Rolling Sixes In Bimmer's Big 7 It's been a good long while since the BMW 740Li badge graced American shores, and even longer since the entry-level 7 Series packed anything other than eight furious cylinders under its hood. The last time a straight-six lurked behind the quad head lights of the big Bimmer here in the Land of the Free, Bill Clinton was still hanging around Arkansas and the only Cyrus terrorizing the airwaves was Billy Ray. Since then, an entire culture of consumption has blossomed and withered under the glare of questionable loans and fluctuating oil prices, and as such, automakers like BMW have begun to alter their wares to fit the times. When it came to the long-wheelbase 7 Series, BMW decided to abandon larger displacement engines options for smarter, more efficient powerplants that wouldn't disappoint buyers accustomed to a world-class performance threshold. Cue the arrival of the N54 – a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that's happy to provide propulsion for the 2011 BMW 740Li. To drive it is to handily dispatch any and all naysayers who would have you believe that an executive sedan needs a V8 to hold its head high in the business district. BMW graced our tester with its painfully attractive M Sport Package, a grouping that throws in subtle aerodynamic and aesthetic tweaks all over the sedan for the princely sum of $6,500. Those alterations include a substantially more aggressive front fascia with larger, sculpted air inlets and faux canards down low. The nose-job gives the 7 Series substantially more presence than the standard model, and the treatment is backed up by impressive 19-inch split-spoke M wheels. They're the kind of rolling hardware a person could fall in love with, and they're wrapped in Goodyear 245/45/R19 rubber. Otherwise, there's little distinguishing the M Sport Package-equipped 7 Series from its non-M brethren – at least in profile. It's easy to spot the additional 5.5-inches of wheelbase that the 740Li boasts over its 740i twin, however. Spanning just over 17 feet, this is a conspicuously long sedan, though the vehicle wears the proportions well – especially when compared to competitors like the Lexus LS 460 L. Whereas that behemoth is stitched together with awkwardly-long rear doors, the long-wheelbase BMW can brag about a more organic shape. Around the rear of the 740Li, the M Sport kit throws in a significantly reworked rear valance with a sharper mid-crease and dark detailing around the dual exhaust outlets. The combined effect is admittedly stunning, but the package is still a bit dear in price. Hop inside and you'll notice that the steering wheel has also received the M Sport touch. The contoured helm is wrapped in appropriately soft hide and laden with enough switchgear to put a primate on the moon – or at least give him control over cruise, media and Bluetooth connectivity onboard. The rest of the cabin remains beautifully executed and positively teems with detail. This vehicle has some of the most attractive …
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|MPG||17 City / 25 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||315 @ 5800 rpm|
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