The 7 Wonder
Wonderful… in a nutshell, that's how I would describe this LCI version of BMW's ultra-luxe 740Li. LCI stands for Life Cycle Impulse, and it's basically BMW's fancy way of saying 'facelift'.
As part of the current styling trend for BMW, the 7 series facelift has taken the approach of 'bigger is better'. Just take a look at the front grille, and you'll know what I mean. The car's signature kidney grille is now significantly larger (40% bigger!) than before. Functionally, this is useful because with the car's active air flap control, the vanes of the grille open up when it senses the need for cool air to enter the engine bay.
Every car brand has its own flagship, and the new 7er is truly BMW's 'flag-ship' car… the car looks like it's bigger than some small boats! It is massive! To say the car has presence is really an understatement. Although the width, height, and wheelbase remain the same as its predecessor, the new 7er is now 23mm longer. The additional 23mm may not seem like much, but together with the supersized kidney grilles, overall it looks imposing.
The 7's LED headlights give the car plenty of character too. If you are wondering what the blue hexagonal shapes in the headlight are, they are part of the Laserlight spotlight with Selective Beam system that helps to enhance the high beam function of the car — and give the car cool looking 'eyes'.
Looking at the side profile of the car, you’ll notice that the new Air Breathers that sit just behind the front wheel arches have been made bigger, more upright and vertical. These Air Breathers are vents that help air flow through the wheel arches to reduce aerodynamic turbulence and help cool the brakes.
BMW fans love the brand for its heritage and signature BMW brand elements like the Hofmeister kink. As always, you'll find BMW's hallmark Hofmeister kink at the end of the rear window. Yes, there's actually a name for the little design quirk — the inward kink at the end of the C-pillar that appears on all modern-day BMWs.
At the rear of the new BMW 7, the revamped LED taillights are now 35mm slimmer, and there is an additional 6mm LED light strip that makes the car look elegant both day and night. The slimmer taillights also make the rear of the car look bigger than its predecessor. Beyond it’s size, the car still manages to exude luxury and prestige.
As the flagship model, it is no surprise that the new BMW 7 Series comes chock-full of innovative tech features, and a comprehensive range of driver assistance systems. With its Driving Assistant Professional package, you'll get Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. The car will automatically maintain the speed you select (up to a maximum of 210km/h), and it'll also monitor the traffic situation to maintain your preset distance to the car in front. Beyond just applying the brakes to stop the car, it will also accelerate for you once the traffic situation allows. Perfect for times when you are stuck in a jam crossing into JB!
Despite its size, the car is surprisingly easy to drive, and easy to park. But if you think you need a little help parking the car, there's also the Parking Assistant Plus function that will help you park the car automatically — it also works for parallel parking lots too! We tested this function, and it is a joy to see the car park itself — not to mention the look of amazement from your passengers too! During the parking manoeuvre, the system will control the accelerator, brakes, and steer for you too. And if you are wondering how you can get out of the parallel parking lot, no worries, the system can also be used to automatically drive out of the parallel parking lot too!
Another jaw-dropping feature of the 740Li is Remote Controlled Parking. Have you encountered annoyingly tight parking lots that make it hard for you to get out of the car because there's a pillar placed right beside the door? Well, you won't need to worry about this anymore. Just stop the car before the pillar, whip out your BMW Display Key, and you can use the key to remotely control the car to reverse (or go forward) into the tight parking lot for you!
And if you drive yourself into a tight corner or a dead end, you can also use the Reversing Assistant feature to take you out of this difficult situation, unscathed. The car will remember how you got into this mess (up to 50 metres), and it’ll retrace the route you took to get you out. Besides these tech features, there’s also a whole raft of safety features such as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Crossing traffic warning, Rear Collision warning, Priority warning, Wrong-way warning and Lane Change Warning that will automatically steer the vehicle back into its lane.
Business-class seats that come with a massage function, that's what the interior of the 740Li is like. The Nappa leather upholstery feels luxurious and premium. regardless of whether you are in the front or the rear, the seats feel supportive and comfortable. But passengers at the rear do get to enjoy the added comfort of an extra plush pillow.
And in the 740Li Pure Excellence, the driver and front passenger get to enjoy a soothing body massage during the drive. If you'd like for the rear passengers to also enjoy a massage, you'll need to get the BMW 740Li Visionary variant. While the massage may not be as powerful as a proper massage chair, it is still very good.
To add to the business-class feels, there's LED lighting all around the instrument panel, the door shoulders, the pockets behind the front seat, and the footwells. There's also 'mood lighting' in the B-pillars, and you can select your preferred colour scheme for all the car's ambient lighting. The only thing that's missing is the welcome hot towel from the cabin crew.
