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BMW 750Li

BMW's flagship 7 Series is no longer the crisp, sporty, luxury liner it once was. Handling lacks agility and the ride, though steady and supple, is not as cushy as the best cars in this class. Also, many controls are frustratingly complex. On the positive side, its V8 engine is refined and punchy, the roomy cabin is super quiet and impeccably finished, and seat comfort is tops.

Driving impressions:
The 2009 redesign cost the car much of the agility and crispness we've come to expect from BMW. The steering lacks sufficient feedback, and when pushed hard at our track the 750Li felt clumsy and reluctant. The 400-hp, 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 delivers strong performance and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts very smoothly and responsively. The electronic shift lever can be a bit confusing to use, however. The vault-like cabin keeps road and wind noise far away. And the ride feels firm and steady on nearly any road. But even with the adjustable suspension set to "comfort" mode, it doesn't quite match that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS.

Inside the cabin:
The cabin is beautifully finished with impeccable materials. Most people should appreciate the generous head and foot room and ample fore-aft seat travel. The front seats are among the best you'll find; they're comfortable in the right places, with padding that is softly cushioning yet firm and supportive. The rear seats are very comfortable for two adults, but the center rear is a tiny perch. Gauges are clear, but the multifunction iDrive system still takes some fiddling. A head-up display in the windshield shows pertinent information, and the lane-departure warning vibrates the steering wheel if you stray out of your lane.

CR's take:
Even with its virtues-power, plushness, comfort, and interior space-the 750Li disappointed us with its bulky feel and lack of agility.

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