We’re accustomed to seeing eight- and twelve-cylinder engines nestled beneath the hood of a BMW 7-series, but it’s been a long time -- nearly a decade, in fact -- since we’ve seen BMW’s flagship powered by a six-cylinder.
For 2011, however, such a model returns. Both the new 740i and long-wheelbase 740Li make use of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6, found in the likes of the 335i. Power is boosted slightly to 315 hp at 5800 rpm, and 330 lb ft of torque from 1600 through 4500 rpm. As no X-drive model is in the cards, power is routed to the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced six-speed automatic transmission.
Apart from the powertrain, there’s hardly a difference between the 740i and its V-8 and V-12 siblings. All options available on the 750 and 760 (including the M Sport package and upgraded rear seats) are available on the 740i and 740Li.
BMW has yet to announce pricing for either the 740i or 740Li, but we’d expect a short-wheelbase car to sticker just underneath the 750i’s base price of $82,280. Look for both the 2011 740i and 740Li to arrive in U.S. dealers in the spring of 2010.