New 'Die Hard' Drives Cars With a Vengeance

As "A Good Day to Die Hard" opens nationally today, near-unanimous criticism doesn't bode well for the fifth installment of the explosive Bruce Willis-fronted film franchise. But from the sound of things, its crashing and burning with critics will be easily drowned out by the film's reported cacophony of car demolition.

Director John Moore told USA Today that in just one epic car-chase sequence — featuring the wisecracking Willis piloting a Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV monster-truck-rally style through Russian traffic in pursuit of bad guys — the production gave the John McClane treatment to dozens of cars at a cost of $11 million.

"There were 132 (cars) that could never be used again," Moore told USA Today.

Other reports add a few BMW 7 Series sedans, a Porsche and a Maybach to the luxury-scrapheap inventory.

"With 'Die Hard' it's about how audacious the action is," Moore told USA Today. "So you have to drive over a Lamborghini. An actual one. And yes, it hurts me. I'm a car fanatic."

Check out the trailer above for a glimpse of the carnage.

Related Drive On: New 'Die Hard' movie wrecks 132 cars (USA Today)
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By Matt Schmitz | February 14, 2013 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2005-2008 BMW 7 Series

BMW is recalling 45,500 model-year 2005-08 versions of the 7 Series sedan because of problems with the automatic transmission, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles are equipped with the Comfort Access option and were manufactured from Aug. 23, 2004, through July 24, 2008. You can check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb.

These vehicles have an electronic key and the transmission is automatically shifted to Park when the driver presses the ignition button. If the driver presses the button multiple times, the transmission could shift into Neutral instead. The vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of a crash.

BMW will notify owners starting in November, but dealers will not have a software remedy until March 2013, according to NHTSA. Owners can call BMW at 800-525-7417 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 29, 2012 | Comments (0)

2011 BMW 740i, 740Li: First Look

  • Competes with: Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ
  • Looks like: Power isn’t everything -- even in imposing German sedans
  • Drivetrain: 315-hp, twin-turbo six-cylinder with six-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2010
BMW’s flagship sedan is getting a power dump — not bump — for 2011. The 740i and 740Li will pack BMW’s superb twin-turbo V-6 engine used in the 3 and 5 Series. In the 740s, it will produce 315 horsepower and is teamed to a six-speed automatic.

We’re not sure why BMW thinks this is a good idea. No other luxury car in this class features a six-cylinder, even a turbocharged one. We’re also not sure on pricing, but it probably will be north of $70,000 since the 750i starts at $80,455.

At either price buyers may demand a V-8 — fuel economy be damned.

We recently tested a BMW 535 wagon with the same engine producing 300 hp and found it to be plenty powerful. The 750 weighs 450 pounds more than the 535 wagon, but the turbo engine should bring the 7 Series’ weight down slightly. The 740 will be rear-wheel drive only and pack regenerative braking technology; the 740Li will be an extended model, just like in the rest of the range, for more interior room.

Even if performance is acceptable, will the 7 Series buyer be content with the 740i badge on the back? Or will they pull an Ari Gold who famously put a higher-end badge on his wife’s luxury sedan in the popular HBO series “Entourage.” 
By David Thomas | December 17, 2009 | Comments (7)

2010 BMW ActiveHybrid 7


Following the launch of the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 will be a hybrid version of the 7 Series luxury sedan, which will go on sale in the spring of 2010. Unlike the X6’s full hybrid setup, the ActiveHybrid 7 will feature a mild hybrid system. That means the efficiency gains are smaller, but BMW says there will still be a 15% gain in fuel economy. The 750i gets 17 mpg, so the hybrid should bump that to 19 or 20 mpg. It will also feature an auto start-stop function that will shut the engine off when at a standing stop. The company will offer both a standard version and a long-wheelbase model of the ActiveHybrid 7. There are also specially designed wheels that add some aerodynamic efficiency.

Of course, buyers of this car — the 750i starts at $80,300 — likely won’t care about the efficiency of the ActiveHybrid, which makes us wonder why it needs to exist. While the ActiveHybrid X6 will be the most powerful hybrid on the market and is aimed at driving enthusiasts, the 7 isn’t the same package. Sure, BMW says it’ll put out 455 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque, but no one is thrashing a 7 Series with regularity. Instead, the ActiveHybrid 7 will top the lineup in price and will likely be more of a status symbol.

More photos below.

By David Thomas | August 13, 2009 | Comments (4)

2010 BMW 7 Series Gains AWD, M Sport Package


With Audi's A8 featuring Quattro and Mercedes-Benz's S550 available with 4Matic, BMW's 7 Series had been the lone all-wheel-drive holdout among full-size German luxury sedans. That will change for the 2010 model year, when xDrive all-wheel-drive editions of the 750i and long-wheelbase 750Li join the current rear-drive lineup. All-wheel-drive models hit dealerships this fall. Pricing information hasn't been released.

BMW says xDrive, which is available on models like the 3 Series and 5 Series, gains improvements aimed at driving dynamics. The system can route up to 80% of engine torque to the rear wheels, and it can also selectively apply the rear brakes for the benefit of handling performance.

