2011 BMW 740Li Review

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Debuting in 1977, the 7 series was higher in status and price compared to its 3 and 5 stablemates. It promised a better driving experience with more power and luxury. The first two generations (E23 and E32) did not take off as well as expected as it looked too similar to the 5 series. The 1994-2001 E38 generation fared slightly better due to being featured in several hit movies such as Tomorrow Never Dies with James Bond, and The Transporter. However, it still looked like an oversized 5 series. It wasn’t until 2002 that the 7 series’ popularity soared. The redesigned 7 series (E65) was the best selling 7 series of all time. At the time, Chris Bangle was BMW’s designer, and he was responsible for the controversial styling on the 3, 5, and of course, the 7. Controversy hit the 7 series due to its radical styling and complicated controls. But it finally looked different than other BMWs. Redesigned in 2009, this 7 series builds on its fundamental traits of the older 7, while dialing back on the styling.

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One thing for sure, it is unmistakeably a BMW. BMW’s design cues such as the kidney grille and Hofmeister kink remain. The front conveys an aggressive presence, and it is clean and uncluttered. One thing Bangle was criticized for was the ‘eyebrows’ on the headlights which are present in the design. The chrome wheels might be a bit too much, but it does add to its luxury factor. The front’s neatness extends to the rest of the body. A definitive character line and a questionable vent adorn the side profile. The main idea behind the controversy of the earlier 7 series was the “Bangle Butt”, in which the top of the trunk stuck out. This design trait has been quelled in the redesign, but it is still present. Overall, the design conveys elegance. The interior’s  design is clean, if a bit plain for the price. The gear lever looks a bit like a cheap phone, and does not fit in with the interior.

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The driving enjoyment that BMWs are known for is nonexistent in this car. In normal driving, it is easy to maneuver this large car thanks to the light steering. However, the steering feel comes off feeling artificial. When it comes to cornering, this car wallows and reacts with dramatic lean. This improves a little if you put it in Sport or Sport Plus mode, but the unnatural steering feel remains. It is a big car and you feel it. The handling would not appear to be such a tradeoff if it came with excellent ride quality. The suspension soaks up bumps decently, but hit a big bump or pothole, and the suspension clatters even in Comfort Mode. Rough surfaces are damped competently, but they still are felt in the cabin. Long story short, the ride quality is acceptable, but should be better in a car of this price range.

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Despite that the name of this car suggests a 4.0 liter engine (BMW and Mercedes had a tradition where the numbers in the model name denoted the engine size), a 3.0 liter twin turbocharged six cylinder engine powers the 7. In typical BMW fashion, this inline six cylinder engine delivers unparalleled smoothness and delivery. However, it has around 315 horsepower, which has to pull around 4450 lbs. As a result, power is wanting. This car is surprisingly swift at managing 0-45 mph, but beyond that, it could use some poke. By no means is this car slow. It just does not deliver the power you expect at this price, especially when rivals Mercedes S-Class and the Lexus LS had standard engines making around 400 horsepower. The 6-speed transmission is rapid in its operation. Its manual operation could be better. The computer is always overriding the manual operation. Fuel economy is decent for  a car of this size and weight with 20 mpg possible. bmw72

Refinement is a strong suit. Noise levels are all hushed. The engine is a bit too quiet, and I prefer to hear the engine note, but overall the quiet engine abides with this car’s mission as a luxury car.

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The L in the 740Li stands for extra length version. This is a big car, and it is reflected in the interior. There is more room in the back than in the front. It is easy to get comfortable. There are numerous ways to adjust your seats. The seats are exemplary in terms of comfort with just enough cushioning. Storage space is plentiful. One nifty feature is the sunshades for all three rear windows. I love that I can make them go up and down at the push of a button. For some reason, I was captivated by this feature. The trunk is enormous. Fit and finish is excellent. The IDRIVE navigation system is surprisingly intuitive to use. It is controlled by a controller, but navigating through the menus was effortless. The transmission lever is problematic. It forces you to shift up for reverse, which is counterintuitive.

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As a flagship, this BMW does not disappoint. Most of the BMWs’ virtues are embodied in what is BMW’s most elevated model in terms of price and status. The ordinary handling is not a major turn off because full size luxury cars are not expected to handle with the agility of a smaller car. It is supposed to be as comfortable as it can be. It has all the technology goodies and the styling but it is lacking in some areas. The engine power and the ride quality stops it from beating rivals such as the Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8.  I always favored the 2003-2008 7 series because of its unique styling, and it actually drove like a BMW (good steering and chassis). But this 7 Series is a different character, as the styling and driving performance is similar to the latest 3 and 5 series. Being unique never hurt anyone.

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3 thoughts on “2011 BMW 740Li Review

  1. Hello there! I could have sworn Ive visited this blog before but after going through a few of the posts I realized its new to me. Nonetheless, Im definitely delighted I found it and Ill be bookmarking it and checking back often!

  2. Great site! Will check more often!

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