2011 BMW 740Li Review

Fewer cylinders do nothing to diminish BMW’s flagship luxury saloon

2011 BMW 740Li Review

You might not see a lot of 7 Series on your daily commute, but you’re sure to see a lot of them on television, usually driven by someone like an international arms dealer or drug cartel kingpin. One thing their owners all have in common is the desire for pampered luxury and a checkbook to satisfy those desires. And if there is one thing this big Bimmer is does well, it’s luxury.


1. The 740i brings back the 6-cylinder 7 Series with two turbos that help put out 315-hp and 330 ft-lbs of torque.

2. Fuel economy rated at 17/25-mpg city/highway.

3. BMW offers the 6-cylinder 740i in a long wheelbase variant with an additional 6-inches of rear seat legroom.

4. Active Steering technology can also steer the rear wheels.

5. Pricing starts at $70,650 for the standard wheelbase and $75,050 for the long wheelbase.


For 2011, the 740Li BMW has gone back to a 6-cylinder engine from V8 only offerings, for the first time since 1992. But despite these austere “green” times, this inline 6 has direct injection and twin turbochargers, which put out 315 horsepower, and 330 ft-lbs of torque starting at a mere 1600 rpm. That means there is always plenty of grunt, with no turbo lag, to motivate this 4,400 lb. luxo-cruiser when you need to escape a rival drug gang. You get the feel and power of a V8, along with some not-too-shabby 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway fuel economy ratings.

A six-speed adaptive automatic puts the power to the rear wheels efficiently, and all shifts, whether in full automatic or manumatic mode, happen quickly and smoothly. And for 2011, the 7 Series uses Brake Energy Regeneration, which means the battery is only recharged when the vehicle is decelerating or braking. BMW’s Electronic E-Shift, which connects the shift “lever” to the transmission electronically rather than mechanically was a bit finicky when moving from park to drive or reverse and back, but the transmission worked fine in manumatic mode.


The front suspension has been redesigned, so the 7 Series now rides on a double-wishbone setup that offers a more engaging ride with more controlled handling. The Electronic Damping and Driving Dynamics Controls also lets the driver choose and match the driving mode (COMFORT, NORMAL, SPORT, and SPORT+) to the road conditions and whatever mood you’re in. 

The test car had the optional Integral Active Steering, which varies the steering ratio based on vehicle speed and other driving conditions, and incorporates rear wheel steering as well, up to a 3-degree angle. This means that at slow speeds the rear wheels are steered opposite to the front wheels, and depending on vehicle speed, the turning circle can be reduced by up to 27.5-inches – which, combined with the front wheels’ reduced steering ratio, improves maneuverability. At higher speeds, the system steers them in the same direction as the front wheels, which enhances the stability of the car. Another benefit of this setup is that rear seat passengers will feel less body roll.

Also aiding in stability are the numerous functions of BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system that include antilock braking (ABS), Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Brake Control;

Other braking enhancements include Brake Fade Compensation, which compensates for loss of braking power (fading) under hard or repeated brake use; Brake Standby, which snugs the brake pads up to the rotors if the driver suddenly removes his foot from the accelerator pedal to reduce the effective lag time in applying the brakes; and Brake Drying, which brings the pads to the rotors periodically during wet-weather driving. 


The L at the end of its moniker doesn’t stand for Luxury, it stands for Long Wheel Base (as opposed to the standard 740i) which gives this car 6 more inches of wheelbase and overall length. That translates into limousine-like legroom for rear seat passengers. In fact, owners will have a hard time deciding whether to drive or be driven. 

The test car was finished in a stunning two-tone leather interior, and equipped with the optional Luxury Seating Packages for the front and rear. In front that means multi-contoured seats that are heated and air-cooled, and Active Front Seats which are always moving up and down and side to side almost imperceptibly to reduce driver fatigue. But should you require more pampering, you’ll have to sit in the back where the rear seats, in addition to the heat and cooling features, will gently massage your aching muscles. By the way, if you live in the north, you can also get the cold weather package, which will include a heated steering wheel, if you don’t like to wear gloves.

If turning your head while driving is a chore, there’s the optional Drivers Assistance Package which features blind spot detection in the side view mirrors to alert you when there is a car driving in your blind spot, and a Lane Departure warning system in case you begin to drift to the edge of your lane. Plus, you can also order Active Cruise Control to automatically keep a safe following distance to the car in front of you without having to manually adjust your speed. And if you don’t like the violence of slamming your doors or trunk lid, you can also order the Convenience Package that will automatically latch the trunk and “soft close” the side doors. 

The 7 series comes with a large screen Navigation System with a back-up rear camera, and the often dreaded iDrive system, which has become much more user friendly over the last couple of years. Power moonroof, 4-zone climate controls, Park Distance Control, Illuminated exterior door handles and ground illumination, a sound system you’d like to have in your home, and a host of other features and goodies that would make some people want to live in this car. 


The base 740i is priced at $70,150 with the Long Wheel Base starting at $74,550.  But, as with all BMW’s you’ll never see a base car on a dealer floor. And once you start adding in the option packages, you’ll be flirting with that $100,000 mark. Should you wish to move up to the 750Li, with its 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 and xDrive (all-wheel drive) you’re looking at $88,900 just to start.

Thankfully you don’t have to go there, even if you might want to. The new twin-turbo inline-six is both powerful enough and smooth enough to measure up to the 7 Series badge.


2011 Audi A8 4.2 FSI: First Drive

2008 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Review

2009 Lexus LS600hL

2009 BMW 750i 2010 BMW 750Li xDrive

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked