I have always been a fan of BMW’s flagship luxury car, the 7-Series. If you listen to my radio show, you know I am a fan of diesels and there just are not many choices in large, luxury, diesel sedans. The 740 diesel falls nicely into that category. Just for clarity purposes, the L in the model name means it is a long wheelbase, the D tells you it is a diesel engine, and the X-drive signifies it is all-wheel drive.
2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive
Starting under the hood, you’ll find a 3.0-liter straight six-cylinder engine that is turbocharged. Hooked to it, is an 8-speed automatic transmission, and as a team they produce 255-horses. Before you express shock at the lack of horsepower in a 4700-pound car, understand that with diesels, the torque is the big measure, and the 740 comes with 413 pound-feet of torque, which makes it perform like a 400-horse V8. Acceleration is strong and steady and seems like it will never top out, all while the diesel engine hums very quietly along. While the engine is quiet, the exhaust has a refreshing rumble that I find to be quite enjoyable.
The interior of the 740 is spectacular, with rich, supple, comfortable leather seats and a massive back seat and center console. From behind the wheel, you’ll see large, configurable gauges that are animated and really easy to read. This generation of the BMW i-Drive is much simpler to operate than the system in years past. Everything is easily marked and in short order, you can operate the controls from the center console without looking.
Standard equipment includes navigation system, rearview camera, power moonroof, leather heated seats, and everything else you would expect on a BMW. One issue I have always had with BMW is that they charge you for things I think should be standard equipment at no charge. Case in point, my evaluation vehicle has over $13,000 in options.
M Sport Package
This particular 740 has the M Sport package that totals $5300 and gives you a special steering wheel, 20” wheels, and a power rear shade. It has the cold weather package that heats the rear seats and the steering wheel, and the Executive Package gives you a heads-up display in the windshield, power trunk closer, and an upgraded stereo. Another $1900 will give you adaptive LED lighting, and automatic headlights.
Although the 740 is large and relatively heavy, it drives and handles much like a Porsche thanks to BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control, which gives you five different settings that change the car drastically. You can start with Sport Plus, and with the push of a button, go down to the Comfort level. To maximize fuel economy, choose the Eco Pro.
This big Beemer is rated at 23 mpg in town and 31 on the highway and getting that is not an issue. Here is where the value of the diesel engine gets a little dicey. Just looking at the typical 15,000-mile per year driver, with the current fuel price for unleaded is $2.45 and diesel is at $2.92 nationally. The increase in fuel economy with the diesel is only 4 miles per gallon in combined driving. The math says that the diesel BMW will cost $7 per month more in fuel than the gas version. Plus you have to pay $1500 more upfront for the engine. These numbers could change if gas and diesel prices come closer together, or if you plan to keep this car for 300,000 miles or more.
This is one of those times when I wish I reviewed cars just on the merits of the car, without regard to value. There is much to love about the 740 Ld, but at almost $96,000 I am compelled to knock a 5 Star rating down to 3 Stars.