BMW 740i road test and review: understated luxury brilliance
LOOKING justifiably comfortable in the hilly affluent surrounds of Noosa, the locals offered nods of approval.
Wowing one resident with its prestige good looks and lavish internal finishes it was a fitting location to show off the pinnacle of BMW saloons.
The 7 Series is a hallmark of the brand's quality and technology, and those with deep pockets can appreciate the return for skyward of $200,000.
While it sounds hefty, and to most it is, the 7 Series is a vial cog in the technology machine. Features found here could ultimately become commonplace.
It wasn't so long along that central locking was somewhat fancy, along with the likes of cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity.
You don't need to be Michael J Fox to get a look at the future - and this is certainly no DeLorean, without the need for a space-consuming flux capacitor.
Dropping into the seats is a serene experience. The supple leather, caressing headrests and supportive bolstering creates a travel haven.
The digital display is quick and of the highest quality, with the dials and gauges changing personality depending on the driving mode. Comfort mode has the more traditional-looking analogue appearance whereas the sporting personas are accompanied by larger digital offerings focussing on the tachometer and pronounced speedometer.
Tactile materials offer a truly opulent experience, but if one don't want to outstretch the arms then there are other options literally at hand.
Changes can be made to the infotainment system simply by hand gestures. A 3D camera looks for swiping, pointing, turning and pushing.
You can adjust the volume by turning your hand, pinch air to take a call or swipe it to refuse.
You can opt for massage functions in each of the chairs, but they are optional extras.
Those in the back have a removable tablet stored in the rear armrest for wireless connection to the car, where you can adjust the air-conditioning, alter the sun blinds or move the sunroof.
On the road
The acceleration is like being punched in the face with a velvet glove. Powerful and arresting, but all the same luxurious and intoxicatingly smooth.
Providing the motivation is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder which is smoother than John Travolta on the dancefloor in Saturday Night Fever. And this thing can boogie. Plant the right foot and you enjoy the plush chairs as it cushions the acceleration blow.
Sprinting from standstill to 100km in just over five seconds it's a remarkably lithe limousine. The steering is light and can lack some feel depending on drive mode. More often the owners of these offerings are riding in the back, but this a truly enjoyable vehicle to drive.
Keen drivers would probably prefer the eight-cylinder (a $23,100 step up), although the turbocharged six rarely lacks in ability. The ride is outstanding smooth, managing the soak up all the road nasties with ease.
What do you get?
Well, it's more a question what you go without. Givens are the air suspension, 19-inch alloys, call centre access for round-the-lock service for just about anything you need like restaurants and service centres, in-vehicle internet, four-zone air-con, sunroof, cornering headlights with auto high beam, six mood lighting variants, Nappa leather trim on seats and dash, sat nav with 26cm screen, 31cm colour driver display and a swag of top-class safety features.
There are a range of options such as roll stabilisation program ($5500), sun glazing protection ($1100), Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system ($9900),and a rear seat indulgence package for $17,400 that gives you electrically adjustable heated pews with massage function and two 26cm colour screens with digital TV.
One could also consider an Audi A8 3.0TDI ($197,100), Mercedes-Benz S-Class S400L ($230,910), Maserati Quattroporte 3.0 ($215,000), Jaguar XJ 3.0 R-Sport ($224,320), Lexus LS Sports Luxury ($187,610), or maybe a Bentley Flying Spur V8 ($378,197) or the Rolls-Royce Ghost ($595,000).
Running costs Fuel consumption won't be a worry, achieving about seven litres for every 100km. Neither will servicing initially, as there is free maintenance for three years and unlimited kilometres.
Practicality Ever left your car and wondered if you locked it? Well with your 7 Series key all the data is available via a small LCD touch-screen. You can see fuel gauge and range, service information, whether the windows are open and climate control information.
Boot space is sizable, although the rear pew is fixed which takes awkward packages out of the equation…although it's probably a fair assumption that anyone with the coin to buy a 7 Series would likely be able to afford the furniture delivery fee.
Wearing the kidney grille proudly, the 7 Series is understated refinement. It's imposing through size alone, although there's nothing shouting its price-tag.
Beautiful in so many ways, the 7 Series is a wonderful showcase of quality and capability. There is some spectacular technology on show, but only for those inside. While it reeks of austerity, this is a limousine for those who like the best of the best but don't need to tell the world.
What matters most
What we liked: Seats are pure luxury, magic-carpet ride, sprinting ability for such a large car.
What we'd like to see: Less items on the options and more kit as standard.
Warranty and servicing: A three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist for the same period. Free servicing for three years. Servicing intervals are "conditioned based", so it depends on how far and hard you drive.
Model: BMW 740i.
Details: Four-door five-seat large rear-wheel drive luxury saloon.
Engine: 3.0-litre twinscroll turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine, generating maximum power of 240kW and peak torque of 450Nm.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.
Consumption: 7.0 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance 0-100kmh: 5.5 seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $224,200
Driving experience 18/20
Features and equipment 19/20
Functionality and comfort 18/20
Value for money 16/20
Style and design 16/20