Inside the car, noise insulation is excellent. BMW is serious about making the new 7 series as quiet as possible, and they achieved this by reducing the amount of tyre noise and wind noise entering the cabin. The rear wheel arches have noise insulation, and BMW also added soundproofing elements to the B-pillars. On top of that, thick 5.1mm laminated glass is used, not just for the windscreen, but also for the side and rear windows too.
You'll get plenty of screen on the new 7 series. BMW's latest operating system 7.0 powers a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, and a 10.25-inch Control Display. The system is intuitive and easy to use, and it also features an adaptive navigation system as well as a 20GB hard-drive-based multimedia system. Below the display is a wireless charging tray that can be used to charge your smartphone or your BMW Display Key. The colour Head-Up Display is clear and sharp. It can display information on vehicle speed, speed limits and overtaking restrictions, warning messages, status indicators, and detailed turn instructions. You can also use it to navigate through telephone and entertainment lists.
And like the new BMW 330i, this car also comes with BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which is like having Siri or Google Assistant in the car. To activate it, just say, "Hey BMW". You can customise the name to anything you prefer, and my kids particularly enjoy naming it 'Jarvis' and telling Jarvis what to do.
Besides using “Hey BMW” to control the settings in the car, you can also use the Control Display, the iDrive Touch Controller, the controls on the steering wheel, voice control, and BMW gesture control. Gesture control is useful in letting you keep your eye on the road while you do things like change radio stations and adjust volume — just by using hand gestures.
Passengers at the back will get plenty of cooling. There’s a aircon vent in the middle and there are also AC vents on the B-pillar. And if the night is cool, you can also open up the large sunroof.
With a car this size, you can be sure there's plenty of legroom… so much so that you can even sit cross-legged in the rear. With this sheer abundance of space, you'd think you can sit three rear passengers comfortably, but it is only suitable for two. There's a pseudo seat in the middle but sitting on it feels about as comfortable as sitting on the arm of a recliner — not very comfortable.
With a car this huge, some may think that it wouldn't be very powerful as the extra bulk will slow the car down. On the contrary, the 740Li is quick, nimble and agile. The new BMW 740Li is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six in-line petrol engine that produces 340hp of power and 450Nm of torque. Its twin-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Injection, Valvetronic fully variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control do an excellent job of giving the car plenty of heft. So much so that it completes the 0 to 100km/h century sprint in 5.6 seconds. Pretty damn good for a car that's this massive!
Its eight-speed Steptronic transmission is efficient and smooth. As for its fuel efficiency, the numbers are also very healthy for a car this size. The combined fuel consumption is rated at 7.1 litres/100km of fuel (or 14.08 km/litre).
Using a mix of high-strength steel, aluminium, and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, the car's body is both light and strong (1,880kgs). The passenger cell uses a Carbon Core to help the big Bimmer to have a high level of structural safety while keeping the weight down.
The new 7 has an excellent self-levelling two-axle air suspension system. Its double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle suspension provide a good balance between dynamic performance and comfort. If you encounter a particularly bumpy road, you can also raise the height of the car (by up to 20mm) to further cushion the car's occupants. With a car this size, it's amazing that it can have this level of agility, and yet offer a high degree of comfort.
Driving the car is a real pleasure. It's got bags of power, and it effortlessly leaves the rest of the cars behind when you move off from the traffic light. You don’t even need to put the car into Sport mode! There are three driving modes available — Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport — but you can pretty much leave it permanently in Comfort. The power rating of 340hp is more than plenty for everyday driving in Singapore, and you'll enjoy calling on these horses every time you get behind the wheel.
The 740Li’s Integral Active Steering combines the electromechanical steering of the front wheels – complete with Servotronic speed-sensitive steering assistance and variable steering ratio – with a clever steering rear axle. It is smart enough to either turn the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, or turn them in the opposite direction — all based on your speed. At speeds below 60km/h, the rear wheels will turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels — this increases the car’s manoeuvrability and improves its turning radius. At speeds above 60km/h, the rear wheels will turn in the same direction as the front wheels — this allows the driver to be quick and precise when lane changes. Very clever and very useful.
With a price tag that’s similar to some 5-room HDB apartments ($469,888 currently*), the BMW 7 Series 740Li Pure Excellence is clearly a car for those that demand luxury and prestige — not just as a statement, but also as a lifestyle.
What makes the BMW 7 Series 740Li a wonderful car is that it can be so many things all at once, many of which are seemingly binary opposites. It is richly luxurious, but yet it offers a delightful sporty drive. It is enormous and imposing, but yet it handles with the grace of a gazelle. It's a car that you'll be just as happy driving or being driven around in.
*All information accurate as at 16 October 2019
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