Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


First drive: BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW 750d xDrive
We've driven the ultimate four-wheel drive, diesel BMW 7 Series, the 750d xDrive.


<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> BMW reviews

| First Drive | Kühtai, Austria | BMW 750 xDrive |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

By fitting the engine for the diesel 'M5' and advanced four-wheel drive system BMW has created the ideal luxury saloon for countries that have to deal with snow and frozen conditions for months on end. The 750d xDrive offers the security of all-weather capabilities with the power one expects of a luxo-barge; shame than that the platform has not been designed for right-hand drive markets and therefore will not make it to the UK.

Key Facts

Model tested: BMW 750d xDrive
Engine: 3.0-litre tri-turbo straight-six diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: four-door saloon
Rivals: Audi A8, Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class
CO2 emissions: 169g/km
Economy: 44.1mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Power: 381hp at 4,400rpm
Torque: 740Nm at 2,000rpm

In the Metal: 3 3 3 3 3

There is no mistaking the fact that on looks alone, the current BMW 7 Series is remarkably like its predecessor. The facelift, which was implemented earlier this year, really is on the subtle side, with changes to the kidney grille, headlights and air intakes being the stand out features.

Interior changes are equally as subtle with new leather seats and a neat black-panel instrument panel display that magnifies the numbers the needle is hovering over the highlights of the changes. Other than that it is standard BMW fare with an iDrive infotainment system and Driving Experience switch that allows you to toggle between ECO PRO and Sport modes (and everything in between) both present and correct.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

While the cosmetic changes are subtle, to say the least, it is the oily bits of the 7 Series facelift that changed most, with more fuel efficient yet powerful engines and a revised suspension set up. While most of the engines are revisions of existing units the powerplant under the bonnet of the 750d is all new - the 3.0-litre tri-turbo unit from the M550d (aka the diesel 'M5') now acts as the flagship diesel engine in the 7 Series range. With 381hp and a gut-wrenching 740Nm of torque it is not the kind of car you expect to be able to tackle the slopes of an Austrian ski resort, but thanks to BMW's xDrive four-wheel drive system (and winter tyres of course) the car had no problem transferring its torque to the tarmac - or snow in our case.

Like the rest of the xDrive range the 750d has a rear-biased 40:60 split in power transfer but after listening to criticisms from 5 Series xDrive owners concerning understeer (in a very un-BMW like way) the system has been tweaked to deliver the drive would expect of the brand with the propeller roundel. The xDrive system - including the bank of sensors that accompany it - are constantly making minute adjustments to ensure the car stays between the ditches and, if needs be, can transfer 100 per cent of available torque to either axle.

The effect, on roads that looked to be covered in permafrost, was an £80,000 luxury-limo with the sure-footedness of an SUV. The comfort too, as the formerly optional rear air suspension is now standard across the 7 Series range, while revisions to the dampers and bushings ensure that the big luxo-barge rides rough-shod over imperfections.

While there was not as much opportunity to test the 750d's powerplant as we would have liked it is clear that, as a flagship model, it makes perfect sense. The ease with which it gathers momentum is impressive with peak torque kicking in at just 2,000rpm, while the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth and quick to shift. The 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds is only a tenth behind that of the petrol V8-powered 750i yet the 750d can also return an impressive 44.1mpg with emissions of 169g/km thanks in part to standard stop-start.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Equipment demand in this segment of the market is high so the 750d xDrive has impressive levels of specification as standard. Whether sitting in the front or back, you are surrounded by high quality leather, plastics and wood while the options list is, as you would expect, as long as my arm.

Worth Noting

Now for the bad news; much like the BMW 5 Series the big 7 was never engineered to offer four-wheel drive in right-hand drive configuration so if you were hoping for a four-wheel drive executive saloon you will have to wait until the next generation. Shame really as with this car BMW has a genuine rival for the Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro .


The BMW 750d xDrive is the perfect choice for the German aristocrat who likes to drive down from his mountain top chalet before setting forth on an Autobahn blast towards his summer home. With the surety of four-wheel drive and power from the tri-turbo diesel engine it is equally at home doing either. Shame then that right-hand drive markets will not see it.

Paul Healy - 19 Dec 2012    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- 7 Series images

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW 750d xDrive. Image by BMW.


Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©