suspension and Electronic Damping Control that automatically adjusts shock damping according to conditions; the Cold Weather Package ($1,100) with a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, and a ski bag; the Convenience Package ($1,000) with the soft-touch, door-closing doors and power trunk-lid operation; the Luxury Seating Package that adds 20-way adjustment, front and rear seat heating, fans to blow air through the seating surfaces and an automatic massager; and the Premium Sound Package ($1,800) with increased audio power, two subwoofers, Digital Sound Processing and six-CD changer.
Other options offered across the line include Comfort Access ($1000), which provides keyless entry and engine start; radar-managed Active Cruise Control ($2200); Sirius Satellite Radio, with a one-year subscription ($595); high-definition radio ($500); and a Rear Entertainment Package ($2200) with rear-seat monitor and iDrive control, dual earphone jacks and trunk-mounted, six-DVD changer.
Safety features include dual frontal airbags, driver and front-passenger side-impact airbags, and BMW's Head Protection System, which amounts to a full-length, tube-shaped curtain on both sides of the cabin for front and rear head protection in a side impact. Also standard is BMW's Active Knee Protection, unique inflatable airbags that protect front passengers' knees. BMW claims these.