2011 BMW 740i

Like all 7-series sedans, this car coddles both driver and passengers with all manner of luxury amenities. That this car is powered by a turbocharged in-line six rather than a V-8 is not an issue, because the 740i never feels as though it is lacking for power (at least the way I used it, as around-town transport and a freeway commuter). If there’s such as thing as a bargain when you’re talking about ultra-luxury sedans, the six-cylinder 740i could be it.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor

This is the best argument for the badge-delete option that’s so popular in Europe. From outside the car, you’d never know this BMW 740i has such a small displacement and such impressive fuel economy. It looks just like every other 7 on the road and drives the same, too.

Some potential buyers may be turned off by the meager 315 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, but I found the car to be perfectly adequate for shuttling four people around town and down the highway. If you’re driving other people around most of the time, I’d go so far as to say the six-cylinder 7-series is the best way to go because it’s easier to be smooth off the line; the V-8 and V-12 cars tend to surge forward with even a very light application of throttle. The six will give you enough thrust to merge with any traffic, but its throttle is easier to modulate.

The icing on the six-cylinder cake is you save enough money by opting for the small engine that you can afford to pile on the luxury options and still have a car that stickers for less than a base 8- or 12-cylinder 7-series. And if you remove the badges nobody will ever know the difference, either.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer

In my day, I’ve driven plenty of 7-series cars with the numerals “740” on their trunk lids, and it’s ingrained in my brain that those numbers indicated that there was a V-8 under the hood (even though it was a 4.4-liter V-8, not a 4.0-liter V-8, such are BMW’s nonsensical naming protocols. But I digress). So it took me a minute after I pitched our 2011 BMW 740i sedan onto my favorite freeway on-ramp and then launched myself into the fast lane at ticket-worthy speeds before I remembered, Wow! This is a SIX-cylinder 7-series! Not a V-8! And then I remembered something one of my colleagues wrote in the October 2010 issue of Automobile Magazine, in our New Cars 2011 section, in regards to the proliferating number of 7-series models: “…if you live in a region where you need four-wheel drive, get a 750i xDrive. Otherwise, the six-cylinder is all the 7 you’ll really need.” At the time we published that, I had not yet driven the six-cylinder 740i, and my colleague’s statement gave me pause. “Really?” I remember asking myself. But I trusted his judgment. And now that I’ve driven the 740i, I heartily concur. The twin-turbo inline six is available either in the short-wheelbase 740i or the long-wheelbase 740iL, and both are rated at a decent 17/25 city/highway for EPA fuel mileage.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

2011 BMW 740i

Base price (with destination): $71,025
Price as tested: $81,625

Standard Equipment:
3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine
6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Dynamic stability control
Dynamic traction control
Xenon adaptive headlights
4-zone automatic climate control
Power 2-way moonroof
Park distance control
iDrive system
Navigation system with voice command
Tire pressure monitoring system
Cruise control
HD radio
Adaptive brake lights
Options on this vehicle:
M Sport package — $6500
Shadowline exterior trim
19-inch wheels with performance tires
M steering wheel
Aerodynamic kit
Anthracite headliner
Integral active steering — $1750
Convenience package — $1700
Power trunk lid
Comfort access keyless entry
Soft-close automatic doors
Ceramic controls — $650
Key options not on vehicle:
em>Luxury seating package — $3200
Rear-seat entertainment package — $2800
Night vision with pedestrian detection — $2600
Active cruise control — $2400
Premium sound package — $1800
Driver assistance package — $1350
Head up display — $1300
Cold weather package — $1200
Rearview camera — $400

Fuel economy:
17 / 25 / 20 mpg

Size: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6
Horsepower: 315 hp @ 5800-6000 rpm
Torque: 330 lb-ft @ 1600-4500 rpm


6-speed automatic

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Buying Guide
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2011 BMW 7-Series

2011 BMW 7-Series

MSRP $122,000 Alpina B7 Sedan

0-60 MPH:

5.5 SECS


17 City / 25 Hwy

Horse Power:

315 @ 5800