BMW 740i

What’s W it like to drive the new flag­ship from BMW? We test the 740i to find out.

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Being a mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist isn’t the eas­i­est job on the planet, es­pe­cially if you have to re­view a car like the new BMW740I.

Boo-hoo-hoo, I hear you think, poor wit­tle mo­tow­ing journo com­plain­ing about how tough it is to give an opin­ion on a one-point-four mil­lion Dol­lar lux­ury sedan.

Well, it re­ally is jolly dif­fi­cult. Ex­plain­ing ev­ery fea­ture of this space ship would take a few hours so if my con­cise edi­tion doesn’t do the car jus­tice, BMW won’t give me another one.

And if I get it re­ally wrong, no­body will pub­lish my ar­ti­cle and I’ll end up on the street. Maybe your street. Wash­ing cars with­out per­mis­sion.

To pre­vent this sce­nario from hap­pen­ing, I’ll jump right in by telling you that this is the sixth ver­sion of BMW’S big sedan. The 7-Se­ries was launched around 1977 to fi­nally give the Mercedes S-class some­thing to think about. Audi pitched up at the party even later with their A8 flag­ship but in most mar­kets, ours in­cluded, the Merc kinda rules.

That doesn’t mean this BMW is a use­less com­peti­tor – quite the op­po­site. Like the new Audi A8 – which I’ve also had the priv­i­lege of driv­ing – it’s a re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent and sporty al­ter­na­tive to the Merc.

Per­son­ally I think the BMW is the most ex­cit­ing of the trio; A8 and S-class are tamer and more un­der­stated.

I would also say that of the in­te­ri­ors. All three Ger­man mega-sedans of­fer ex­cep­tional space, lux­ury and tech­nol­ogy but in the Bee Emm it ap­pears to be more ob­vi­ous. I’d swear it also has more but­tons and th­ese get a mi­nor crit­i­cism – most of them are shiny sil­ver; and thus al­most im­pos­si­ble to de­ci­pher in broad day­light.

Our press car from BMW was coated in pearly white which also cov­ered an op­tional MPack. This makes your 7Series look and feel sportier with­out wings, fins or other such os­ten­ta­tious non­sense.

Inside, some­one had selected Mocca brown leather to cover most touch sur­faces. It looked ab­so­lutely ex­quis­ite.

Hav­ing re­cently celebrated their 100th birthday, BMW shows no sign of stop­ping their au­to­mo­tive progress. A per­fect ex­am­ple is the 740i’s en­gine which – de­spite the “40" badge – was ac­tu­ally the Bavar­ian firm’s leg­endary 3litre turbo-petrol straight six.

In this ap­pli­ca­tion, it churns out up to 240kw or 450Nm.

Once again the motor amazed ev­ery­one with its trade­mark sound and punchy re­sponse over an in­cred­i­bly wide power band. This flows via an eight­speed au­to­matic gear­box to the rear wheels, while a 3-way drive mode se­lec­tor of­fers highly dis­tinc­tive modes from the fuel-sav­ing Eco Pro to a rather keen Sport mode.

Th­ese set­tings also change the dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter as well as the car’s adap­tive air sus­pen­sion. The 740i’s ride is supremely com­fort­able, even with the some­what rumbly low-pro­file tyres; but it can also hus­tle around cor­ners thanks that Sport mode.

We even found launch con­trol and clocked a best 0-100 time of 5.36 sec­onds – a smidgen faster than BMW’S claim.

Other things I des­per­ately need to squeeze in here are that you also get a long-wheel­base and two other en­gines: a turbo-diesel six cylin­der and turbo-petrol V8 with equally con­fus­ing badges.

BMW in­no­va­tions in­clude the lat­est i- Drive in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with built in cel­lu­lar

ca­pa­bil­i­ties like live traf­fic, and map up­dates, weather, web/in­ter­net, concierge and emer­gency ser­vices. You may com­mand it via but­tons, a touch- pad, voice con­trol or ges­tures – ro­tate your in­dex fin­ger to change the vol­ume.

We also dis­cov­ered auto and pow­ered every­thing, mas­sage and ex­er­cise op­tions for most chairs, am­bi­ent light­ing and per­fume op­tions, heads- up dis­play, a N$81,000 Bow­ers & Wilkins sound sys­tem worth ev­ery sin­gle cent, in­cred­i­ble BMW laser head­lights and a rear in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with two tablets and a por­ta­ble mini-tablet.

Please note that some of th­ese are op­tional ex­tras and you may or­der even more sci-fi good­ies for your Seven.

It’s al­ready got a self-park­ing func­tion as well as a chunky smart-key with touch-screen but for a lit­tle ex­tra, BMW will com­bine th­ese two so that you can alight from your car and park it re­motely.

I’m not done ex­plain­ing yet but we’re run­ning out of time. Did I men­tion the self-steer­ing and adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop/go func­tion?

Us­ing th­ese si­mul­ta­ne­ously means the 740i can ac­tu­ally drive it­self – some­thing I tried for a few short mo­ments un­til my nerves gave in and I had a Ter­mi­na­tor Skynet mo­ment.

The machines are tak­ing over.

I hope this serves as a de­cent sum­mary of the new BMW 740i be­cause, trust me, I’ve left out more than half its features. What I can con­firm with ab­so­lutely cer­tainty is that this new 7-Se­ries has eas­ily caught up to its ri­vals in terms of de­sign, lux­ury and in­no­va­tions.

Oh yes, and one last thing:

Happy be­lated birthday, BMW.

Text Hanjo Stier Im­ages Var­i­ous sources

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