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December 21 , 2015 /

BMW 7-Series

Overall: BMW has something to prove to Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, and everyone else in the luxury-performance-sedan field. The proof is the new 7 Series; only the long-wheelbase versions are coming here.

Drivetrain: Turbocharged six-cylinder and twin-turbo V8 deliver up to 445 horses; for now, all-wheel-drive is standard for the latter.

There’s something about a big and bold German luxury cruiser that attracts more attention than a Donald Trump rally. BMW’s loaded-to-the-gills sixth-generation flagship is arguably the automaker’s most stylish in years. It’s also lighter by 300 pounds when compared to the previous 7-series. BMW saw to that by lightening the platform, using more aluminum for the body panels and suspension components, and strengthening the roof and windshield pillars and the transmission tunnel that are now made of molded carbon fiber. The result is a weight drop of close to 300 pounds. The base 740i is equipped with an all-new turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Moving up to the 750i xDrive adds to the driving enjoyment with a carryover 445-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. The “xDrive” designation also denotes all-wheel-drive, although BMW will introduce a rear-wheel-drive version in due course. Also coming down the road are turbocharged-V12 and plug-in hybrid models, along with a turbo-diesel-powered 7-series. All luxury-vehicle producers attempt to outdo each other in creating unique, over-the-top gear for their elite clientele and BMW is no different and makes available a cabin-scent diffuser, LED-lit moonroof (that replicates a star-lit night) and a touchless information screen that requires only a wave of your finger to operate the information and cellular-communications systems. Also available is four-wheel-steering, electrically controlled anti-roll bars and BMW’s Display Key that lets you start the engine, open and close the windows, set the climate controls to the desired temperature and even safely back out of its parking stall. Yeah, it’s that kind of car.Some critics might quibble that the TT really hasn’t changed much over the years and you’ll get no argument from Audi on that point. Still, cloaked with new sheetmetal, the TT duo has never looked sharper. Other than a reshaped hexagonal grille and angular headlights, the exterior changes are very subtle. Inside, the flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel is back and the display screen has melded with the gauges into a feature called the Multi Media Interface (MMI). Located between the scalable (adjustable for size) tachometer and speedometer, the 12.3-inch-wide MMI screen can display communication, infotainment and other data such as a trip computer, fuel status and outside temperature, etc. Pushing the start button brings to life Audi’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that now generates 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque (the 2015 version made 211/258). The output of the returning TTS has risen to 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from 265/258. A six-speed paddle-shift automated manual is the sole transmission. It parcels out engine torque through Audi’s permanently engaged all-wheel-drive Quattro system that also comes standard. Audi’s test results give the TT a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. The TT is no slouch in the standard content department. All come with dual-zone climate control, keyless start, 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch performance summer tires and a nine-speaker audio system. Along with the navigation system, a quartet of packages includes more heavily bolstered sport seats, premium leather seat coverings, rearview camera and a premium Bang & Olufsen-brand sound package.

Base price (incl. destination): $82,300 Type: Four-door full-size sedan Base engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (320) Optional engine (hp): 4.4-liter DOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (445) Layout: Front-engine, rear- /all-wheel drive (V8) Transmission: Eight-speed automatic MPG (city/highway): 21/29 Weight (lb.): 4,225

Base price (incl. destination): $82,300
Type: Four-door full-size sedan
Base engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (320)
Optional engine (hp): 4.4-liter DOHC V8, twin-turbocharged (445)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /all-wheel drive (V8)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
MPG (city/highway): 21/29
Weight (lb.): 4,225

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