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