In addition, a new M Sport Package lifts certain features from BMW's M performance division, like an M steering wheel, and also adds performance features, like BMW's Active Roll Stabilization, on rear-drive models. Additional features include a special body kit and 19-inch wheels with performance tires. Twenty-inch wheels are optional.

2009|BMW|7 Series

2010|BMW|7 Series

By Mike Hanley | July 2, 2009 | Comments (0)

New V-12 Engine Powers 2010 BMW 760Li


We recently reviewed BMW's V-8-powered 750i luxury sedan, but for those looking for more power and luxury — and willing to spend more money — BMW offers a V-12 version, the 2010 760Li, which receives the same platform updates as the redesigned 750i but features a new V-12 engine that pairs with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Pricing information hasn't been released, but expect its starting price to be somewhere near the outgoing 760Li's $124,100 base price. It hits dealerships this fall.

Like the V-8 in the 750i and 750Li, the 6.0-liter V-12 in the 760Li features twin turbochargers. The V-12's preliminary specifications are 544 hp and 553 pounds-feet of torque, and BMW says the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds, which is more than a half-second quicker than the 750Li. Gas mileage estimates haven't been released yet. The sedan is also equipped with a self-leveling rear suspension.

V-12 sedans are only offered in long-wheelbase Li form, which adds 5.5 inches to the sedan's wheelbase for more backseat room. Subtle exterior changes distinguish the 760Li from its V-8 sibling, like more slats in the twin-kidney grille, V-12 badges on the front doors and unique exhaust outlets. Interior features include illuminated doorsills, Nappa leather around the instruments, and Alcantara material for the headliner and sun visors.

Having driven the 750i, I can say that the car is plenty quick with its 400-hp V-8. That said, the 760Li is less about improved performance — though that comes with the package — than it is about extravagant transportation. When you're going up against models like the Audi A8 L W12 and Mercedes-Benz S600, it's what you have to do to be competitive.

By Mike Hanley | April 27, 2009 | Comments (34)

2009 BMW 750i Video Review reviewer Mike Hanley gets behind the wheel of the 2009 BMW 750i in this video review. The new 7 Series sedan comes chock-full of technology features, a lush interior and seats that will outright pamper you. Really, there’s only one major question that needs to be answered: How well does it stack up to Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class?

By Stephen Markley | April 21, 2009 | Comments (14)

2009 BMW 7 Series Video

BMW hopes the 2009 7 Series will upend competition from Mercedes-Benz and Lexus with better performance and luxury perks. In this video,’s Kelsey Mays proves he’s around to do more than make bad automotive jokes; here, he explains where the 7 Series is a cut above and where he finds it lacking. Oh, and he also manages to get in a few bad jokes.

By Stephen Markley | March 3, 2009 | Comments (2)

More Details on BMW Hybrids

BMW’s X6 and 7 Series hybrids, which debuted in concept form at last November’s L.A. auto show, will likely arrive late this year and in early 2010, respectively. Do we need hybrid versions of leather-lined luxury cars? That's debatable, but Lexus and Mercedes are forging ahead with ‘em, so why not BMW, too? At yesterday’s Washington, D.C., auto show, we learned a few more details on both.

The X6 hybrid is a “full” hybrid, using the two-mode technology co-developed by BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes and GM. That means it can scoot on electric power, gasoline power or a combination of the two. And scoot it will — the powertrain works with the X6 xDrive50i’s 4.4-liter, turbocharged V-8. BMW VP of engineering Tom Baloga said to expect 20% better overall gas mileage, so combined city/highway gas mileage should work out to 18 mpg, versus the gas-only model’s 15 mpg. Compare that to the Mercedes-Benz ML320 Bluetec (20 mpg) and new Volkswagen Touareg 2 V-6 TDI (estimated low 20s). We should note that both are diesels, and as of yesterday diesel fuel was about 29 cents — 14% — more per gallon than premium unleaded. (What’s more, if you’re looking for top mileage among luxury SUVs, the less-expensive 2010 Lexus RX 450h should get a combined 27 mpg with AWD.) The X6 Hybrid should also be fast as stink.

By Kelsey Mays | February 4, 2009 | Comments (1)

2008 L.A. Auto Show: BMW 7 Series, X6 Hybrid Concepts


  • Looks like: BMW wants in on the hybrid halo
  • Defining characteristics: Huge turbocharged V-8 engines, tiny electric motors
  • Ridiculous features: 400-hp V-8 in a hybrid
  • Chance of being mass-produced: We’re not sure if there’s a market for super-powerful hybrids, and BMW hasn’t hit home runs with recent new models

Riddle me this: What's one hybrid the world does not need right now? An uber-luxury sedan. A bonus no-go would be a hybrid performance SUV. Yet those are the two hybrid concepts BMW is showing in L.A.

The recently redesigned 7 Series and the X6 SUV both sport the same powertrain, a 400-hp, turbocharged V-8 engine teamed to a mild hybrid system. The result? 15% better fuel economy. Compared to a turbo X6, which gets 12/18 mpg city/highway, a 15% improvement would be roughly 14/21 mpg. Not exactly in the running for green car of the year, is it?

The hybrid system does use advanced lithium-ion batteries and an engine-stop function that kills the gas engine at stops to conserve fuel.

By David Thomas | November 19, 2008 | Comments (0)

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