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BMW 750Li and Toyota Sienna

BMW 750Li

The 7 series is well and truly the flagship of the BMW marque. This large sedan is offered in many iterations ranging from the “base” 740i with a starting MSRP of only $77,000 to the 760Li V12 road eater whose beginning price is $137K! Hybrid and all-wheel drive versions are also available.

Our test vehicle was the 750Li. For an interpretation of the nomenclature it’s a 7 Series large sedan, 50 means it has the twin turbocharged 4.4 liter V-8 and “L” denotes the long wheelbase model. The 400 horsepower engine hustles the 7 Series to 60 miles an hour in a mere 5.2 seconds, about the same as a 2010 Mustang GT. This model has a beginning price of $85,900 and fully optioned, ours topped out at just over $98,000.

The new styling direction of BMWs as of late delivers a vehicle that is just drop-dead gorgeous. This machine has presence like few other cars. It’s the kind of car that people stare at. Our test car also had the “M” motor sport package, which subtly adds small refinements and interesting design elements to the car’s appearance. It’s a cleverly crafted combination of luxury, performance and substance deftly rolled into one.

It has all the luxury accoutrement that one would expect from the flagship of the BMW line. Luxury seating with 16 adjustments delivers a comfortable position for virtually everyone. This being the “L” model, the rear seat legroom is positively grand. Movable foot rests on the floor of the rear seating compartment attest to that fact. The rear seats offer a 12-point massager, are individually adjusting and are also heated and ventilated.

Instrumentation is not particularly ornate, yet is very high quality and functional. The woodless, chromeless near monochromatic steering wheel attests to that fact. It reminds the driver that first and foremost, it’s the primary tool to control the car and functionality does reign supreme at BMW. The striking Black Panel instrument panel comes to life when car is started.

The I-Drive is still there but in an improved form. Additional buttons navigate you more directly to where you want to go. Additionally, if you get lost in the maze, simply use the voice command and tell the car what you really want. Case in point: The new 7 now accommodates simple USB memory sticks so you don’t need the expense of an IPod to listen to music. I have one with many audio files on it. I simply plugged it in, pressed the voice command and said “USB” and a map of all readable files on the stick appeared. Simple.

The 7 Series BMW makes a statement wherever it goes. It’s not brash or gaudy. Rather, it presents itself in a supremely confident, totally capable fashion, and has the goods to back it up. It’s fast, luxurious and capable.

Toyota Sienna

Notwithstanding all the protestation of the younger generation, the minivan is not dead. Far from it, this mode of transportation is actually experiencing a resurgence.

I don’t know how many young people I’ve talked to who defiantly state that they will “never” own a minivan. Perhaps childhood images of crushed Cheerios and debris ground into the carpet have left them with mental scars. The fact of the matter is, however, that for a certain segment of the market, there is no other vehicle, not even a macho looking SUV that can deliver what a minivan can deliver. And, much to the chagrin of the aforementioned young people, when they reach that stage in life, they, too, end up living in the suburbs and driving their very own minivan. To their delight, they discover that it’s really not as bad as they thought and some will even silently admit to themselves that they actually like their minivan.

Auto manufacturers are still investing in the development of minivans and Toyota recently introduced the totally new Sienna model.

The Sienna is basically a stylish, voluminous box on wheels. The low floor and high roof yield an easily accessible, very large and highly configurable cargo space. You can put almost anything imaginable inside including any combination of people and stuff. This vehicle gets an “A+” rating in functionality.

The interior has some very appealing upgrades. The Sienna has elevated seating, providing a great view of the road yet entry and exit is very easy. Seating is comfortable. The second row offers optional dual power sliding “Lounge Seating,” which is similar to first class seats on an airplane. The center console cleverly slides fore and aft between the rows of seats. Dual moon roofs and a dual screen overhead entertainment center add to the joy of the journey. Technology upgrades include items like touch screen navigation and Bluetooth streaming audio.
This year, the Sienna is offered with either a 2.7 liter 4 cylinder engine or a 3.5 V-6, both with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.7 costs about $1,200 less, but the fuel economy is virtually the same on the two engines. The Sienna is also offered with all-wheel drive and has a 3,500-pound tow capacity.

Not only is the Sienna comfortable to ride in, but it drives very well, handles easily, is quite fuel efficient, and very safe. The new Sienna effectively covers many needs. Choices range from the $24,000 cloth interior, 4 cylinder base LE model to the $40,000 leather clad Limited with V-6 and all-wheel drive. There’s a Sienna for everyone.

Visit www.MyCarData.com for more information on these models.

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