First Drive: 2011 BMW 740Li

Featured Posts, Test Drives | May 18th, 2010 by 15
740i-race-track-1

Inline-6 Power is Welcomed to the Continent For many years, North American’s only power option for BMW’s 7 series was indulgence. Powerful eight and 12 …

Inline-6 Power is Welcomed to the Continent

For many years, North American’s only power option for BMW’s 7 series was indulgence. Powerful eight and 12 cylinder engines were on the menu, and if you wanted to purchase a more economical car, well, try the 5 series. New for 2011, buyers on the West side of the Atlantic no longer need to look beyond the 7 series for highly efficient, luxurious transportation. Sharing all options and amenities minus two extra cylinders, BMW’s 740Li returns to tradition with the engine configuration BMW’s are most famous for: an electric smooth inline-6.

BMW has placed their N54 twin turbo inline-6 under the bonnet, tuned to produce 315 hp and 330 lbs-ft of torque in 740Li guise. While driving the 740Li around scenic secondary roads in Pennsylvania, the engine provided more than adequate thrust. Acceleration times are impressive, 0-60 arrives in 5.8 seconds – that’s sports car territory.

First Drive: 2011 BMW 740Li

“0-60 arrives in 5.8 seconds – that’s sports car territory.”

Fuel economy is also impressive for such a large, luxurious car: 17 mpg city driving, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg average. Engine technologies such as Direct Injection, turbocharging, and variable valve management account for this efficiency and power, blended into one harmonious package.

Heated steering wheel? Check. Air ventilated seats? Check. Heated seats? You must be kidding. Check. Your 740Li will not leave you feeling deprived of any luxuries, and you can sleep soundly knowing you have made a responsible automotive purchase if saving fuel and saving money are high on your list of priorities.

First Drive: 2011 BMW 740Li

“…at times it really felt as though we were in a much smaller car, the sheet metal wrapped tightly around us.”

And now to the driving experience, does the 740Li feel like a “base” model, like ground zero in automotive terms? After spending time behind the wheel at both a relaxed and quickened pace, I was amazed by the 740Li’s balance, handling and poise. While cruising along the roadway, everything felt comfortable and relaxed – as any 7 series would feel.

“The lighter, all aluminum inline-6 engine makes the car feel very light on it’s feet…”

Obviously, the torque tuned twin-turbo 3.0 Liter was more than capable of cruising along – it’s when we dropped the hammer that the 740Li really impressed. The 7 series tail is happy to slide out if provoked, all 330 lbs-ft of torque available at only 1,600 rpm! Stay in the throttle and the 740Li blitzes across the speedometer to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, and it really feels like it is pulling this hard. Strong sensations of acceleration are somewhat rare in large luxury sedans because most isolate you so much from the road. Not so in the BMW, at times it really felt as though we were in a much smaller car, the sheet metal wrapped tightly around us. The lighter, all aluminum inline-6 engine makes the car feel very light on it’s feet, quick to respond to your steering inputs. Without a doubt, the 740Li is a drivers car, it sacrifices nothing in driving enjoyment while providing the same comfort and feature content of a larger engined 7 series.

First Drive: 2011 BMW 740Li

“Without a doubt, the 740i is a drivers car…”

With so many choices across the 7 series lineup from the Alpina B7 down to the 740Li, many options lay on the tarmac. If frugality, comfort and fun are on your agenda, the 740Li could be your ticket.

[Photos Credit: Greg Jarem for BMWBLOG.com ]

  • Dan S

    Do you think the 740i is a better buy than the 750i? Was performance satisfactory when compared to the V8?

    Great shots also

    • Shawn

      Dan S,

      I suppose it depends on your priorities and driving style. I drove the 740Li almost back to back with the B7 and 760Li and I can tell you that all of them are fun, dynamic cars. The 740Li just had a light, honest feeling about it that I was really attracted to.

      I can see the value of isolating different cars according to their original purpose. If you are looking for a great sport/luxury car, than the 740i or Li is brilliant. If it was my money, I would buy a 740Li instead of a 760Li or B7, and purchase a purpose built sports car to park beside it.

      The 740Li was so involving and fun to drive, there is something magical about a BMW inline-6.

      I hope that answers your question!

      Thanks for your compliments on the photos, we regularly do our best to bring you world class photography. It is still a work in progress! :)

      • Dan S

        Thanks Shawn. While I love the 760, I can’t justify the extra money. And you’re right, the inline six is amazing

  • http://Trautmann&Company Andy

    I actually drove a 2011 740li with the M package. Boy was I impressed – the car is light and agile and moves around like an athlete. I currently drive the 750li but my new Bimmer will be the 740liM. I also have a 2005 M3 and have always loved the inline six – smooth and powerful straight line torque.

  • Erik

    Doesn’t the new 740 have the N55 single turbo six? The one I saw in the shop did. Actually I’m pretty sure they’re done with the N54 altogether. Every *35 model I’ve seen with with a 2011 VIN has been a single turbo. Erik

    • shawn

      Erik,

      Like several other newly released BMWs including the 335iS and Z4 sDrive 35iS, the 740Li uses BMW’s N54 twin turbo engine architecture. You will notice that it has been tuned differently from the other cars, in this case it produces 315hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.

      The N54 is an award winning engine and is very “current” in the market. Depending on the application, BMW is still using it to power their cars.

      Hope that’s helpful. :)

  • rob

    I will pick up my new 740i M package next week. Fir the price and performance you cant beat it. I ve been in the BMW family for over 30 years, this is the one.

    • Shawn

      Rob,

      Congrats on the purchase, here’s to many proud years of ownership!

    • kcsnyud

      Awesome, guys. Now the 7 series will definitly increase in sales…

      People are likin the 740 to the 750, so lets wait for tyhe 730…

  • http://www.pentagoncarsales.com Ray

    I drove our Demo in Heidelberg recently, it is an wesome car!

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