This BMW 740Li in the Design Pure Excellence (DPE) Signature trim is the first locally assembled petrol variant of the 7 Series. Luxury automobile manufacturers have started adding petrol variants to their line-up now that the interest in petrol models is growing amongst Indian buyers. This interest grew after the government banned a few diesel cars some time ago, eventually adding to the negative sentiment for oil-burners. In keeping with this growing interest for petrol variants, BMW has introduced the 740Li as an affordable petrol version of its flagship model.
The 740Li DPE Signature isn't a trim that stands out like the M Sport variants for its looks. Nonetheless, the lengthy car looks neat and upmarket. The chrome embellishments on the kidney grille, sides, rear bumper and tailpipe finishers are classily done. The striking headlamps with DRLs on the luxury sedan incorporate BMW's laser light LED headlamps with cornering, adaptive and auto-high beam functions. They come equipped with headlamp washers too. The 14-spoke 19-inch alloys add elegance to the car, while the sharp LED tail lights complete the look.
The 740Li's cabin features full fine-grain Merino leather in beige/black shade. This can be seen on the upper and lower instrument panel, door panels and even B pillars. The wood touches are tastefully done and add a classic touch to the stylish cabin. Then there are other neat touches, such as the ambient lighting that adds to its sophistication. The glove box is small as it houses the fragrance cartridges. Nevertheless, the several other storage places in the car more than make up for this. For a car with a long wheelbase, there’s plenty of space in the front and rear. The latter is what largely defines the luxurious 7 Series. Even if the second row can seat three people, it is best to use the large arm rest and let two individuals be comfortable. There is good legroom and the seats recline too, making it an impressively comfortable and spacious back seat.
Now, the 740Li is not available in the M Sport trim like the 730Ld so it misses the heads-up display, paddle-shifters and rear laptop trays. Still, the carmaker has made great luxury appointments that ticks plenty of boxes. This is particularly so in the case of practical features, which include ventilated front and rear seats, ambient lighting and four-zone automatic climate control system. The rear passengers enjoy business class seating with massage function as standard that comes with eight massage programs including the BMW Vitality Program. The front passenger seat misses out on this, but folds at the touch of a button to liberate more space for the left rear passenger. There's a massive panoramic sunroof that adds to the sense of space. It comes with 15,000 illuminated graphic surfaces in the glass. While most of these features add to the opulence, a remote control and a Samsung tab to control the rear screens, electric blinds for the rear glass and windows also add to the convenience. Sure, the gesture control feature takes some time getting used to, but it’s a good innovation.
The 740Li is also packed to the brim with safety features. These include eight airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, electric parking brake, dynamic braking lights, cornering brake control, run flat tyres, crash sensor and electronic vehicle immobiliser. The rear parking sensors with a 360 camera help in easy parking in tight spots.
Under the long hood of the 740Li is BMW’s B58 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged mill. This 2,998cc inline-six petrol engine generates 322bhp of power at 5,500rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1,380-5,000rpm. Although it’s the least powerful amongst the other petrol engines for the 7 Series, it’s a potent mill. The engine is very quiet while cruising and just exhibits a little snarl when it gets down to business. There’s plenty of torque available from 1,500rpm itself, which is good enough to be chugging along in traffic. Out on the highway too it doesn’t fail to impress. We started off with the eco mode, where the throttle response is blunt, but it ensures that the maximum fuel economy can be achieved. The response gets better in the comfort mode and changes drastically in the sport mode. Despite providing instantaneous power, the delivery is smooth and it doesn’t feel jerky at any point.
This engine comes mated to an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, which sends the power to the rear wheels. The transmission is tuned to work brilliantly with the engine’s strong power delivery. Furthermore, the tightly stacked gear ratios ensure smooth gear changes as one would expect in a luxury limousine. And these gear shifts take place at low revs thanks to the Eco and Comfort mode. This is smooth in the Sport mode too, but the revs can be held up to the limiter here. However, that’s something one will seldom do. Because, be it city driving or highway cruising, you can make the engine work at around 2,500rpm and still move about easily at low revs and in higher gears. Of course, if in case you need to press on, the gearbox is quick to leap down. The 740Li goes from 0-100kmph in 5.84 seconds before topping out at 250kmph. The forward propulsion is phenomenal even if you are not thrown back in to the seats. This is again a good thing!
Well the engine is very silent, but the road noise can be heard within the cabin. Sure it isn't very loud but it could have been better, especially for a car of this segment. Otherwise, the 740Li lives up to the standards of being BMW’s flagship sedan. The air suspension in the Comfort mode provides a luxurious ride quality even if it might feel a little floaty at high speeds. Joints on flyovers and sharp edged potholes still send a jolt into the cabin. However, the damping works well and any vibrations are minimal and does not make the occupants uncomfortable. As soon as we switched to Sport mode, it became firm and contained the body movements around the corners. Now, on rough patches, this is best avoided. So we let the Adaptive mode do the work of altering the suspension and drivetrain for the best response. The steering response and feedback is good in all modes. The steering also weighs up nicely to make it feel easier to turn in. The 275/40-R19 sized Pirelli P Zero rubber provides great grip. Then, the disc brakes at all four wheels have a good bite and great braking power to bring the 1,845kg vehicle to a halt.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||322bhp @ 5500|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||450Nm @ 1,380|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78|
|Tyre size||245/45 R19, 275/40 R19|
|19-inch 14-spoke alloy wheels||Yes|
|Different driving modes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||322bhp @ 5500||329bhp @ 5,250|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||450Nm @ 1,380||480Nm @ 1,600|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||78||70|
|Tyre size||245/45 R19, 275/40 R19||245/45 R18, 245/40 R18|
The BMW 740Li acts as the perfect chauffeur-driven car. It wants you to listen to music, watch your favourite videos and relax while enjoying a massage after a long day at work. And occasionally, you can take the wheel too for an enjoyable driving experience. It exudes luxury, refinement and makes you feel special. Also, BMW has given their buyers the option to choose a less expensive petrol luxury sedan by pricing the 740Li at Rs 1.26 crore (ex-showroom New Delhi). The only other flagship sibling with a similar luxury profile for a similar price is the 730Ld. But then, it’s a diesel model. Buyers looking for a quiet engine, smooth ride and the ultimate refinement will opt for the 740Li. And why not, when most of the important luxury appointments are a part of the eight-figure deal. Meanwhile, its other competitors include the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and its biggest rival - the Mercedes-Benz S-Class S400.