Not much has changed from 2016 to 2017 for the 7 series. It still holds its beautiful stance and is a definite head turner on the roads or in parking lots. Standard LED lighting offers a classy look and the oversized kidney grille gives the front end its signature BMW look.
Smooth design lines through the side profile and flowing into the rear continue through the 740Le and aside from the charging port and “i” badging, it’s hard to tell apart from its gasoline-only stable mates.
As the 740Le is a hybrid, there are two sources of power that move this 8-speed automatic transmission.
First up is a 2.0 litre inline four cylinder turbocharged engine (a first for the 7-series) that produces 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, which takes up to 78 litres of premium fuel. The electric aspect consists of 111 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque that runs through a 9 kWh lithium ion battery with a voltage rating of 351 V.
BMW states that the 740Le can travel 48 km on electricity alone, although driving conditions and who/what you have in the car will affect that.
Fuel economy rates at 9.5 L/100 km city and 8.0 L/100 km highway and you’re best to drive the car gently to achieve those figures, as is the case with the majority of vehicles.
No, it’s not the most powerful 7 series on the road, but it nicely balances excitement, economy and the environment beneath the hood.
Evolving their flagship vehicle that’s been known for its massive engines and roaring amounts of horsepower into a more modest offering is a big step forward for BMW. Their competitors offer similar hybrid vehicles and it makes sense for the Bavarians to do so as well. The performance doesn’t suffer as it does with other hybrid cars and there’s still a lot to love about the legendary 7 series in hybrid form, which we’ll get into over different points in this review.
Ever flown first class? I have. Once. And it was by utter chance (my ex turned on the waterworks at the gate; she was in first, I was in economy) and I guess enough tears hit the ground that they gave in. And boy oh boy was it an utterly different world. Every time I’ve driven a 7 series, that’s what I’m reminded of.
The interior is elegance at its finest, simply put. The leather seating is plush and graceful, the veneered wood is tastefully incorporated throughout, brushed metal surfaces are beautiful and from the moment you step in, you’ll see that BMW has used the finest materials available.
The rear seats (as spec’d in this car under the pricing section) have just as much luxury available with laptop trays, foot rests, ventilated and massaging seats, a Samsung Galaxy tablet that lets you control a plethora of items in your quadrant, along with many other luxury items/toys/bells/whistles.
The iDrive is still easy to use and the 10.25” colour infotainment system is available with “Gesture Control” which means you swipe your hand near the screen to get a response.
As mentioned, this is the first four-cylinder 7 series in production but BMW has made sure to do more with less. The sprint to 100 km/h is done in just over 5 seconds, which is impressive.
On the road, the car feels large because, well, it is. As a full sized luxury sedan, you won’t get the same tight handling that you do in a 3 series. Rather, you’ll enjoy a refined driving experience with a whisper quiet cabin and a firm grip on the road, despite having a longer wheel base (there’s still the regular wheel base 7 series available).
Acceleration is smooth and prompt and the steering is responsive. Bumping it into Sport mode does give you more bite beneath the hood. However, I found to truly appreciate and enjoy the drive, using Comfort mode is the best route.
I did a somewhat even balance of city and highway driving and found that the 740Le excels on the open road as a trip to St. Catharines was where the car shone the brightest.
City driving is also pleasant (as it should be with an over $100,000 car) and you’re taken away from the hustle and bustle of city streets through a resoundingly beautiful interior, and the BMW does offer a memorable ride. To really understand just how much of a luxurious drive the car can offer, a highway/backroads/rural setting is where you’ll find your answer.
In addition to the regular suite of tech found in high end luxury offerings (heads up display, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, active cruise control/high beams, park assist, night vision, surround view camera, pedestrian detection, etc.), BMW offers their Driving Assistant Plus.
Here’s how they describe it:
“The Driving Assistant Plus equipment offers the comfort of partially autonomous driving thanks to Active cruise control with Stop&Go function and Steering and lane control assistant. In addition to the Driving Assistant functions, active safety is improved by Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping assistant with active side collision protection, Approach control warning and Person warning with full city braking function and Crossing traffic warning. Active cruise control maintains the desired speed (up to 210 km/h) as well as the distance to the car ahead. The convenient Steering and lane control assistant is available in the same speed range. It takes over steering and automatically keeps the BMW in the middle of the lane. In slowly moving traffic and traffic jams, the vehicle maintains the selected distance to the car ahead with automatic braking and accelerating.”
The 2017 740Le (the “entry” level to the 7 series) comes in at $107,900 and the Ontario government will flip you $3,000 back if you pick one up via rebate. BMW dressed up my test vehicle with $37,600 worth of options to make me feel like royalty for a week.
What do you get for the price of nearly four base Nissan Micras in options?
A $10,000 Executive Teir 2 package, which includes ventilated and comfort rear seats, executive lunge seating and rear console, massaging rear seats, a rear seat entertainment system and a seating for four configuration (since there’s so much tech in the middle rear console).
Basically, this gives ultra-luxury to the two rear passengers.
A $5,500 Executive Package’s highlights include a panoramic sunroof, side sunshades, ventilated and massaging front seats, and a surround view camera.
The M Sport Package for $4,900 sees 19” M style wheels and a few other M branded goodies.
The Driver Assistance Package for $4,200 sees night vision, park assistant and headlight washers.
The $4,000 Premium Package gives you active LED headlights, heads up display (which I don’t really care for) high beam assist, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and a WiFi hotspot.
And my favourite option is the $4,900 Bowers & Wilkins diamond surround sound system, churning out 1,400 watts of power through 16 speakers.
Oh, there’s a $500 ambient air option (two different perfumes can be sprayed within the cabin) and a $600 ceramic controls option.
Enjoy the full gallery below: