2011 BMW 7-Series

740i RWD 4-Dr Sedan I6

2011 bmw 7-series Reviews and News

BMW 740i And BMW K1600GT Front View Driving
With the worst of the financial meltdown supposedly past us and buyers cautiously examining luxury cars again, we're looking for the future of living large. To recapture the spirit, we're embarking on a driving adventure from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with twelve cylinders and two turbochargers of BMW power. But instead of doubling down on the V-12 760Li, we split our hand and moved six of our allotted twelve cylinders to a two-wheeled BMW.
BMW 740i And BMW K1600GT Front View
Both the 740i and the K1600GT are gambles for the Bavarians; one a flagship sedan toned down for the modesty-and-fuel-economy age and the other a massive motorcycle reminiscent of the days when your house was a cash source and the credit flowed like Barolo at the Bellagio. They are also reminders of BMW's admirable commitment to the in-line six. The engine's long proportions pose problems for crashworthiness and packaging, but clearly BMW thinks the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. We couldn't agree more: straight sixes are nearly perfectly balanced, something that can't be said about V-6 engines. In fact, the smoothness of an in-line six is rivaled only by that of a V-12, and so it's fitting that BMW's flagship sedan, which is available with a twelve-cylinder, can also be powered by a straight six. The 740i takes the entry-level spot in the 7-series lineup, but a straight six in a motorcycle is clearly at the opposite end of the spectrum. Quite the pair we have here.
As we make our way out of Los Angeles, first on I-15 and then on I-40, billboards along the interstate offer one last come-on to credit burnouts: "Bankruptcy, $799 payment plans available." We eventually slide off the highway an hour outside Barstow, landing in the Mojave National Preserve. It's not an especially beautiful landscape, but the Mojave inspires awe simply by the sheer scale and desolation of the place.
Straight and fast desert roads don't require a lot of attention in this big sedan, which gives senior web editor Phil Floraday and me plenty of time to contemplate the 7's suspension. Just when we are starting to think that the tuning is too soft -- whether in comfort, normal, or sport mode -- a serious-looking chain of undulations appears in the windshield. We dive into the first one before I realize that I should have scrubbed off more speed. Spine, seat, springs, dampers, and tires all compress as the two-ton sedan reckons with gravity at the bottom of the dip, but the 740i brilliantly shrugs it all off.
Creative director Kelly Murphy is right behind us on the K1600GT. He shifts some of his weight to the foot pegs and relishes the bumps, telling us later: "It was the first time since we left LAX that I actually experienced the freedom of the bike. I loved it!"
At just 22 inches long, the K1600GT's 1.6-liter mill, BMW Motorrad claims, is as compact as a four-cylinder. Its benefits for a large touring bike are clear within a few miles. Big torque -- as much as 129 lb-ft peaking at 5250 rpm -- moves this big bike with ease at any speed, in any gear. At
70 mph, a quick pass in sixth is no sweat and the engine, spinning at just 3250 rpm, hums with the polish and calm of the six in the 7-series. The long (for a motorcycle) 200-mile fuel range doesn't seem so daunting when there's no irritating drone or fatiguing vibrations.
The 740i's larger and more powerful six has similar virtues. Strengthened with two turbochargers, the N54 engine makes the torque even more accessible with 330 lb-ft from 1600 to 4500 rpm. Off-the-line thrust is assertive if not aggressive, and passing power is prodigious. Actually, it's going slow that gives the 740i the most trouble, as the electronic throttle can be frenetic, sometimes bordering on insubordinate. Fortunately, that's not true of the K1600GT, with a three-setting electronic throttle (rain, road, dynamic) that always responds linearly and immediately to small twists of the right grip.
We pass through towns that saw the good times come and go long before the housing market tanked. Kelso, a defunct railroad stop and washed-up mining town, nearly disappeared in the 1980s before a preservation effort was mounted and the crumbling depot, now the welcome center for the Mojave National Preserve, was rebuilt. Cima, a half hour up the road, is a true ghost town, although a ramshackle store claims to be open three days a week. Not today. The only sign of life is a strangely new-looking pay phone with a dial tone. Our photo assistant kicks a tumbleweed into motion to complete the tableau before we move on.
