2015 BMW 740

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$27,871–$46,655 Inventory Prices
(4.7) 3 reviews
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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2015 BMW 740. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    22-26 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    315-hp, 3.0-liter I-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • Low-speed power
  • Efficiency
  • Interior quality and luxury
  • Seating comfort

The Bad

  • Not as efficient as competitors
  • Nonlinear brakes
  • Diesel smells in cold weather start-up
  • Nickel-and-dimed on almost every option

Notable Features of the 2015 BMW 740

  • New turbocharged diesel engine
  • Classy styling
  • Hybrid version
  • Regular- and extended-length models
  • Available AWD

2015 BMW 740 Road Test

Aaron Bragman

Opting for a diesel engine in the BMW 7 Series gets you all the luxury and speed of the gas-powered German luxury flagship, with the added bonus of better fuel efficiency.

The BMW 7 Series flagship is pretty much everything you'd expect in a big German luxury car: lots of power, lots of technology and lots of room. What you might not expect is to have a turbocharged diesel engine under the hood delivering frugality and power in equal measures to buyers who forgo gas engines in favor of something more exotic. You might also not expect to have to pay extra for features that can be had standard on vehicles costing tens of thousands of dollars less, but that's also true with the 2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive.

BMW has put a new 3.0-liter diesel engine under the hood of the 7 Series for 2015. It's available in long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive models only. Aside from the diesel addition, there are no differences between the 2014 and 2015 7 Series. For 2014, it received a new digital instrument cluster that replaced actual gauges, but there haven't been any major changes to the 7 Series since its last redesign in 2009. Compare the 2015 and 2014 models here.

Exterior & Styling
The current-generation 7 Series is long, low and mean-looking, with optional LED halo-style headlights. Long character lines stretch along the smooth sides to a rear end that's also more subdued and understated. The overall look is one of restrained power, and even several years into its curre...

Opting for a diesel engine in the BMW 7 Series gets you all the luxury and speed of the gas-powered German luxury flagship, with the added bonus of better fuel efficiency.

The BMW 7 Series flagship is pretty much everything you'd expect in a big German luxury car: lots of power, lots of technology and lots of room. What you might not expect is to have a turbocharged diesel engine under the hood delivering frugality and power in equal measures to buyers who forgo gas engines in favor of something more exotic. You might also not expect to have to pay extra for features that can be had standard on vehicles costing tens of thousands of dollars less, but that's also true with the 2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive.

BMW has put a new 3.0-liter diesel engine under the hood of the 7 Series for 2015. It's available in long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive models only. Aside from the diesel addition, there are no differences between the 2014 and 2015 7 Series. For 2014, it received a new digital instrument cluster that replaced actual gauges, but there haven't been any major changes to the 7 Series since its last redesign in 2009. Compare the 2015 and 2014 models here.

Exterior & Styling
The current-generation 7 Series is long, low and mean-looking, with optional LED halo-style headlights. Long character lines stretch along the smooth sides to a rear end that's also more subdued and understated. The overall look is one of restrained power, and even several years into its current design the 7 Series still looks modern and turns heads. Apart from exterior badging, the diesel is indistinguishable from the gas version.

How It Drives
The 740Ld may not look different from your average gas-powered 740, but swapping the smooth, sweet, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine for a 3.0-liter, diesel six-cylinder definitely changes the driving experience. Where the gas version has 315 horsepower and 332 pounds-feet of torque, the diesel makes just 255 hp but a sizable 413 pounds-feet of torque down low in the rev range — from just 1,500 to 3,000 rpm. That means acceleration off the line is surprisingly quick; it takes 6.1 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph, according to the manufacturer, and my seat-of-the-pants meter confirmed this isn't an unlikely claim.

Power for passing on highway stretches, however, is a little less forthcoming. You'll need to plan ahead a little, as the low-revving diesel runs out of steam when you're already hitting 70 mph and looking to get around slower traffic. It's not stodgy, but at highway speeds it's not sprightly, either.

It's also not very loud, with a calm, easy cruising volume in the cabin that makes conversation between front and backseat occupants easy. There's almost no clue that you're driving a diesel except on very cold mornings, when startup produces a noxious odor, like your average city bus. Once warmed up, it's as smooth and relatively odor-free as a gas engine.

