The BMW Drive for a Cause tours BMW dealerships to raise money for the USA Para Olympics. It’s a great way to get people to come to the dealerships, test drive vehicles and compare them to competitive vehicles from other brands. At the same time, your local BMW dealership will make a donation to local charities or to the Para Olympics for every test drive made. There are no sales people pressuring you to buy a car (unless you want one) and no hassle, just present your license, sign the waiver, and take your pick of the many BMW’s included in their lineup. As mentioned before, Drive For A Cause also presents equivalent competition vehicles. During this event, they brought the newest fully loaded Mercedes s550 to go head to head with the all new 750i, There was also an SL550 and Lexus RX suv for comparison purposes as well. All comparison vehicles were presented in their finest trim. Details in this review will be brief, BMW has some amazing high tech options these days and they can be had in just about every model with the exception of the 7 series, witch has some even more amazing tech that is exclusive to the 7.
First off, Let’s take a look at the all new 750i. This was almost my most anticipated vehicle to test. If you’re wondering why i say “Almost” scroll a little further, PFM had a special reservation. The 7 series is a truly special vehicle. The attention to detail on the interior is amazing. The leather seats are vented and in addition to the essential seat warmers, that warm instantly, there are also seat coolers to help you cool down when your car has been parked out in the sun all day. The dash board is not the baron landscape of the Chris Bangle machines, it is very intricate in detail, 90% of the controls are touch screen or touch activated, and if you don’t feel like touching, use gestures, waive your hand in a circular motion to turn your volume up and down, swipe left and right to access iDrive menus and more. The most exciting option was the 3d 360 degree view simulation. You can order the 36o degree simulated birds eye view on any BMW these days, and it’s mind blowing to see in action, however the 7 takes it to another level. Cameras outside of the car actually place you outside of the car on the street level and give you a view of everything as if you were walking around the car yourself. Check out the video to see, also notice the awesome gesture control.
Driving this monster isn’t what you would expect. The new 7 uses a Carbon Fiber frame like the i8 and M3 to save weight, the massive land yacht weighs only 4,600 lbs. That’s not a whole lot more than a Bugatti Veyron. The ride is smooth and comfortable, you know there are bumps in the road, but they don’t spoil the comfort, The ride is soft, but not sloppy soft, you could still corner this car hard with ease if that’s what you’re in to. The twin turbo charged v8 also gives this big girl the ability to vanish in the blink of an eye.
Up next, is the most anticipated car of the day, No matter what you read, the i8 will not be what you expect! Early on it looked as if the i8 would be a predecessor of the M1, an all out world class supercar, then focus went to the 3 cyl hybrid electric power plant and efficiency, a look at the relatively skinny tires leaves you thinking, and the simulated engine noise “well it’s not really meant to be a sports car, but it still looks cool” , then you hear rumors of how fast and fun to drive it is, is it powerful scary fast? or is it Mini cooper fun to drive fast? Either way, it still looks cool and you don’t really care because you can’t afford it.
So actually getting getting the wheel, I really had no idea what I was in for, I pulled the butterfly door down and hit the start button… no noise, no shake nothing, I put it in gear, no clunk no lurch, and headed out of the lot. I promptly found myself a straight away and put my foot down, The engine roared to life the turbo blow off grunted and suddenly I was in a race car, I didn’t know weather the engine noise was real or fake, i couldn’t tell, I didn’t care, the G forces were real! The car pulls hard at any speed, that’s what they mean when they talk about instant torque from electric motors witch power the front wheels, the 3 cyl turbo motor powers the rear wheels giving it a AWD configuration. The test drive was quick but it was enough for me to understand that this is a real sports car, It really is as quick as a Nissan GTR, but gives you 70 ish MPG.
Next on the list is the BMW 340i sedan M sport edition. Sports packages are really what gibe BMW their distinct look and feel. If you are a BMW enthusiast, get a sport package, they don’t always significantly increase the performance over a standard, but they add many features and luxury items you normally wouldn’t get. This particular edition comes with the competition stripes and badging (witch are removable), aggressively styled body kit, light weight wheels, exhaust, and my favorite of all, the carbon fiber and alcantera accented interior.
Before I got a chance to drive, they told me this was the most fun of the bunch. This car was definitely the most fun (besides the i8) The driving experience was everything you’d expect of an M3, the motor is very powerful i stabbed the gas at about 77mph and was still thrown back in the seat. If you own one of these, find a good lawyer, because you will inevitably end up in court for traffic violations.
Last on the list is the BMW 650i Grand Coupe. Mercedes invented the 4 door coupe years ago with the stunning CLS. BMW was last to the game but still came with a magnificent work of art. From any angle, except broad side, it’s difficult to see that this is a four door
sedan , even straight on the side, you have to do a double take to spot that there are 4 doors. The proportions on this car are amazing and it is the most coupe-like of the 4 door coupes. The ceiling in the rear is low, but better than the Mercedes, and there is ample leg room for rear passengers. After spending a day driving a 535i, I expected the 65oi to blow my socks off. The motor is plenty powerful to accelerate the car at any speed, but that’s where the thrill pretty much ends. The car felt soft and heavy in comparison to the 535i, the ride was very comfortable and luxurious but more isolated and Mercedes like. Maybe I needed more seat time in this one, most of this particular test drive was in heavy traffic. To avoid ending on a low note, the 650i Grand Coupe is still an extremely beautiful and fast car that would be awesome to drive long range, and you can get it with all of the technology goodies that come in the other BMW’s. I think the 6er needs a second look.