The straight, flat roads through nowhere continue, and the ambient temperature keeps climbing. Our machines are in their element, effortlessly disposing of the miles with relatively miserly fuel consumption. The 740i is rated at 17/25 mpg city/highway, and the K1600GT is showing an indicated average of 38 mpg. The temperature will eventually hit 117 degrees, at which point riding a motorcycle is akin to standing in front of the world's largest hair dryer, and yet all three of us are fighting for seat time on the bike. In many ways, it is as comfortable as the cocoon of the 7-series. When your right wrist flags and the blast furnace sears, just flick on the cruise control, motor the adjustable windscreen to its upright position, and crank up the volume on the satellite radio. The sound quality from the four speakers mounted in the instrument pod diminishes greatly above 70 mph, though, so we're kicking ourselves for not bringing a Bluetooth-equipped helmet.
BMW K1600GT Gas Station
These roads also leave plenty of time for mastering the K1600GT's iDrive-like multifunction controller, which naturally comes with its own steep learning curve. A plastic ring rotates around the handlebar, just inside the left handgrip. Spin it to scroll up or down and tap the ring sideways to make a selection from one of the many screens managing the Bluetooth, radio, iPod, and suspension. Just as iDrive did ten years ago, the multicontroller dumbfounds us for the first twenty minutes, requires an unreasonable amount of attention for the next two days, and then becomes totally intuitive.
The final leg into Vegas leads us up US-95 where the endless sight lines and 75-mph speed limit beg for big speed, but we chicken out at 100 mph. That's plenty fast compared with the slow crawl we're soon doing along the Vegas Strip. The K1600GT bristles at moving so slowly in the heat. It is nowhere near as agitated, though, as the homeless guy who catches sight of Murphy's helmet -- which has a nude showgirl painted on it -- while we're stopped at a red light. The guy's back hunches over, his neck juts forward, and he squats as if he's fending off a bloodthirsty pit bull. His arms pump like he's driving a stake into the ground with fists clenched and thumbs thrust downward as he condemns Murphy to a fiery afterlife for promoting sex. Being a principled crazy in Vegas must be exhausting work.
Speaking of crazy, get a load of Lake Las Vegas, where we head to escape the Strip. Seventeen miles from Las Vegas Boulevard, some eternal optimist dreamed up a man-made lake surrounded by 9000 homes and luxury resorts. Or, at least, that's what Lake Las Vegas was supposed to be when it was painstakingly planned in the 1990s as a second-home community to rival Palm Springs. It would be glamor to the Strip's glitz, but the gimmicks were no more sophisticated than Elvis impersonators, miniaturized landmarks, and the possibility of winning big. Lake Las Vegas delivered celebrity (Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses), a manufactured sense of place (architecture mimicking Italy's Lake Como), and the life you probably couldn't afford (when credit disappeared, so did the buyers). In the past three years, the 3600-acre community has been dogged with corporate bankruptcies, business closings, and residential foreclosures. The complex is pocked with spreads of dry, gravelly nothingness next to perfectly manicured green grass. It's difficult to imagine a triumphant comeback for Lake Las Vegas, even as we dream of a greener economy. Just keeping things afloat is taxing. The annual water bill to keep the opaque green lake topped up under an unrelenting sun? Two million dollars.
We pay our share with a night at the discount-priced former Ritz-Carlton hotel, and the next morning we're back in the saddle. Northshore Road, which curves and dips through the orange rock formations around Lake Mead, is our first real driver's road since we left LAX. Both the 740i and the K1600GT turn in effortlessly and transition from left to right with predictable progression. At 703 pounds, the K is a porker of a motorcycle, but it defies its mass in much the same way that the 4344-pound sedan does. Like the 7, the K1600 has an electronically adjustable suspension, but we couldn't discern the nuances among the three settings. No matter. In any setting, the ride is planted and the handling sharp. This feeling of control leads to confidence, which leads to a singular mind-set of bike and road, goading us to reach for all 158 hp at 7750 rpm.
As opulent and indulgent as the 740i and the K1600GT are, they're not the end-all of luxury touring machines. Should you find yourself in need of more power or refinement, BMW is eager to help. For a mere $67,380, you can double the cylinder count, stretch the wheelbase by 5.5 inches, and finish the interior in BMW Individual style with a 760Li. You can't improve the K1600GT's power situation at the BMW dealership, but you can add a few thousand to the price by stepping up to the GTL, which trades in some of the sport-tourer credibility with a top-mounted luggage case, a rear-seat backrest, chrome trim, and comfort footrests.