If you're looking for the 740Ld's main rival, look to Audi, where the A8L TDI has a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6. If you want the engine, you'll likewise have to opt for a long-wheelbase version with quattro all-wheel drive. The Audi diesel outguns the 740Ld's 3.0-liter engine, making 240 hp but 428 pounds-feet of torque. It propels the slightly lighter A8L from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, according to "MotorWeek" testing. The Audi also handles better, with electronic drive modes that are more adjustable than those in the BMW.

The other flagship luxury sedan with an alternative powertrain is the Lexus LS 600h L, a long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive hybrid variant of the Japanese brand's top offering. It's considerably heavier than either of the German sedans and doesn't feature the same kind of content, space or cargo room.

The 740Ld is the most efficient 7 Series, scoring an EPA-estimated 23/31/26 mpg city/highway/combined, which is better than the gas-powered 740Li xDrive's 19/28/22 mpg. It even bests the ActiveHybrid 7L model, which manages 22/30/25 mpg, but it doesn't outscore the A8L TDI's truly impressive numbers: 24/36/28 mpg, which our own testing bears out. My week of combined driving in the 740Ld, including plenty of highway time, netted about 27.4 mpg, which isn't bad for a big sedan but isn't much better than the 25 mpg I achieved in a gas-powered 2013 740Li. My personal experience with the Audi A8L TDI, though, netted 34.1 mpg with no disadvantage in performance, smoothness or usability.

The diesel is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, but to get the most out of it you have to put it in one of two driver-selectable Sport modes. Accelerator response is quicker, shifts are snappier and the car just feels more ready to dance than when left in one of the two Comfort modes. The selectable modes make a significant difference in the feel of the car, changing everything from suspension damping to steering feel and engine response.

For ferrying passengers, the Comfort modes offer a cushy, floaty ride that suits the car's limousinelike rear-passenger accommodations. If it's just you in there, however, and the road beckons with the promise of entertaining curves, switch into a Sport mode and enjoy the responsive, entertaining sedan that the 740Ld becomes. Still, the Audi A8L offers more adjustability, with a custom mode for mixing and matching different attributes to suit your tastes.

Interior
Spending as much on a luxury sedan as you could on a small house should mean the car feels like something special, and the 740Ld does not disappoint. Interior materials are top-drawer, with impressive build quality and attention to detail. Soft-touch plastics, high-quality leather and wood, and smooth motions on buttons and knobs reinforce the 740Li's status as the company's top-of-the-line sedan. Some of the interior controls are a little questionable in their function, such as a transmission gear selector that doesn't have the traditional PRNDL gates but rather requires different motions for different functions; it looks like something out of a Toyota Prius. "Park" is activated by a button on top, for example, which is too easy to push if you rest your hand on the shifter to change the stereo.

The Audi A8L is easily as nice as the BMW inside, and maybe just a little bit nicer in terms of its plastic quality and assembly. The Lexus LS 600h L is equally comfortable but physically smaller and heavier than either of the two Germans. That shows up in an interior that's narrower and shorter than the BMW or Audi, and despite the availability of some truly unique interior color and wood combinations, the Lexus does not feel as luxurious as the other two sedans.

Backseat passengers have it good in the 740Ld. The extended wheelbase adds 5.5 inches to the cabin, all of it behind the front seats. Changes to the roof of long-wheelbase models add almost another half-inch of headroom to the backseat. The result is a deceptively large car on the inside that doesn't look that huge on the outside. Compared with the Audi, the BMW has more rear legroom, at 44.3 inches, but you'll be hard-pressed to notice that extra 1.4 inches given how much space you have to stretch out. The Lexus LS 600h L isn't quite as long, giving rear passengers just 36.7 inches of backseat legroom.

Ergonomics & Electronics
BMW's once-infamous iDrive multimedia system works fairly well in its latest iteration — not perfectly (it still requires multiple steps to do things like adjust radio presets or switch among media), but for functions like navigation and vehicle adjustments, the iDrive system works acceptably well. What worked far more than acceptably, however, was the optional Bang & Olufsen premium audio system in my test car, which was one of the most outstanding sound systems I have tested in an automobile: exceptional clarity, bone-shaking bass and a high end that makes the hairs on your arms stand on edge. It was simply fantastic. The 740Ld's navigation system also earns praise for its clarity, sophisticated graphics and the repetition of directional graphics from the optional head-up display that's projected on the windshield. The only bit of weirdness in the interior is the location of the trunk-lid release switch, which sits on the lower dash panel by the driver's foot.

