- Published On: 3 May 2017
- 4 min read
If you don’t want the big V8 or the diesel versions, this new 3.0-litre, turbo-petrol straight-six is a great option.
This mid-range variant of BMW’s flagship luxury sedan caters to the growing demand for petrol-powered cars. Until BMW launched this car, you could have your 7-series with either a 265hp, 3.0-litre diesel (730Ld) or a 450hp, 4.4-litre V8 petrol (750Li). This new 740Li is powered by a 3.0-litre inline-six petrol motor and makes sense for someone who doesn’t want a diesel, but doesn’t want to splurge on the stonking V8 petrol.
On the outside
The smaller locally assembled petrol costs a more reasonable ₹1.28 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) as opposed to the ₹1.57 crore of the imported 750Li. The 740Li is available in only one spec – Design Pure Excellence Signature – which is the mid-level offering in the range. It gets a bit more kit than the entry variant and uses a classier, more chrome-heavy look than the racier, more expensive M Sport top trim.
On the inside
The New 7-Series’ interior is leagues ahead of its predecessor’s. There’s softer leather, contrast stitching, lighter-coloured wood grain and loads of brushed metal all over the place. The design, however, feels a bit too business-like. There’s loads of tech with BMW’s latest iDrive onboard computer now operable by not just the click wheel and touchpad, but also a touchscreen and even some gesture controls.
The back seat has acres of space, and this trim gets a bench seat that’s got two reclining chairs with an armrest that folds down in the centre, housing the seat controls and a Samsung tablet that lets you take control of almost everything - from the air-con, the ambient lighting and infotainment, to the seat heating, cooling and massage, the sun blinds and the sunroof.
Oddly, while the rear seats and driver’s seat are lavish, the front passenger seat isn’t. It only has basic electric adjustment - you can’t even adjust the headrest. It also lacks the massage function. Its main purpose appears to be to fold forward to liberate even more room for the rear-left passenger and releasing the footrest that’s fixed onto the back. Also, there aren’t any paddle shifters in this car.
The 740Li uses a 2,998cc, twin-scroll-turbocharged straight-six that makes 326hp and 450Nm of torque. It’s paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Refinement when you set off is just superb, the Bimmer murmurs and shimmies to life and then settles down into a calm idle. Rev this car past 3,500rpm there’s a raspy exhaust note but it’s a bit hushed by the turbo whoosh and the cabin insulation. A fair amount of tyre noise enters the cabin though.
From behind the wheel
Acceleration is creamy smooth - power delivery is really strong, and the gearbox makes sure it continues unabated between ratios. While the 750Li gets to 100kph in a M5-rivalling 4.7sec, this 740Li’s claimed 5.6sec time is pretty good too. Despite it being a 5.2m-long limousine, it still weighs less than 1.8 tonnes, thanks to the lightweight construction, including the use of carbon-fibre in key areas.
The different drive modes dictate the way the engine, gearbox, steering and suspension behave. You get a choice of Eco Pro, Comfort, Comfort Plus and Sport, the first and last of which get their own ‘individual’ settings to let you customise your drive. The car’s four-corner air suspension has an inherently soft and pillowy ride quality, and in Comfort Plus, it’s simply too bouncy. Comfort is good for everyday use, while Sport mode is still comfortable enough. Some sharper bumps can still be felt, which is fine by most standards, but in this segment, this is all too noticeable.
The Bimmer is quick, the steering is sharp, and the car displays surprisingly good body control, plus that rev-happy engine is a real delight.
Is it worth the money?
It’s good to see very little of the luxury has been left out on this locally assembled Design Pure Excellence Signature trim and that really shows how well BMW has upped its game. While the super-capable 730Ld will likely still remain the most popular variant, we do anticipate seeing a lot of 740Lis out on the road.