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1995 BMW 740I Review - Base Price $58,670

A new standard for luxury


1995 bmw 740i Review

BMW has moved the goal posts, pushed back the fences and raised the basket in the luxury-car game. Just when Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Audi, Cadillac and Lincoln thought they had a handle on what a luxury car should be, BMW introduces a new model from the 7-Series line, the 740i, and it's rethink time for the competition.

Not too surprising. BMW has been downright ferocious in the development and introduction of new models the past few years. There have been new 3- and 8-Series models, coupes and convertibles added to the 3-Series, a 5-Series Touring (wagon) was introduced, V8 engines appeared in the 5- and 7-Series, the succulent M3 came on the scene, and so on.

And the public has responded to these actions: BMW of North America Inc. reported its 1994 sales figures at more than 77,000 units through November 1994.

We believe the new 740i will be another showroom success. Cars this good do not go unnoticed. Our model, with a number of standard goodies and no optional equipment, came in at $58,370, and proved to us to be worth every single sawbuck.


BMW has developed a basic approach to interior design that it uses in all its models: Make it simple, ergonomically correct and handsome. The only differences you find moving up the lineup are the addition of comfort and convenience items.

As expected, the 740i comes with a full complement of both. New for '95 is an outside temperature display with an audible freeze warning and a photo-transistor control of LCD brightness according to ambient light conditions.

A Multi Information Display at the top of the console includes controls for the very good sound system - with CD player optional - automatic climate control and trip computer. Controls are well-marked and not complicated to use, although it wouldn't hurt to spend some time going over them in the owner's manual.

The look of an already attractive instrument panel is improved by the use of ventilation slats that fold flat rather than remaining slightly open or overlapping.

The standard leather upholstery is probably an industry benchmark: soft, supple and perfectly stitched. Everywhere you look, the fit-and-finish is impeccable. Wood trim is taste-full but not overused.

The steering wheel has controls for a cellular phone (dealer-installed option) and cruise control. Of lesser sophistication, but still appreciated, are cupholders front and rear.

Safety is looked after by a strong and rigid body with crush zones front and rear. There are dual airbags in the 740i with an operational twist: If a collision is minor, the airbags won't activate, although automatic seat-belt tensioners will. And regardless of impact size, if the passenger seat is not occupied, that bag will not deploy.

In our humble opinion, only the Jaguar offers an interior as luxurious and satisfying in this category of vehicles as the 740i.


Although the new 740i looks undeniably like the old 7-Series BMW, it is actually quite different - though the details are subtle - from its predecessor. The nose is lower, flatter and definitely more aggressive looking. The "quad" headlights under glass and smaller kidney grille give the front of the 740i a cleaner, more aerodynamic look.

The low-beam lights are surrounded by ring reflectors that make them appear larger. It's an interesting look that results in increased visibility because high beams now throw out a "free form" pattern that doesn't overlap with the low beams.

The new car is about one inch taller than the old 7-Series for marginally better headroom, though the difference isn't really noticeable. Similarly, the 740i is three inches longer, but doesn't look it. For more size, look at the longer wheelbase 740iL model or V12-powered 750iL.

The tail has been massaged with new taillights, and the trunk liftover has been lowered for easier loading. The careful observer, upon completing a walkaround inspection of the car, will notice a very unusual omission: no lock on the passenger door for security reasons.

You can't design a car without a wind tunnel these days, and the 740i's time in one resulted in a more aerodynamic body with reduced drag. For those who keep track of such things, the coefficient of drag dropped from 0.34 to 0.31. From an engineering viewpoint, that's a significant improvement.

Now, this almost-manic attention to drag among today's designers is certainly an effort to improve fuel economy, which, granted, is not a big concern for a 740i owner. However, reduced drag also means less wind noise, and a quiet interior is on everybody's list of favorites. In addition, the windshield pillars and mirrors were redesigned, a new door sealing system developed and thicker glass inserted to contribute to reduction of wind noise.

The 740i is powered by a 282-hp, 32-valve, 4.0-liter V8 coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Transmission Control (ATC). This feature automatically selects the best gear as determined by the way the car is being driven (sedately or aggressively), road conditions and specific driving situations.

ATC deals with three modes: economy, sport and winter. In economy and sport, shift points are adjusted to conserve fuel or improve acceleration. If wheel slip is detected, the winter mode is selected to block out first gear, prevent double-downshifts, cause upshifts to occur early and reduce the overall amount of shifting.

The All Season Traction (optional on the 740i and 740iL, standard on the 750iL) reduces engine power and applies the brakes when wheel spin is detected.


The new 740i delivers in looks and luxury - that is for certain. But the real joy comes when it's time for the car to deliver on the road.

Although the V8 isn't overly endowed with displacement, it makes plenty of power that the transmission and independent suspension put to good use. BMW claims 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds, and we found those numbers to be accurate in our test drive.

This is, of course, a league-leading luxury car. But it is also a BMW and in every BMW beats the heart of a sports sedan. We're looking at a 4145 lb. vehicle here, so it isn't something you can pitch and toss through curves and around turns. But it is flat, stable and very reassuring when pushed, and never feels like more than two tons of car.

The ride could never be called soft: BMW doesn't have that word in its dictionary. But it is comfortable, while firm and controlled. And the suspension eats road irregularities much the way a teenager chows on cheeseburgers.

We did 350 intense miles in our test car one afternoon on the beautiful and challenging roads in the Ozarks. At the end of the day, we were suitably impressed with the car's over-the-road manners. And thanks to the comfortable, luxurious leather seating in the 740i, we were more than ready for another 350 miles.


Simply put, BMW took a good car in the 7-Series and made it better. As a result of these revisions, it is a monumentally difficult task to find fault with the new BMW 740i.

For starters, there certainly is nothing wrong from the technical side of things. And who among us can criticize the sleek new reshaping that was done to the 740i, which offers just the right blend of luxury and performance?

Finally, there's the pricing. At $58,370, which is $16,000 less than a Mercedes-Benz S420, the BMW 740i offers a package that car shoppers in this market are going to find very tough to pass up.

Find more reviews at New Car Test Drive. The wolrd's leading provider of Automotive Reviews.

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