BMW 740i And BMW K1600GT Rear View In N Out
Halving the cylinder count doesn't make the 740i half the car. It is every bit a 7-series. Even though our tester is modestly equipped with only $5600 in options, there is not a single notable feature that's absent. The 740i delivers the essentials -- navigation, heated seats, and a rearview camera -- as well as rich touches like the ceramic iDrive controller and the matte wood trim. If you're looking for restraint without compromise in this new age of redefined priorities, this is your car. There is no need to justify eight and twelve cylinders when six are this good. That's the beauty of a straight six. Stepping into a
V-6 hybrid Mercedes-Benz S-class is stepping down. Stepping into a straight-six BMW 7-series isn't a step down at all -- it's a step into a special club where a company stands by the merits of an engine layout that's continually being threatened with extinction.
Whereas the GT might not be the GTL, it is still a $20,000, six-cylinder motorcycle, and it is still a luxury. Straight-six engines are also a luxury. They're a luxury because you can get them only in luxury cars and on luxury motorcycles, but the sound, the feel, and the experience they provide make them worth it. Like Las Vegas itself, a motorcycle with a straight-six engine is a symbol of no-apologies, conspicuous consumption. It is a reminder of just how good materialism can feel. And even if we're not quite ready to return to that lifestyle, this big BMW bike is something worth having, because when you find a great road, the K1600GT's price and image don't matter. Now go find someone to loan you the money.
BMW 740i
Base price $71,875
Price as tested $77,475
24-valve DOHC twin-turbo I-6
Displacement 3.0 liters (182 cu in)
Power 315 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque 330 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Hydraulically assisted
Suspension, front Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes Vented discs, ABS
Tires Goodyear Eagle LS2
Tire size 245/50VR-18
L x W x H
199.8 x 74.9 x 58.3 in
Wheelbase 120.9 in
Weight 4344 lb
Base price $21,395
Price as tested $25,035
24-valve DOHC I-6
Displacement 1.6 liters (101 cu in)
Power 158 hp @ 7750 rpm
Torque 129 lb-ft @ 5250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Rear-wheel
Suspension, front Control arms, coil spring
Suspension, rear Parallelogram swing arm, coil spring
Brakes, F/R Dual vented discs/vented disc, ABS
Tires Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact
Tire size f, r 120/70WR-17, 190/55WR-17
L x W x H
91.5 x 39.4 x 56.7 in
Wheelbase 63.7 in
Weight 703 lb
1005 02+2011 BMW 740Li+front Three Quarter View
The addition of a six-cylinder engine to BMW's flagship 7-series lineup might let the recession's sour taste seep into the mouths of some Bimmer fans, but it shouldn't. After all, the 7-series was a six-cylinder-only model from its U.S. introduction for 1978 until 1988, when the twelve-cylinder 750iL debuted. BMW hasn't built a six-cylinder 7-series for the U.S. since the 1992 model year (the 735i), but the twin-turbo straight six in the 2011 740i and long-wheelbase 740Li is a big-league engine that's clearly worthy of BMW's top sedan, what with its 315 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Indeed, the powerplant produces nineteen more horsepower and only two fewer pound-feet than the aforementioned V-12 7-series of twenty years ago.
1005 02+2011 BMW 740Li+front Three Quarter View
Most importantly, the new 740 cars are still pretty darn quick. In fact, according to BMW, the twin-turbo six-cylinder models give up only 0.7 second in the sprint to 60 mph compared with twin-turbo V-8 750s of similar wheelbases (5.8 seconds for the 740i versus 5.1 seconds for the 750i). During a test-drive of a 740Li in rural New Jersey, we were particularly impressed by the fact that the six-cylinder car, which is about 220 pounds lighter, exhibits less turbo lag off the line and therefore smoother, more linear acceleration---V-8 variants, which have an 85-hp advantage, hesitate off the line before exploding forward. Like the V-8 version, the 740Li uses a six-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth upshifts and very responsive downshifts as well as a Sport mode. The 740 retains the 7-series' highly impressive sporty-big-car handling characteristics and also comes with so-called Driving Dynamics Control, a rocker switch next to the shifter that allows the driver to choose among four different driving programs---Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus---that tweak the calibrations of the dampers, transmission, gas pedal, steering, and traction control.
