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Seventh heaven

The right technology and a superb diesel engine make this new BMW a limo to die for

entertainment Updated: Nov 11, 2009 22:13 IST

The BMW 7-series grabbed everyone’s attention when it was launched earlier this year, in March. Then the company thought to better it and knock customers’ eyebrows out into orbit. The 750Li managed to do that with its 407 bhp twin-turbo V8 supercar motor that gave this limo the ability to knock its speedo’s needle into its 250 kph limiter with only mild incitement.

A firm shove on the throttle gets this long saloon to leap off the line, rear wheels spinning. The 730d blasts from still to 100 kph in 7.47 seconds and 150 kph in a scant 15.6 seconds. Hold on to the throttle for 30.9 seconds and you will be doing 200 kph. With a larger chassis to absorb more of the diesel motor’s vibrations and an uprated engine, this car is almost petrol-smooth.

Helping achieve this smoothness is a third-generation common-rail direct injection system. Rail pressure is up to 2000 bar, and with the fast-acting Piezo injectors used, the timing and frequency of injections have improved, making the diesel run smoother. This meshes well with the six-speed gearbox.

The 730Ld delivers almost the same levels of comfort as its petrol sibling. The long-wheelbase has air springs in the rear but lacks the low speed ‘lift’ feature of the Merc S-class and the Audi A8 which increases the ride height. The car wallows a bit in this mode, but at high speeds, it’s better to select ‘Normal’ mode. For more spirited driving, there’s also ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’; this is, after all, a BMW.

The 730Ld is really comfortable. This is probably the most non-diesel-like diesel we’ve tested. This long-wheelbase version has rear seats that can rival first class airline travel. They can be reclined, each passenger gets his own big screen and your rear can either be massaged, cooled or heated.

Fuel efficiency
The biggest advantage of the diesel is in just how much more efficient it is compared to the petrol. This large barge needs only a litre of diesel to travel 6.5 km in the city and that is very impressive, all things considered. As always, there’s tech at work here: regenerative braking, alternator disengagement and other ‘efficient dynamic’ features included. But this means that owners have to pay nearly a crore for the car, and they’re more likely to be worried about windscreen-washer consumption than fuel bills. What will cause more than some worry is the lack of a spare. Sure, run-flat tyres mean you don’t really need a spare, but there are many parts of India that are more than 100 km away from a replacement tyre.