THE BMW 7 Series is a full-sized luxury sedan produced by German carmaker BMW since 1977. It caters to a market segment comprising prospective owners with extremely high expectations.
The sixth-generation BMW 7 Series is among a handful of cars that are dynamic and technologically advanced in their class.
Some say that the segment is for wealthy buyers who prefer to be chauffeured, seating in the back seat, rather than driving themselves.
The BMW 7 Series has redefined the idea of driving luxury in the premium automotive world, taking home the World Luxury Car of the Year 2016.
We sampled the BMW 740 Le xDrive, the 7 Series hybrid with eDrive technology, and found improvements compared with the petrol-variant BMW 730Li. It is marvelous to be chauffeured in and the car is leisurely and fun to drive.
The BMW 740Le xDrive is powered by a 2.0-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine, mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission with Steptronic. It churns out 255hp at 5,000 to 6,000rpm and 400Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,400rpm.
The car has an electric drive motor mounted in between the transmission and engine, and delivers a maximum output of 113hp and a peak torque of 250Nm in pure electric driving mode.
The combustion engine and electric drive system together offer a total of 326hp and 500Nm of torque.
The Bavarian carmaker claims that the 740Le xDrive can complete the century sprint in 5.3 seconds and it has a top speed of 250kph.
In a fully electric driving mode, it can travel up to 41km based on the New European Driving Cycle and is able to reach a top speed of 140kph.
The 740Le xDrive is 5,238mm long, 1,902mm wide, 1,479mm high, and with a 3,210mm-long wheelbase. It weighs 2,015kg and has 420-litre boot space, as well as 46-litre fuel-tank capacity.
The e-drive emblem at the C-pillar of the car, the charging port flap cover, the blue lining at the kidney grills and, of cause, the model emblem at the rear trunk lid differentiate the BMW 740Le with the 730Li.
The 740Le is equipped with two-axle air suspension, automatic self-leveling and dynamic damper control, BMW laserlight headlamps, 19-inch alloy wheels, sky lounge panoramic glass roof, a 16-speaker sound system, ConnectedDrive, ambient lights, BMW display key, 600-watt with nine-channel amplifier by Harman Kardon, a rear entertainment system, head-up display, a two 10-inch display screen for rear passengers, BMW Touch Command seven-inch touchscreen tablet, iDrive system and wireless charging facilities.
Its safety features include eight airbags, parking assistant, driving assistant plus system that include features like lane change warning, lane departure warning, crossing traffic alert, pedestrian collision warning, active cruise control with stop-and-go function, lane control assistant, lane keeping assistant and active side collision protection.
To fully charge the locally-assembled BMW 740Le xDrive, all one needs is a domestic power socket or the BMW i Wallbox Connect.
The recharge time takes less than five hours and the charging process can be monitored by either the BMW remote app on a smartphone or the graphic in the car’s instrument cluster.
The 740Le xDrive is priced at RM598,800 without insurance and it comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
The luxury hybrid sedan would have retailed for RM853,800 without the hybrid tax incentives.
The BMW 740Le xDrive is one of those cars that turn heads for its elegant design, sharp headlights and taillights, even among those driving a BMW themselves. People will regularly stare at it, expecting to see some famous celebrities behind the wheel.
Driving the car is pure pleasure. Its powerful engine and agile handling are just the starters. On the highway, it provides waves of torque for more confident overtaking.
Throttle response is good, gear changes are smooth, instantaneous and precise. The brake pedal is firm and bites the moment it is engaged. The steering is sharp and accurate, making entering and exiting corners exquisitely precise.
The 740Le xDrive now comes with driving assistance plus system which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-change warning and lane-departure warning to give the driver a peace of mind during long trips.
With the crossing traffic alert, pedestrian collision warning and active side-collision protection, drivers and passengers can feel safer in the long wheelbase luxury sedan.
Hop into the back seat and it feels like sitting in the first class of an airline.
There are two 10-inch display screens for entertainment and also to watch details of the car right at the rear seats.
If that’s not enough, it also comes with a seven-inch touchscreen tablet stored at the arm-rest to adjust the car’s settings which include the sky-lounge panoramic glass roof, ambient lights, as well as rear- and front-passenger seats adjustments, and the massage function for the rear seats.
The BMW 740Le xDrive looks great during day time and stunning at night. Its ambient lighting and welcome lights play a major role to further enhance its luxury look.
We managed to record 2.6 to 3.1 litres per 100km after a combined city and highway drive within legal speeds, running on both its combustion and electric motor. In the similar situation, but running just on its combustion engine, it consumed 7.8 to 8.8 litres per 100km.
After some pedal-to-the-metal driving, the fully digital instrument cluster indicated that it consumed about 10.3 to 11.7 litres per 100km.
Overall, the BMW740Le xDrive is very close to a perfect premium sedan, whether for own driving or when being chauffeured.
However, there are still some areas that can be improved. The 46-litre fuel tank size is a little small, giving the perception that it will run out of fuel quickly and need frequent visits to petrol stations.
Improvements can also be made on the braking system for the crossing traffic alert, pedestrian collision warning and active side-collision protection functions as a sudden brake intervention can scare both drivers and passengers.