BMW 750i with a ‘Bang’n audio system
Ron, let’s call him, had to leave his Ferrari with a car audio specialist for almost a month while they tore out the factory stereo to replace it with an aftermarket system that would sound better than the crummy configuration which was worse than the most basic rental car’s speakers.
Sometimes, if you tick the right boxes on the option sheet when ordering a new car, the factory audio system will be your best bet.
Such is the case with the 2014 BMW 750 equipped with the Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Sure, it is an extra $4,900 option on a car with a $105,500 base price. But for drivers who enjoy great sounding music behind the wheel, it’s one of the better optional extras to choose.
The sedan, as tested, was the 750i x. The x denotes this Bimmer’s all wheel drive system which sends power to all four wheels, coupled with variable torque splitting technology designed to drive the right power to each wheel at just the right time.
And boy, is it a good thing that there are four wheels tasked with the job of transferring the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8’s 443 hp to the pavement.
From a standing stop, there’s enough power under the hood to push this BMW to the posted speed limit by the time it crosses an intersection, it would seem. The 750i can power on to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds.
Turbo lag is virtually absent and power delivery is smooth and plentiful on city streets while BMW’s xDrive keeps this sedan planted on straights and in corners. The traction is very, very good and it’s not easy to unsettle the plantedness of the 750’s ride.
Beside the gear level sits a series of switches that let you adjust the car’s characteristics, from soft and comfortable in Comfort+ to quick, nimble and sporty in Sport+. I personally found the default Comfort to be a a little boring, so the sedan stayed in Sport when I was behind the wheel. Sport mode also tightened up the steering, making it easy to carve around city obstacles in a large mansion-sized luxury car like this one.
Since the model as tested had the M Sport Package, there were minor details that made this one stand out, such as the aerodynamics kit, which adds valences and lips around some of the edges, among other features.
That includes an M steering wheel, the centrepiece of one of the finest automotive cabins you’ll find.
The interior of this 750i is clad in opal white full Merino leather with a sporty alcantara roofliner, meanwhile piano black and wood inlay trim swoops across the dashboard and doors. The inside is a warm, inviting place to stay.
It’s also a high-tech place too, though most of it is disguised with comforting cabin materials and rock-solid build quality,
BMW’s iDrive technology makes navigating the infotainment system reasonably straight forward, and they’ve packed pretty much everything you could need behind the wheel at your fingertips – and a bit more.
For example, you can get news headlines read out to you, or check Facebook while the car is parked (because you can’t do that driving, for safety’s sake!).
The real gem in this cabin, however, is the Bang & Olufsen surround sound system. This things sounds miles better than the home theatre systems many people have in their homes.
Sound engineers from the B & O work with engineers from BMW to blend the best audio technology into the cabin of the 750. Materials are carefully selected, positioning of the speakers carefully checked, so that the music you hear in this car with this sound system comes out loud and clear.
Boy, does it ever work.
Cranking up some Tragically Hip (sorry if you think that’s bad taste), it’s as if Gord Downie is standing on the hood singing down to you and your passengers inside. Guitar strings sing with clarity and bass notes are balanced in the sound system’s reproduction.
A lot of the clarity is thanks to the dash-mounted speaker, which emerges from the dashboard each time it’s turned on. The acoustic lens spreads highs throughout the cabin so that everyone can be in the listening sweet spot, whether they’re behind the wheel or behind the driver.
There’s even a little microphone inside that listens to what else is going on around the driver, adjusting the sound reproduction to adapt to different situations such as open windows or highway cruising. It sounds as good as a band playing live, minus the spit spraying out below.
The amount of technology packed into the BMW 750i is remarkable, able to help drivers stay in touch while behind the wheel yet it’s not too distracting nor is it intrusive, which is good considering how much fun this sedan is to drive.
And ultimately, a driver with a 7 Series wants to feel a little excitement behind the wheel every now and then – and sometimes it might just be provided by an excellent sound system.
Model: BMW 750i xDrive
Price as tested: $136,150
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