The new six-cylinder 7-series is powered by an uprated version of BMW's "N54" engine, a direct-injected, twin-turbo straight six that debuted with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft in the 2007 335i coupe. (Incidentally, that engine has already been partially replaced by the "N55" six-cylinder, which provides similar power with a single turbocharger and is found in 2011 editions of the 135i, the 335i, and the 535i, as well as "35i" versions of the Z4 and the X6. In addition to the 740i, the N54 engine also sticks around for the hot new 335is and Z4 sDrive35is models.)
BMW credits its U.S. dealers for inciting the return of six-cylinder power to American-market 7s; in late 2008, many BMW dealers were invited to Europe to drive the fifth-generation 7-series, and they apparently came away very impressed with the Euro-market 740 vehicles. Those dealers finally got the 740i and 740Li in the States in April, when the cars went on sale for a base price of $71,900 and $76,300, respectively, and comprised about ten percent of overall 7-series sales. BMW estimates that the six-cylinder's volume will eventually settle between ten and fifteen percent. (By the way, about 70 percent of 7s sold in the U.S. are currently long-wheelbase models, which carry a $3900 premium over standard-length V-8 cars and a $4400 surcharge for 740s. The twelve-cylinder 760Li's small slice is only about two percent of the entire 7-series pie.)
Six-cylinder 7-series models start at about $12,500 cheaper than their V-8-powered brethren, but the junior edition retains all of the 750's hi-tech options, including a head-up display, nightvision, twenty-inch wheels, and even BMW's superfancy custom "Individual" treatment, although all-wheel drive is one significant feature that will not be available on the 740. Standard features are very lush, though; the 740's standard cabin differs from the 750's only in its lack of soft-close doors, automatic trunk, keyless start and entry, Nappa leather seats, and "multicontour" (read: nearly infinitely adjustable) front seats. From the outside, only the ten-spoke eighteen-inch wheels and the "740i" or "740Li" badge reveal the car's cylinder subtraction.
1005 09+2011 BMW 740Li+interior
Both regular and long-wheelbase 740s are rated at 17/25 mpg city/highway and 20 mpg in the combined EPA cycle. The last number is 3 mpg higher than the scores of both the 750i and the 750Li. In other words, buyers of the 740i will save well over $10,000 on their initial purchase and several hundred bucks in annual fuel costs. Not too shabby.
It's worth noting that there's a hybrid edition of the 7-series, the ActiveHybrid7, which offers similar fuel mileage to the 740. The hybrid, though, can allegedly accelerate to 60 mph in a scant 4.7 seconds, 1.2 seconds quicker than the 740 and a figure that BMW claims makes it the swiftest hybrid in the world. Predictably, the six-figure ActiveHybrid7 starts at $31,275 more than the 740i---or about the cost of a brand-spanking-new BMW 128i coupe with a few options. Mercedes-Benz fans might celebrate the S400 Hybrid's superior 19/25 mpg EPA rating, but that luxoboat carries a $16,925 premium over the 740i and takes more than a second longer to reach 60 mph.
It's a bit of a shame that the majority of 7-series owners demand the best of the best (short of the $140,000 760Li, of course) and will miss out on the impressive new base six-cylinder 740i, which is perhaps the smartest buy in BMW's current lineup.
2011 BMW 7 Series
2011 BMW 7 Series
The 7 Series from BMW is the top of the line family of cars from BMW. You will find the biggest and best models in the 7 Series family. There are many different variations in this elite line up from BMW. There are 10 different models in this single class. All the 7 Series cars offer the ultimate in room, comfort and extra storage space. The 7 Series from BMW brings all of the class and luxury of the other BMW models to a larger body style and roomier interior. These cars also have some of the largest engines offered in any BMW. You can many different engines in these models, everything from a 4.4 liter turbocharged V-8 to a huge turbocharged V-12 come as options in the 7 Series BMW models. These vehicles are larger than both the 3 Series and the 5 Series models, but when you are driving you would never know.

The Xdrive all wheel drive system is a new option now being offered in all 7 Series models. There is also a choice of either a 6-speed or 8-speed automatic transition in almost all 7 Series cars.
