BMW plays green card

The 730d is a clean ma­chine, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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.

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