BMW’s all-new 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine mates with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Paddle shifters are standard. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a claimed 5.4 seconds. (The similar but V8-powered 750i comes with either rear-drive or all-wheel drive.)
High-tech features include the world’s first Gesture Control. The “active” kidney grille includes an Air Breather that automatically opens grille bars and flaps in five stages when additional cooling is needed. Wireless charging is standard, along with an in-car wi-fi hotspot. A new iDrive 5.0 system uses touchscreen technology.
BMW calls the latest 7 Series a “benchmark” in lightweight design, as well as in “intuitive operation.” Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic is extensively used in the Carbon Core passenger cell structure. Central-console controls are framed by wood or aluminum surfaces. Trim strips are made individually for each car. BMW claims the 7 Series has the largest head-up display in the industry; it’s optional for the 740i.
With an MSRP of $81,300, the 740i includes an air suspension, rearview camera, keyless entry, leather upholstery, soft-close automatic doors, panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof, power front seats with driver’s memory and lumbar support, heated front sets, four-zone automatic climate control, LED headlights and foglamps, and a navigation system. All-season run-flat tires are mounted on 18-inch light alloy V-spoke wheels. Park Distance Control, an in-dash CD player, satellite radio, Harman Kardon surround-sound system, wireless charging and a wi-fi hotspot also are standard.
Introduction of the all-new 7 Series also serves as the premiere of Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview. Offered as a package in conjunction with active steering, this optional active-chassis control system works with the air suspension and Dynamic Damper Control to improve driving comfort. Ride Preview gives advance information for regulating the chassis systems. Driving-style analysis readings derive from the data in the navigation system, helping the car to respond appropriately to road conditions just ahead.
- The optional M Sport package features an M aerodynamic kit with model-specific front/rear aprons and side skirts, plus 19- or 20-inch M light-alloy wheels, an M driver’s footrest, and accents in either light or dark chrome.
- An Autobahn Package includes active steering and Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview.
- A Driver Assistance Plus group includes an Active Driving Assistance, surround-view system with 3-D view, and Parking Assistant.
- The Executive Package includes power side-window shades, multi-contour seats, ventilated front seats, a head-up display, and Nappa leather instrument panel covering.
- The Luxury Rear Seating Package adds heated and ventilated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rear-seat massaging, and a seven-inch Touch Command tablet.
A 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid sedan will join the lineup during 2016.
When you consider what you get in the new 740i, including a prestigious machine and BMW’s brand of handling talents, its lofty price starts to sound rather reasonable. On the other hand, excessive use of the option list can send that sticker price soaring into unreal territory. Most buyers will be quite satisfied with the six-cylinder engine, with no need to upgrade into a V8-powered 750i sedan. Sales begin in fall 2015.
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