The BMW 750iL is a member of the BMW 7 Series of luxury vehicles produced by the German automaker BMW. Introduced in 1977, the 7 Series is BMW's flagship car and is only available as a sedan or extended-length limousine. The 750i was BMW's flagship sedan and was featured in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies as the car driven by James Bond.
The BMW 750iL is a member of the the E38 generation (1994–2001) of BMW 7 Series vehicles and is essentially a long-wheelbase 750i (the "L" is from the German word for long, "lang"). In America, the model was sold as the 750iL; there was no E38 750i in the US lineup. The 750i (and iL) came with a 5.4 L V12 346 hp (258 kW; 351 PS) engine, as was used in the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. Both variants had a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Features of the BMW 750iL included high-pressure headlight washers, auto-leveling xenon HID headlamps (The E38 was the first car in the world to feature Xenon headlights), power moonroof, a sound system with 14 speakers and four subwoofers as well as 6-disc CD changer and rain-sensing wipers. BMW was also the first European car manufacturer to offer an integrated satellite navigation screen which featured on the E38 7 Series.
Other features included an automatic climate control system with separate controls for the driver and passenger, a three-position memory system for the driver’s seat, safety-belt height, new steering wheel and outside mirrors. Front-seat side airbags and a Head Protection System (HPS) were also standard. The 750iL featured an all-leather interior with burl walnut trim. The continuous-motion Active Comfort Seat technology was introduced in 1998 to improve comfort and reduce fatigue for the driver and front passenger.
James Bond's 750iL
The BMW 750iL was Bond's provided vehicle for the 18th James Bond feature film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Used during sequences set in Germany, the car came equipped with a security system that sprayed tear gas and delivered electric shocks to intruders. The vehicle also came equipped with a fingerprint-protected safe hidden behind the passenger airbag compartment. The 750iL could be controlled remotely via Bond's Ericsson cell phone, which flipped open to reveal an LCD display and trackpad. Defense mechanisms included a roof-mounted rocket launcher, self-sealing and re-inflating tyres, a cable cutting device in the front bonnet emblem and a caltrop dispenser under the rear bumper.
During a chase sequence in the Atlantic Hotel parking garage, its windshield (despite able to withstand sledgehammer blows) and rear window are shot out by a combination of grenades and assault rifle gunfire from Elliot Carver's henchmen. Bond eventually eludes the thugs and drives the 750iL off the roof of the garage via remote control. The car ironically ends up crashing into an Avis car rental store at street level. While leaving, Bond made the excuse "Left the keys in the car" to the civilians.
Seventeen vehicles were used during filming of the German scenes. Four were adapted to be 'hidden driver' cars, in which a concealed driver would sit in the back using a small steering wheel. Video monitors were attached to cameras hidden in the wing mirrors and on top of the windscreen. Three more BMW's were used as backup for the hidden drivers. One car was equipped with the sliding glove compartment revealing a safe and only used for this one scene. Another, dubbed the 'cannon', was specially prepared to be propelled off the roof in the car chase's climax. It was stripped off as much weight as possible in order to be fired from a special rig. The remaining seven 'pristine' cars were used only for back-up and exterior shots, including one that was being kept in Hamburg for shooting there.
|Concealed compartment — Hidden behind the passenger airbag compartment is a fingerprint-protected safe which can be used to conceal a weapon or sensitive object. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond uses this to store his gun and the stolen GPS encoder. The concept of a hidden vehicle compartment began with the Fleming novel, Goldfinger.|
|Security system — The 750iL is capable of delivering a painful electric shock if door handles are grasped by a potential intruder. The car's security system can only be disarmed from Bond's Ericsson cell phone.|
|Reinforced chassis— To further protect the car's content from intruders, it comes with ultra-tough glass and bodywork capable of withstanding firearm or sledgehammer impacts.|
|Remote control mechanism — The BMW 750iL can be remote controlled via Bond's cellphone. Bond uses this device to drive the car from the backseat during the parking lot chase sequence.|
|Tear gas — The vehicle also has tear gas emitters hidden behind the wheel arches (similar to the one found in Bond's Saab 900 Turbo). After remotely starting the car, Bond deploys the tear-gas mechanism to temporarily stun the thugs surrounding it.|
|Rocket launcher — Hidden where the sunroof should be is a rocket launcher, equipped with twelve short-range rockets.|
|Caltrops dispenser — Dozens of spiked caltrops can be scattered in the path of pursuing vehicles. The dispenser is located behind the rear bumper.|
|Re-inflating tyres — In the event of a puncture the car's tyres are capable of re-inflating. Bond makes use of the feature after he accidentally drives over the caltrops he had previously scattered.|
|Cable cutter — Emerging from beneath the BMW bonnet emblem, the cable cutter consists of two sturdy circular saw blades capable of cutting any cables or wires suspended in the car's path.|
- On recieving the car, Q also notes that it comes equipped with machineguns, although they are not seen in use during the film.
- The car model supplied by BMW for Tomorrow Never Dies is actually a 740iL, re-badged as the 750iL.
- BMW also supplied a $14,000 R1200C motorcycle. BMW received the rights to use movie clips from the film in its multimillion-dollar campaign, and during the 1997 holiday season they offered a special promotion that included the R1200C with the purchase of the 750iL.