Large luxury sedans have a long history of rear-wheel drive layouts. From the 1920s V16 Cadillac to the 1960s Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL 6.9 to the original 1980s BMW 7-Series, they all followed the same template. Only one automaker decided to try something different, and for years, the Audi V8/A8 was the only true executive car to send power to all four wheels. The others claimed that their engineering superiority and technological advancements like traction and stability control meant that they wouldn't have to 'corrupt' the feel of their range-topping models.
Slowly but surely, the mighty began to relent. First, Mercedes-Benz adopted its 4MATIC all-wheel drive system into the S-Class sedan in the late ‘90s, and then Lexus added all-wheel drive to its LS when the hybrid 600 h model was launched in 2006. Only BMW persisted.
Now that the new 7-Series is here, however, the company has finally relented to both consumers and its dealer network that were all clamoring for an all-wheel drive model to tame the car's ferocious power in snowier climes.
Our tester was also the first we've driven in the longer chassis of the stretched 750Li, with xDrive all-wheel drive being the real game-changer. The extra few inches of length are added completely between the axles to give limo-quality rear seat comfort and space. The L is more likely to be the chauffer-driven choice, but at least the hired help will enjoy the results.
More: 2010 BMW 750Li xDrive