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How much? £60,265
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2993cc six-cylinder, 301bhp @ 4400rpm, 443lb ft @ 1500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 6.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 40.9mpg, 181g/km
How heavy / made of? 1950kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 5072/1902/1488
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

By the CAR road test team

First Drives

17 July 2009 14:09

We’ve just returned from a day of hurling BMW’s new twin-turbo 740d around the Scottish Highlands, and also found the time for a test of the revised 730d as well as chatting to some of the company’s high-up engineers. An early start and a late finish, but everything in between was very good.

Tell me about this new BMW 740d then…

This is BMW’s third-generation twin-turbo unit, and it is, in a word, brilliant. The 3.0-litre follows the same little-and-large turbo layout as before – the smaller and more responsive blower kicking in low down the rev range, with the bigger unit taking over in the mid-range to red line for a seamless flow of torque.

As well as the all-alloy engine’s fuel injection layout featuring a higher 2000 bar pressure rate, the smaller turbo now features variable vane technology for prompter low-rev response. Which explains why peak torque of 443lb ft kicks in at a very low 1500rpm. Other highlights include BMW’s vaunted Efficient Dynamics to recoup lost energy during braking – it also disengages the alternator, climate controls and other energy sappers when they’re not needed or during hard acceleration.

Get out of the already brisk 730d and into the 740d and while the more powerful car doesn’t feel cor-blimey quicker than the 730d, it does feel far more responsive and alert. Twitch your right foot and there’s instant acceleration in any gear and at any revs.  It’s a stupendously quick and effortless car, lunging forward on a hugely addictive surge of acceleration that has the speedo on fast forward and the revcounter on slow-mo.

Pointed down a winding road with the Dynamic Drive set to Sport, the 740d feels like a much smaller and lighter car – along the ribboning roads around Inverness, the 740d felt lithe and agile, far more so than its size and weight would have you believe.

Dynamically, it’s mighty impressive. And it annihilates roads with an almost haughty insouciance. The engine emits a barely audible background rumble at low to medium speeds and a lovely crisp redline growl. The chassis feels taut and unflappable, the steering clear and direct. Lovely. 

It’s a fair bit dearer than the 730d…

Ah yes. A £6500 premium – the price of a decent scrappage-ready supermini – might seem a bit steep for the single digit step from 730d to 740d, but given the extra dimension of athleticism and responsiveness it adds to an already exceptional package, BMW expect 15% of 7-series buyers to tick the 740d box. And bear in mind, opting for the bi-turbo engine means little in the way of economy or emissions penalty – it returns barely believable 40.9mpg and 181g/km economy and CO2 figures.

>> Click next to read the CAR on the BMW 740d

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BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

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AnthonySoprano

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AnthonySoprano says

RE: BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

JohnnyBimmer - the easy way to find out is to check with the Patent Office. Mind you, even if they haven't registered "340d" this motor is sure to appear in the facelifted E92, next Spring.

 

I hear the current DMS'ed 335d gets from 0 to 100 in around 12 seconds(!)

28 July 2009 14:59

 

JohnnyBimmer

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JohnnyBimmer says

RE: BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

CAR - can you confirm this 740d is still in fact the 6cyl 3.0 ltr unit? If that's right BMW are spinning the 730d, 735d and 740d from the same engine block right? Bit cheeky but I'm dribbling at the thought of a 3-Series coupe 340d  :)))  ....or save £5k and go to tuners DMS who'll do the same for 10% the price!!!

27 July 2009 21:31

 

Brand0

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Brand0 says

RE: BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

Peterfree - you still miss the point about knowing what the market wants.  The whole market does not want the same thing.  Some people in the market for a limo like to drive and will want to drive it, so the drive will be further up the priority list than out and out luxury - especially given that luxury is standard in ALL cars in the class.  Sure, the majority may not care for dynamics, in which case, the XJ, 7 and Quattroporte will struggle to beat Mercedes.  Nothing new there then.  Do you think then that those with £80k to spend on a limo want gimmicky detailing?  In general, the market will be mature people who will see past the gimmicks (it's normally that ability that puts them where they are in the first place!) or, due to the age, just not care for the tech-fest. I wonder howmany of those buying an S-Class will have an iPhone, for example.  I pray that the XJ present potential CEOs and diplomats in their 50s and 60s with loads of flasking lights for BMW's sake, because the only thing BMW would then need to fear would be the Jags dynamics - which will be good, I'm sure.  I don't why I persist with this anyway - the creator and builder of the current Rolls family of cars cannot possibly be accused of not knowing - not USING perhaps, but not knowing?

27 July 2009 14:19

 

AnthonySoprano

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AnthonySoprano says

RE: BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

Peter, that is a fair point, but you are being a bit harsh on the new 7. The Jaguar's interior looks impressive, if you like that sort of style, but in the 7 the quality of the plastics, construction, etc is top-notch. Vastly more luxurious than even the current 5. I'm not knocking the XF, which I have not driven, but I fear Jaguar are trying too hard with it. Anyway, German cars don't really do luxury. It's the Bauhaus tradition; only comparatively recently has proper wood and the concept of 'luxury' started appearing in the top-end German motor. It underlines the advanced engineering under the skin; people get the impression that that is where the money has gone, and they are usually right. The new 7 is slightly less brash than its predecessor and that is a good thing: a bit of understatement won't go amiss in current economic climate. The Germans will not have forgotten how many people turned to Lexus - the very face of anonymity - during the last downturn.

27 July 2009 11:54

 

PeterFree

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PeterFree says

RE: BMW 740d (2009): new CAR review

AnthonySoprano: "I'm lost. What does that actually mean?" It means that a Ford/Tata owned Jaguar, that can't even sort out their reliability issues, STILL mages to so comprehensively out do BMW with their interiors that they make BMW look ridiculously bad. This 7, as has been the case with all of its predecessors, has a particularly poor interior, for THIS class. The XF, a class bellow, highlight what should be done and how far off the mark the 7 really is! If this 7's interior was in an upmarket RENAULT, it would be understandable, but in this class it is beyond comprehension! It elevates this 7 into a new category: A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED!

Buy it, drive it for 5 years and then see what its worth is! 1/7 or 1/8 of its purchase price at BEST. In the mean time about 9 out of 10 customers will buy something else, as always has been case with all 7's 'competeing' in this class. The market revels the fact: BMW do NOT understand what this class is or how to approach it!

25 July 2009 15:18

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