Unfortunately for those of us that live in the U.S., the BMW diesel choices are limited. Currently, BMW of North America offers two diesel flavors: the BMW 335d and X5d, powered by the same turbocharged 3.0 liter diesel engine.
Therefore, from time to time, we have to rely on our European friends to test drive some of the diesel “goodies” we are missing out on.
Today, the folks over at AutoEvolution bring us an exciting review of an equally exciting car: 2010 BMW 740d. The car was introduced last fall and features a newly developed six-cylinder power unit, an all-aluminum engine boasting BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and common-rail direct fuel injection with piezo-injectors operating at an injection pressure of up to 2,000 bar.
The new power unit delivers maximum output of 225 kW/306 hp and peak torque of 600 Newton-meters/442 lb-ft maintained consistently between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. This gives the BMW 740d a level of performance so far only provided by far larger power units, now combined with the superior economy typical of a BMW straight-six diesel.
The BMW 740d accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and is limited electronically in its top speed to 250 km/h or 155 mph.
Since the general statistics are already available to everyone, let’s have a look at the driving experience.
If you’re lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a 7 Series but you don’t have the chance to leave the city and put the 3-liter engine up to test, it’s just a waste of time. Leaving on a journey with such a car is in no way boring and all the integrated technologies are making the whole trip a nice and pleasant activity.
First of all, there’s the engine. The 3.0-liter powerplant, mated to BMW’s Steptronic eight-speed transmission, develops 306 horsepower and a maximum torque of 600 Nm between 1500 and 2500 rpm. This basically means that you’ll have the necessary power whenever you need it, regardless if you’re the kind of sporty or calm driver. And speaking of these types of drivers, the F01 can be easily adjusted to better suit your needs using the four available modes, Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport+.
In just a few words, each of these four levels come with a different setup for several parts, including the response of the Dynamic Stability Control function (perfectly noticeable in Sport+) plus the steering assistance and the automatic transmission settings. In most cases, the Normal mode is just what you need, a perfectly balanced vehicle that comes packed with enough power, superior comfort and optimized fuel consumption.
But even so, driving in a non-urban environment seems a bit more appropriate for the Comfort configuration. In this mode, the yacht feeling brought to you by the inside wood parts comes back, this time because of the car’s settings. The car is indeed a bit more comfortable and we only noticed just a few changes to the vehicle’s behavior while cruising on the highway.
Last but not least, there’s the Sport+ level that releases the 306 horsepower hidden underneath the hood. Switching to Sport+ partially turns off the electronic stability control which practically means that we finally got a chance to test our Need for Speed skills. The driver’s heavy right foot, a slight curve, light rain conditions and the Sport+ mode activated made drifting a piece of cake and it only took a second until we chased the rear side of the car just like a dog chases its tail.
Leaving our adventures aside, the new Bimmer was once again impressive when it came to fuel consumption. In highway conditions, at 130 km/h (80.7 mph) with cruise control turned on, the on-board computer indicated 7.1 l/100km (33.1 mpg), slightly different from BMW’s estimated 5.7 l/100km (41.2 mpg).