BMW plays green card
The 730d is a clean machine, writes NEIL McDONALD
UNTIL now, the hype over hybrids has overshadowed the fact many diesels deliver the same fuel economy without needing two drive systems.
German carmaker BMW is prepared to dive into the whole hybrid argument by declaring its new 3.0-litre 730d returns better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than the hybrid Lexus LS600hL.
It says the 730d emits 192g/km of C02, compared with the LS600hL’s 219g/km, and uses 7.2 litres/100km, compared with the LS600hL’s 9.3 litres/100km. To add fuel to the flames, it says the $198,800 730d has more standard equipment than the $252,900 Lexus.
And the 730d makes extensive use of alloys to weigh 1865kg, compared with the Lexus’s porky 2375kg.
BMW Australia spokesman Toni Andreevski says more luxury buyers are becoming aware of the importance of fuel economy and low emissions.
‘‘With a car like the 730d they can make a quiet statement about these things,’’ he says.
BMW is not talking huge sales for the first local 7 Series diesel.
‘‘It’s uncharted territory for us,’’ Andreevski says. ‘‘We don’t know how well it will do.’’
The 730d’s equipment list is similar to the 740i’s, but comes in $4200 under its petrol sibling.
Standard features include head-up display, high beam assist, adaptive bi-xenon headlights with daytime running lights, active headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch wheels with run-flats, automatic variable light technology that controls headlight beam intensity, rear-view cam- era and cruise control with brake function.
The 730d also gets four-zone climate control, sunroof, full leather cabin, heated and cooled front seats, a 250-watt, 12-speaker CD stereo and a USB audio interface.
The 730d shares its in-line alloy 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbodiesel with the 330d, which arrives next month.
The 3.0-litre diesel generates 180kW at 4000 revs and 540Nm between 1750 and 3000 revs.
Even in the heavier 730d, it will reach 100km/h in 7.2 seconds.
Like all of the 7 Series models, the 730d gets a six-speed automatic with optimised gearshift dynamics. THE refined 730d makes a compelling case for frugal luxury motoring.
On the road, it behaves as you would expect of a luxury limousine with a performance edge.
The diesel delivers its torque from so low down in the rev range that you do not feel it’s the poor cousin in performance or driveability.
Overtaking in the critical 60km/h to 100km/h area is done in haste, but without drama.
With the dynamic driving control activated, the 730d feels like an agile and much smaller car.
If you prefer your driving experience to be sharp but still economical, you can leave the shift change points the same but stiffen the dampers and degree of steering assistance.
Over country roads and highway cruising, we managed 7.6 litres/ 100km, with the promise of better.
Importantly for a luxury buyer, the BMW diesel sounds like a sixcylinder petrol engine. It’s so quiet at idle that few will realise there’s a diesel under the bonnet. The cabin is suitably equipped to justify the price.
Around town, hybrids may rule, but the 730d is born to run a long way before you need a refill. Our 730d showed we had 1288km to go before needing to refuel.