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SEVEN WONDERS: The new BMW 730i is shaking up the luxury sedan segment

SEVEN WONDERS: The new BMW 730i is shaking up the luxury sedan segment

BMW has recently unveiled the latest G11 (short wheelbase) and G12 (long wheelbase) BMW 7-Series in the form of the 730i and the 745li Plug-In Hybrid for the Philippine market. 

Both come very well spec’d from the factory, coming to market filled with almost every imaginable modern accoutrement for the discerning BMW fan at a very competitive price. In fact, it is the 730i that makes for a very interesting proposition.

Here’s the long list of superb features you will enjoy for signing a P5,990,000 check for the short wheelbase 730i:

1) BMW’s latest  iDrive 7.0 paired with Live Cockpit Professional and a premium Harman Kardon surround sound system transforms the interior to a proper listening room.

2) Gesture control and other comfort access features from the Live Cockpit Professional means you can do more without reaching for the steering wheel controls or the multi-function knob on the center console.

3) A configurable 12.3-inch LCD display replaces the instrument cluster and a 10.25 inch touchscreen is for the infotainment system, equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

4) Dakato grey leather, soft touch plastics and aluminum trim give the interior a sense of subdued soohistication BMW’s are known for.

5) Mood lights at night give it a classy vibe together with soft-lit LED reading lights. The rear seats, along with the front adjust electronically, giving added comfort for the tired executive.

6) Privacy shades electronically roll up and cover the interior from prying eyes. Quad-zone auto climate control is also standard. ABS-EBD brakes, traction/stability control and a plethora of airbags keep you safe.

7) Soft-closing/vacuum locking doors and a foot kick/swipe opening function for the trunk add even more safety and convenience. 

Going beyond skin-deep, the cabin uses BMW’s latest carbon core technology, utilizing carbon fiber to help reduce weight, increase rigidity and thereby improving safety. This alone saves 40 kgs versus utilizing conventional steel. The engine is another surprise: the B48 powerplant is a 2.0 liter direct injected twin-scroll turbocharged 16-valve twin cam gasoline engine pumping out 265ps and 400 Newton-Meters of torque, driving the rear wheels via ZF’s 8-speed automatic transmission. 

Air-suspension is standard, and adjusts for both damping firmness and height: there is a raised ride height function for easy entry / exit and loading plus of course covering rough terrain and steep ramps. It automatically lowers itself at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. The enlarged kidney grill also features electronic shutters to tame the wind on the highway while closed, further minimizing drag, but opens up automatically to let cool air in when things get hot in the engine bay. Ride is absolutely brilliant, thanks mostly to the aforementioned air-suspension, but also to the latest Pirelli Cinturato RFT (runflat) tires measuring 245/50R18. 

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On the road, your reservations about the smallish engine quickly melt away: the tiny 2.0 beats like the heart of a champion, effortlessly propelling the 730i smoothly yet confidently. It’s silky smooth, quiet and refined that you wouldn’t think it was a plebeian 4-cylinder powering this proletarian chariot. It drives and feels every bit as elegantly as its 6- and 8- cylinder competitors in the city. On the highway, the 730i easily pulls up to highway speed and will happily lap up the miles all day. Driving 300-500 (if not more) kilometers in a single day is a breeze with the 730i. 

True to BMW’s ethos of being ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’, the 730i had far more reserves of skill, talent and ability I was willing to discover, unleash and explore while staying within legal limits. Throw it everything you can think of on winding roads, keeping it safe, and the 730i’s feathers are unruffled. The brakes have excellent progression, the steering is light but eager and accurate, and the throttle response sharp considering the 730i is meant to be an executive limousine for captains of industry. It hasn’t lost that sports sedan vibe, a BMW hallmark. You as the owner would be more than willing to take control yourself and enjoy the car fully. Why should the chauffeur hog all the fun? 

At night, BMW’s Dynamic LED headlights cast a crisp and powerful halo over the road. The lights follow your steering inputs, lighting up the sides of the road just past the apex of a turn so you don’t encounter any sudden nasty surprised without time to react. 

With a 5-year/200,000 kilometer warranty, excellent standard equipment coupled with class-leading driving dynamics, the 730i with its unbeatable price will really shake things up in the upper tier of the luxury sedan segment. Every other competitor at the moment (Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ) is priced P2 million more than the 730i, making the BMW the best value in its class. And it’s not bare, taxi-spec units we’re getting,  which SMC Asia Car Distributors, BMW’s local importer is keen to point out. Indeed, the bean counters truly burned the midnight oil to deliver a car this well optioned, at this price range, considering our current tax and forex rates. And it’s a true German, made in BMW’s Dingolfing facility. 

Admittedly it’s a small niche, but it is an important segment nonetheless for BMW to showcase its Teutonic technological prowess.