Cargo & Storage
The 740Ld's trunk is a big one, featuring 17.7 cubic feet of room. This bests the Audi A8L's surprisingly cramped 13.2 cubic feet of space and positively dwarfs the Lexus' hybrid-system-constrained 10.1 cubic feet. Split, folding rear seats can expand cargo room in all of them, but only in the Lexus is the feature standard; the BMW and Audi make it an option.

Safety
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the 7 Series — or most competing luxury cars. The 7 Series has a few standard electronic safety aids, like attention assistant, parking assist sensors and a backup camera, but most advanced features are optional, even at this high price tag. For example, my test car had an optional night-vision system, but no automatic distance-keeping cruise control, blind spot warning, lane keep assist or lane departure warning. Most notably, it doesn't offer forward collision warning, which has found its way into cars as modest as the compact Subaru Impreza. See the 740Ld's list of safety equipment here.

Value in Its Class
BMW has priced its sedan quite competitively given its main competitors' range of prices. Like other vehicles in this segment, one can double the sticker price of a base model with options. My 740Ld xDrive started at $83,450 (including destination fee) and included equipment like LED fog lights, xenon headlights with halo effects, heated and powered front seats, a power moonroof, navigation, a backup camera and keyless access. Like all BMWs, however, if you want a decently equipped one you have to start adding options.

My test car added $4,600 for its M Sport Package (which brings a head-up display, 19-inch wheels, 20-way adjustable ventilated seats, soft-close doors, a leather dashboard, and top- and side-view cameras), $800 for a Cold Weather Package, $3,700 for the Bang & Olufsen sound system, $1,900 for LED headlights, $4,800 for the Executive Package, another $1,300 for 20-inch wheels, $2,500 for adaptive-drive suspension control, $1,000 for powered rear and side sunshades, $650 for ceramic interior trim bits, $500 for Bluetooth phone access and $2,300 for the night vision camera. The overall price as tested for my 740Ld xDrive came to a lofty $107,500. This isn't the top end of the price spectrum for a 7 Series, either; you can option a V-12 760Li to nearly $170,000. Option one up to your specs here.

That might seem like a lot, but it's fully competitive with other vehicles at this level. One would expect its most direct competitor to be a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but for 2015 the new S-Class is no longer offered with a diesel engine. That's expected to change eventually, but the old S350 Bluetec is no more. The sportier Audi A8L TDI is the only other big diesel sedan offered in the market, starting at $86,025. That's a higher starting price, but the A8L TDI has more standard features. It can be optioned up the same way as the 740Ld to easily top $100,000. The only other player in this rarified air is the Lexus LS 600h L, the hybrid version of Lexus' flagship sedan. Compared even with fully loaded versions of the two German sedans, however, the Lexus' base price of $121,365 seems almost unbelievable. More unbelievable is that even at that price you still have to pay another $6,500 for lane keep assist and dynamic cruise control — features that are included on high-end versions of cars costing $100,000 less.  Compare the BMW 740Ld with its competitors here.

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What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
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Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

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Good buy as low milage used car

by Hoove12 from Dallas, TX on May 31, 2018

This car does what you expect, which is get you from point A to point B in comfort. While the 750i is quicker and sportier, the 740i does the job. The six cylinder preforms better than most companies ... Read full review

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Dream Car

by UPS Man from indian shores, florida on May 19, 2018

This car has every amenity you can think of and more. I am a 6'3 man and can sit comfortably in the front and the back. There is no need for driver or passenger to move up. Unbelievable ride. This ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 BMW 740 currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2015 BMW 740 has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by BMW

Program Benefits

Comprehensive inspection by BMW technician, 24/7 Roadside Assistance, BMW Assist. Exceptional vehicles with exceptional coverage

  • Limited Warranty

    Unlimited Miles for 1-Year

    BMW Certified Pre-Owned: Covers you for unlimited miles for 1-year, after the expiration o f the 4-year / 50,000 mile New Vehicle/SAV Limited Warranty for a total of 5 years with unlimited miles. This includes up to 5 years and unlimited miles of BMW Roadside Assistance and BMW Assist (TM) on many late model BMW vehicles. Additional plans are available to extend your vehicle's coverage for up to a total of 6 years with unlimited miles. See your BMW Center for details.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Comprehensive inspection.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 740 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker