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BMW 735i Pure Excellence Review: A More Light-Handed Way

This ICE-powered 7 Series is the best one to drive among the range offered in Singapore at this moment.
James Wong
James Wong
16 Jan 2023
Dynamically, the 735i is just better than the i7.
What we like:
A lighter, more balanced car than the i7
A sweeter drive, too
Reasonable fuel consumption despite heavy use
Fantastic engine and gearbox
What we dislike:
Not that much cheaper than the i7 for a lot less pace
Options that make the 7er very fancy will add up

After the i7, the 735i may seem a little obsolete. And starting up the ICE engine for the first time, it felt a little archaic, especially when everything else feels so high-tech and digital, just like in the i7.

However, time with the car revealed the benefits of the ICE drivetrain, which gives the 735i a significantly different driving experience.

For one, it’s nice to hear a straight six under the bonnet. It just clicks with the brain synapses that this is one of the core memories of driving a BMW. While 272 hp and 400 Nm might not sound like much next to the i7, it’s plentiful for the 735i which weighs 565 kg less. It does 0-100 km/h in a very reasonable 6.7 seconds; it actually feels more natural, less nauseating and more predictable to wrap one’s head around. The B58 being a lovely engine to stretch, it’s all the better that I can hear it sing without having to break any speed limits.

And although the i7 is not at risk of having a jerky gearbox (because it has only a single gear), the 735i is blessed with a terrific eight-speed auto transmission that’s probably the best in its segment. It shifts imperceptibly and responds telepathically to the driver’s input.

Dynamically, the 735i is just better than the i7. With a whole lot less weight to be concerned about, the car is happier to hustle down a good road, and taxes its brakes and suspension a lot less too. To top it off, it’s rear-wheel drive, as opposed to the all-wheel drive i7, so there’s that nice FR balance. It feels closer to what I remember a BMW to be, but the 735i does have the same light steering which doesn’t inspire much confidence.

This 735i press car is specified with the Gran Lusso package, which comes with a Sky Lounge panoramic glass roof, front and rear massage seats and an alcantara headliner, among other things. Separately it also comes with dual-tone paintwork, optional on all 7-Series variants. Fellow writer Joel doesn’t like it, but in my mind, if you are already standing out with the new 7-Series, you might as well go the whole way!

Interestingly, the 735i is not offered in Europe, so we’re getting an European car that’d never be sold there. It’s fortunate for people here who’d be behind the wheel of their 7-Series that we get the 735i, because it’s the better car to drive than its electric peer.

Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club


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