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BMW's flagship sedan takes an economy turn, getting a turbocharged six-cylinder engine instead of a V-8 or V-12. Although the engine's size gets a downgrade, the luxury remains, with every 7-series feature available.
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The 7-series is a thoroughly modern-looking European sedan, with soft lines and a curved roof. The grille is distinct, but the general shape has been seen before.
The 7-series headlight casings include LED turn signals, while the headlights themselves are adaptive, turning into corners.
This engine is the same twin-turbo 3-liter straight-six that used to power the 335i, but with updated direct-injection technology. It is more than adequate to push the big 7-series.
The roofline is designed practically for easy access to the front and rear seats. There is plenty of headroom in the rear.
The 740i gives up nothing when it comes to handling. With an optional active suspension, the car exhibits great grip and stability in hard cornering.
The trunk is capacious.
One unique styling cue on the 7-series is this chrome inset between door and fender. It holds a side marker light.
The M Sport package adds more than looks to the 740i; it brings in the active suspension, which boosts handling.
The interior is luxurious, and comes standard with navigation, Bluetooth phone system, and a good stereo system. But quite a bit is left optional, including iPod connectivity.
This 740i came with BMW's active steering technology, which changes the steering ratio based on speed. It also turns the rear wheels a little to help low-speed maneuverability.
The six-speed automatic transmission includes sport and manual modes. It shifts quickly and can hold low gears for exciting performance.
The instrument cluster's black-panel technology hides indicator lights until they are in use.
BMW's iDrive controller has been refined to be more intuitive over the years, with buttons giving direct access to navigation, audio, and phone.
The main iDrive menu is a simple list of infotainment areas. The screen changes background color for each function, giving the driver a visual cue.
The hard-drive-based navigation system displays very rich 3D maps that also show traffic conditions.
The 740i's destination input screens are not terribly intuitive to use, one of the few problems with the car.
HD Radio comes standard in the 740i.
With the navigation system's hard drive, you can store music in the car, ripped from the CD drive.
With the base audio system, the sound quality is very balanced and clear.
The Bluetooth phone system not only makes a paired phone's contact list available onscreen, but also lets you use voice command to dial by name.
The online manual in the 740i includes graphics and hyperlinks.