1995 BMW 740

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1995 BMW 740

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Available in 2 styles:  740 i 4dr Sedan shown
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16 city / 24 hwy


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    Expert Reviews 1 of 4

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washingtonpost.com
NEW ORLEANS -- MY FATHER hadn't left the house for weeks. He was incarcerated by illness. But something of his old irascible self was stirring this particular morning. He wanted to get out.

Of course, he was too proud to say, "I want to go out." That would have implied a request for assistance, inasmuch as he can no longer drive.

So Dad approached the subject through careful inquiry -- a method he developed over years of work as a biology and chemistry teacher, and as a fellow of the National Science Foundation.

"What is it you have out there?" he asked, motioning toward the driveway.

"A BMW," I said.

"A BMW? Is it a big car?" he asked, which meant, "Can I get in and out of it easily? Will I be comfortable?"

"It's a 740iL -- very big," I said. "How 'bout a ride?"

He smiled and summoned one of my two sisters who have moved back home to help him through these tender times.

"We're going for a ride," he said.

Background: Dad is a World War II Army veteran who never cared much for things German. But he's always given credit for things well done, which is why he muttered, "Nice car, nice car . . . " throughout our tour of this grand old city.

Had he been free of bias, Dad probably would've been more enthusiastic in his praise of the 1995 BMW 740iL -- a car that's way beyond "nice."

My assessment is based on 5,000 miles behind the wheel of the 740iL -- from Northern Virginia to Northern Michigan, and from there through Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains and over some back roads to Boston and thence to New York and New Orleans -- often driving 12 hours a day.

That's intimate seat time, during which you either grow to love or hate a car. Suffice it to say that I could have easily driven the 740iL another 5,000 miles without any regrets.

This is a car with everything -- luxury, safety, performance and price, the latter of which is pretty darned big. But, what the heck?

BMW has two 740-series models -- the regular-wheelbase (115.4 inches) 740i and the long-wheelbase (120.9 inches) 740iL. Wheelbase is a measure of the centerline distance between the front and rear wheels. Generally speaking, the longer the wheelbase, the smoother the ride.

Otherwise, the 740-series BMW cars are identical. Both are rear-drive models powered by a 4-liter, 32-valve, double-overhead cam V-8 engine rated 282 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Max torque is set at 295 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm.

Both cars have standard five-speed automatic transmissions -- yep, five-speed automatics -- equipped with BMW's Adaptive Transmission Control (ATC) system. Simply put, this transmission thinks for you, automatically and precisely choosing the right gear to match your driving style, road conditions and the particular driving situation -- say, open flight along Interstate 85, or alleged driving in beaucoup congested Boston.

Of course, dual air bags and four-wheel power disc brakes are standard, along with a four-wheel anti-lock braking system. Also standard are front and rear stabilizer bars and an all-season traction control system.

The 740i and 740iL seat five people comfortably.

Complaints: That laminated wood fascia on the center console reflects sun at all of the wrong angles, sometimes blinding the driver. I had to cover the thing with dark cloth.

Praise: Overall superior automotive engineering. Rigidly constructed passenger cabin. It's like driving a rocket-powered vault.

Head-turning quotient: Super neck-snap power, which is odd, because the 740iL isn't especially beautiful. But it has undeniable presence.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Triple aces. Excellent braking -- minimum body lurch and sway in panic stops.

Mileage: About 21 miles per gallon. Fuel capacity is 22.5 gallons. Estimated range is 465 miles on usable volume of recommended premium unleaded gasoline, running mostly highway and driv r only with light cargo.

Sound system: Ten-speaker AM/FM stereo radio and cassette with trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer installed by BMW. Superb.

Price: Base price is $61,900. Dealer's invoice is $51,630 on base model. Price as tested is $69,000, including an estimated $2,890 in federal luxury taxes, $2,640 in options, a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax and a $570 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: Compare with Infiniti Q45, Jaguar XJ6, Lexus LS 400, Mercedes-Benz S420 and, hee-hee, because I love it, the Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe.


    Expert Reviews 1 of 4

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