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Review: BMW 730Ld
Driven July 2013
The fifth-gen 7 series, launched in 2008, has gone and got itself a facelift so it can soldier on till the next-gen car arrives in a few years. We’re testing the diesel variant, the 730Ld, which will be assembled at BMW’s plant in Chennai.
Outside, the visible changes include new LED headlights along with BMW’s signature four-ring daytime running lights. Among the subtler details – the grille now has fewer vertical slats and the front bumper gets two chrome accent bars that split the lower air intake. The wing mirrors get integrated turn indicators so the car is more visible to other drivers.
Inside, the cabin is as plush and inviting as you would expect from a car that will cost in the region of Rs 1 crore. The layout is typical BMW, with the dashboard angled towards the driver.
Behind the front seats are two nine-inch screens that can play your selection of movies and are controlled by the iDrive knob on the armrest – that should take some of the pain out of rush-hour traffic. There is also a massage function to pamper your executive back.
We could tell you more about the reclining rear seats, wine chillers and other luxuries that the 7 has to offer the backbenchers, but surely you are more interested in the sensations felt in the driver’s seat. The 730Ld’s diesel in-line 6-cylinder 2993cc engine makes 258bhp and 560Nm of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, unlike the six-speeder on the earlier model. The 730Ld can sprint to 100kph in 6.69sec and has an electronically limited top speed of 250kph.
In terms of fuel economy, it will go 7.8kpl in city traffic and 10.5kpl on the highway. There are five driving modes to choose from – Eco Pro, Comfort, Comfort +, Sport and Sport+. As the name suggests, Eco Pro is a sedate zone in which the computer ensures the car burns every drop of diesel in the most efficient manner. In Comfort +, the suspensions goes soft, the steering feels lighter and throttle response isn’t as sharp as in the other modes. In Comfort and Comfort +, the ride feels soft and the car glides over uneven surfaces without much fuss.
Sport mode is possibly the best way to harness all that power exiting the 3-litre oil burner. The steering is direct and gives you the right amount of feedback while the suspension stiffens up to take corners better. For a big luxury sedan, the 7 feels quite nimble in this mode.
If you feel the electronic nanny is butting in once too often every time you let the rear slide a bit, then Sport + is your answer. It is very much like Sport but with lesser intervention as you shred the rear tyres and make your little contribution to global warming.
The 730Ld will be the preferred choice for buyers looking at a budget flagship model from BMW. Sadly, the local-make car won’t come with extras like ventilated seats, night vision camera and the rest of the options available on CBU petrol variants. The 730Ld is pegged at Rs 92.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Sure, this car pleases with its driving dynamics, and the two extra cogs promise more efficiency but it misses out on a range of options that its rivals have on offer.
2993cc in-line 6-cyl diesel, 258bhp, 560Nm, 8A, 0-100kph: 6.69sec, 30-50kph: 1.37sec, 50-70kph: 1.50sec, 80-0kph: 24.63m, 2.23sec, 9.3kpl, 250kph (limited), Rs 92.90 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Made-in-India 7 series lowers cost over the older car but offers no optional extras.