It was lucky that the BMW 740 Ld M Sport comes with the xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Neil Lyndon and family get comfy in the BMW 740Ld xDrive M Sport Saloon
On the day it was delivered to our house in Scotland, the heaviest snows for seven winters were falling. Without four-wheel drive, a car 5.238m long, weighing 1900kg and standing on 20” wheels and ultra low-profile tyres that are a foot wide wasn’t going to turn any one of the five spokes on its breathtakingly expensive wheels. Add to those figures the facts that this car puts out 320 bhp and a torrent of torque that runs to 680 Nm through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and you might begin to get the picture that a battery of driving aids would be required to get this monster moving in snow.
The supply of driving aids, however, is precisely the feature in which the 7 Series excels above all other cars presently on sale. Having failed for generations to beat the Mercedes S-Class in the luxobarge category, BMW threw all their resources, all their engineering wizardry and every gizmo they could conceive at the new 7 Series and then they went out and got a hi-tech kitchen sink and threw that, too.
A week’s loan is absurdly too short a time in which to learn all the complexities of a car whose remote key fob alone carries more computing power than NASA had at their disposal to send man to the moon.After taking my daughter and her friend to school every morning in the lounge luxury seating at the back of this 740, they finally- this very morning – worked out not only how to heat and recline the seats and connect to the internet through the wifi hotspot but how to stream You Tube from their phones onto the screens behind the front seats. When I told them this was the last time they would travel in such majesty, they nearly wept.
However, those features are not new to readers of Drive.co.uk. This time last year, we drove the 730 Ld for the first time and reported that it was “among the higher creations of our civilisation”.
The difference between that car and the 740 Ld is not just the change in that one digit but the addition of a discreet red, blue and white badge on the flanks just ahead of the front doors. The signify that this car belongs to BMW’s M Sport category and they tell us that the best car in the world just went from sublime to absolutely bleeding ineffable.
It’s the same in-line, three-litre engine but power is increased by 59 bhp and torque is raised by 44 Nm. Those differences mean that this 7 Series accelerates as instantaneously and seamlessly as an electric boat. Put the hammer down and it simply rockets. For a luxury car this size to be able to travel from 0-60 mph in roughly five seconds is gob-smackingly exhilarating, and that power is fully on tap at any speed all the way through to the 155 mph at which it is limited.
The vague steering we criticised on the earlier car is still to be felt, but the addition of XDrive does a power of good to this 7 Series’ roadholding and traction. Its nimble performance in corners is as improbably captivating as its straight-ahead hurtling. The extra weight seems to do nothing to impair the self-levelling suspension system.
That little M also adds a mighty slab of dough to the price for this car which, with all doo-dahs and extras, goes into the realm of dreams over six figures.
It doesn’t make any difference to me. I would pay almost any price for the BMW 740 Ld M Sport and I wouldn’t even care that the true figure for fuel consumption displayed on the information screen was 32.4 mpg compared with the grotesquely inflated 54.3 mpg officially claimed by BMW.
Can’t they read their own devices?
Car reviewed: BMW 740Ld xDrive M Sport Saloon – On the road £80,515, price as tested £104,030 0-62mph 5.3 secs Top speed 155mph limited Fuel Economy combined 52.3mpg CO2 emissions 142g/km Engine 2993cc 6-cylinder diesel EU6 Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 8-speed auto with manual mode
The ultimate luxury interior
MPower and immense torque