2012 BMW 7 Series 740i
(3.0L 6-cyl. Twin-turbo 6-speed Automatic)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 12/28/2010 (2011 740i)
Despite having to move more than 4,300 lb. of luxury sedan by way of only a six-cylinder engine, the 740i is quick, hitting 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The N54 twin-turbo revs hard and the 6-speed automatic delivers supple shifts.
The 740i is chock full of electronic aids, such as active electric steering, active antiroll bars and adjustable shocks. Grip is exceptional, but all those electronics rob the enthusiast of feedback, especially so the gooey steering.
BMW's Electronic Damping Control gives the driver a choice of three suspension settings. The softest mode is thoroughly plush, and even the sportiest setting isn't jaw-breaking. In fact, firmer shock settings would benefit handling.
Road and wind noise are nearly nonexistent; sound-deadening materials are excellent. The twin-turbo inline-6 is smooth, but makes a fair amount of racket during full-throttle acceleration.
Driving position gives a good view over the hood, seat is adjustable heightwise. Some controls aren't super intuitive, but tactile feel is superb. The electronic shift lever feels perfectly designed for the palm of your hand.
The 740i has good outward vision, but loses points because it doesn't come standard with a rearview camera (despite its $81,625 as-tested price). Cornering headlights give an abundance of illumination in both high- and low-beam settings.
Seat Access & Space
Wide front seats have minimal bolstering for easy access. Long rear doors make entry/exit a breeze, but rear seats do not recline. BMW's optional Comfort Access keyless entry automatically unlocks the doors when you touch the door handle.
Cargo & Storage
Considering how big this car is, BMW didn't make good use of the space. The trunk is deep but quite narrow, and the rear seats don't fold down. Further, the center armrest bin is tiny and the door pockets are below average in size.
Everything, from the leather on the seats, to the console trim, to the the controls, to the exterior paint are first-rate. You definitely feel like you're in an expensive, well-built machine when you drive the 740i. It exudes class.