2012 Bmw 7 Series Front Three Quater Spy Shot
BMW’s model updates are like clockwork: an all-new model arrives every seven years, with a mid-cycle facelift appearing every four. Having been launched in 2008, it is now time for the 7 Series to receive a refresh, and our friends at Motor Trend have caught a pre-production vehicle out testing.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Front Left View
The BMW 7-series is a fine automobile. So good, in fact, that the Alpina modifications seem to subtract more than they add. The Alpina B7 is identifiable by its soft and grippy leather steering wheel, the signature twenty-one-spoke Alpina wheels, exterior cosmetic enhancements, and a smattering of interior trim bits. But the B7 goes far beyond aesthetics. The chassis benefits from shorter and stiffer springs, larger brakes, wider rear tires, and revised tuning of the active dampers. Under the hood, BMW's 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 is built with a new block, heads, turbochargers, and intercoolers, bumping output from 400 hp and 450 lb-ft to 500 hp and 516 lb-ft.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Left Side View
The B7 Alpina is clearly for a tiny slice of the executive-sedan market that wants exclusivity and an extra measure of performance. The price is largely immaterial, I suspect, for this audience, who just don't want to drive the same 7-series as their neighbor on the other side of the cul-de-sac. It's a beautifully engineered car that oozes Germanic authority; the entire time I was driving it, I was fantasizing about how fabulous it would be to have one for the run from, say, Berlin to Frankfurt on the autobahn. I imagine myself barreling along in the left lane, three passengers luxuriating in the huge, comfortable cabin, barely cognizant that I'm running at 150+ mph. Lesser cars quickly scoot out of my way as that broad BMW snout and modified lower front apron loom in their rearview mirrors. If they dare to dawdle, the Alpina's beefy brakes authoritatively scrub off speed, and once the lane opens up again, a simple press of my right foot brings the full force of the 500-hp, twin-turbo V-8 into play. Ah, Germany!
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Left View
We happened to have the B7 in the office at the same time as a Jaguar XJL. Though the cars are not direct competitors, the differences between them are enlightening. The Jag costs some $50,000 less and puts out 115 fewer horsepower, and yet feels much more responsive, especially at low speeds. That tells me weight matters--the BMW carries about 500 extra pounds. Power delivery matters, too. As Eric notes, the B7 suffers considerable turbo lag, which is further exacerbated by the fact that the Bimmer launches in second gear unless you leave the shifter in sport mode. I have to wonder how many buyers of a six-figure, hot-rodded BMW sedan are really interested in trading drivability to save a few drops of fuel with a second-gear start. In any event, many of the 4.4-liter V-8's 500 horses don't leave the stable during urban driving. I wouldn't blame this entirely on the Alpina folks, either, as nonlinear throttle response was one of our few complaints about our Four Seasons 750Li.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Rear Left View
Americans aren't used to the Alpina brand because this is only the third Alpina that has been imported to the U.S. The first was based on BMW's Z8 Roadster and the second was based on the 2007-2008 BMW 7-series. Neither of these cars was cheap and I've never seen one that wasn't a press car. To BMW enthusiasts the Alpina brand will always be special and exotic.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Front Left View
If I didn't know that this wasn't a run-of-the-mill (if there is such a thing) BMW 7-series, I'd have realized it as soon as I opened the door of the Alpina B7 and saw the hard-to-miss back-lit blue Alpina B7 badging on the lower doorsill. Once inside, the cockpit of the Alpina looks much like other 7-series sedans, save for the steering wheel, which is adorned with a special badge in the center and is stitched with somewhat incongruous bright green thread.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Emblem
Many European tuners appear to think the secret to creating the perfect high-performance luxury sedan is to pack it full of power, wrap it in garish bodywork (bonus points for surfaces crafted with carbon fiber), and embellish it with an equally unattractive interior. Alpina's B7, thankfully, is a far different creature.
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Steering Wheel
2011 BMW Alpina B7 xDrive
2011 Bmw Alpina B7 Speedometer
Mansory BMW 7 Series Front Three Quarters
When Mansory comes a-knockin' at our e-mail inbox, we just have to look. And the latest effort this go-around is for the current-generation BMW 7 Series.
Bmw 750 Front
Auto shows are a great place to get up close and personal with the cars of tomorrow, but it seems a few individuals wanted an even closer experience with a 2011 BMW 7 Series brought in for the show. Yesterday in downtown Detroit, thieves apparently made off with a 7 Series that was awaiting transport from Cobo Hall back to the automaker’s U.S. headquarters.

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2011 BMW 7-Series Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.0L I6Engine
Fuel economy City:
17 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
25 MPG
315 hp @ 5800rpm
330 ft lb of torque @ 1600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Unlimited miles / 48 months
Recall Date
Potential Units Affected

NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash

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