It's hard to find a more beautiful luxury car than a 7 Series BMW. While the Munich based firm is famous for it's "Ultimate Driving Machine" fun behind the wheel performance reputation, you might think when eyeing the 2014 740 Ld's svelte flanks that some of that excitement might be lost when they build a car for the, ahem, more mature buyer. Then, throw in diesel power and you would be forgiven for thinking it would drive like your father's Oldsmobile. Happily, you would be dead wrong. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
First, the interior - If acres of soft leather, forests or highly polished wood and sumptuous seating spells luxury for you, then this could be your BMW. The interior is as beautifully appointed as anything from Italy (think Maserati), The UK (think Bentley and Rolls-Royce) and even Germany (Think Mercedes and Audi) - exciting but not garfish. The seats are stunning as well as supportive. They hold you in without being restrictive - important if you want to drive briskly on your favorite two lane blacktop. They are comfortable even if you shop from the XL end of the rack at Armani. Our test vehicle had BMW Individual appointments which added classic wood trim and some additional plush goodies. If you are unfamiliar with this program, let's just say that the only limitation is your imagination and your bank account.
Under the Hood - The 6 cylinder twin turbo diesel may seem to be out of place in a nearly $90,000 luxury car, but it really works. First, it's quiet. Forget the start up and idle clatter you have heard from oil-burners of old. The 740 Ld's power plant is as refined as a British royal. More important to the performance minded luxury car buyer, the engine's 255 horsepower and 413 lb/ft of torque (not a typo) moves the 4,700 pound BMW along briskly. Mated to a sweet 8 speed (also not a typo) transmission, the engine always seems to be spinning it its power band's sweet spot. BMW is so assured of the 740 Ld's luxury credentials that their Press Exec told me to be sure to take a good long run on the lumpy highways around southern NY state. "It's quiet and fast..." he said with a wink. Yes, my friends, he was correct.
Behind the Wheel - Good looks and luxurious interiors do not a BMW make. The proof of the pudding is in the drive and drive we did. Yes, we sped along on potholed and rutted highways and came away awed by both the wind-noise-free quiet and isolation from road noise. Simply amazing. However, the feel through the fat wood and leather steering wheel was still un-filtered BMW. See an opening in tight traffic and the 740 Ld slots you in - no drama, no sweat. Approach your favorite tight exit ramp at a "let's have some fun"speed and the 740 Ld makes a mockery of that silly yellow sign warning that lesser steeds should drive at 25 MPH. No, it's not an M4 but it does respond like a BMW and that's a good thing. Oh yes, our tester came with BMW's X-Drive - all wheel drive technology that adds wet and snow weather sure footedness.
Opinion - Front seat room is the epitome of luxury driving. Rear seat room is "cross your legs" deep with plenty of head room. Plus, anyone in the back will be able to control his or her entertainment with behind-the-back-seat video and the temperature of the air with individual climate controls. Luxury with a capital "L".
For the performance minded owner - the driving experience is pure, undiluted BMW - the passenger experience is pure undiluted luxury. Simply put, the best of both worlds. Throw in over 30 MPG fuel economy (also not a typo) and this just could be the best car you have ever owned.
I suggest that you test drive a 740 Ld, then forget the kids' inheritance. You deserve this car!