BMW would like to welcome you to the year 1992. Back then, BMW’s flagship 7-Series came with a six-cylinder motor under the hood and now, here in 2010, that same motor is back. Under the hood of the new 2011 740i and the long wheelbase 740Li is a six-cylinder engine that is far more efficient than the bigger eight-cylinder motors. That being said, what will really attract buyers to this new 7-Series is the lowered price.
The $71,025 740i and the $75,425 740Li are around 11 grand less than the V8 models. For that price, one would expect the luxury sedan to be merely a stripped down version of the 750. Yet, that simply isn’t the case. Sure the 740 gives up a few of the toys that grace the higher end models, but in no way is this car barren. In fact, the new BMW 740 might be one of the best values on the market today.
Thankfully, on a styling note, the 740 is much better. No longer do we have to hear the words ’Bangle butt’ mentioned again. The massive kidney grilles give the sedan an attack helicopter look. From the side, the 740 looks like a long car. The sharp shoulder crease from head to toe slide through the car’s seamless profile.
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That being said, this still isn’t the best-looking luxury sedan. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a more sophisticated appearance and the new Audi A8 is marvelous with its massive front grille. The 740’s look won’t impress everyone, but neither did the old model and look how well that sold.
Obviously, the most important aspect of this new BMW is under the hood. The 740i and 740Li come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six that cranks out 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, a big upgrade over the motors previous job, powering the 335i. That power jump is thanks to a boost upgrade to the tune of 10.2 maximum psi. On top of all that, the new motors save 215 pounds compared to the other 7-Series models.
Fuel economy is surprisingly good for a car of this size. Both of the 740s are rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway, a big upgrade over the 750i and the 750Li.
Helping the engine work smoothly is a six-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth upshifts and downshifts. It’s nice to see a proper gearbox, not the eight-speed setups that are found in other luxury cars. It even comes with a sport shift option for when you feel like taking your luxury sedan on the back roads.
When on the road, all that nonsense about the six-cylinder motor not being a proper engine for a luxury sedan vanishes. Nobody could ever need any more power than what the 740 has to offer. The car pulls very well off the line and with 330 lb-ft of torque available at 1,600 rpm, the car overtakes with ease. Mash the throttle and you’re put back into the plush leather seat. Why anybody would want more power is beyond me.
Like pretty much all BMWs this new 740 is packed with goodies, which include standard electronic damping control. This will allow drivers to select from comfort, normal, sport, and sport-plus suspension modes. The excellent steering, amazing brakes, and the brilliant body control have been carried over from the higher priced models as well.
The driving experience behind the wheel of the 740Li is something special. Bumps are smoothed over like icing on a cake and there is such a feeling of control behind the wheel. Steering is tight like most BMWs, but loose enough for easy city driving.
In the bends the 740Li is truly at home. There is little body lean to speak of and, in sport mode, the car feels like a sedan that is half the size. Steering feedback is spot on and the motor has the perfect amount of grunt to pull the car out of the corner.
Stopping power comes from all disc equipped with ABS and new Brake Fade Compensation which adjusts itself for multiple hard stops.
Inside, the 740i and 740Li contain very nice places to sit. You’ll find many amenities that could keep one occupied for quite some time. Supple leather and rich wood accents cover almost every surface and the highly adjustable front seats mean that you’ll always be comfortable. The rear seats in the 740Li, which has 6 inches extra compared to the 740i, have enough room to carry rich businessmen on road trips.
Gone are the days when people would rather sit in silence then play with the iDrive system. Rightfully criticized in the past, the system is now cleaner and far more intuitive. That being said, it still took half an hour to find the audio settings. However, we think over time, the new layout will get easier to use as the driver continues to operate it.
Large, fast, agile, sporty, luxurious, and all of the above. These are just a few of the words to describe the new 740 line. Amazingly, one can now include the word bargain when describing the BMW flagship. With its aggressive look and complicated computer system, its obvious that this car isn’t for everyone, but those looking for a premium luxury sedan, get ready to be impressed.