By Wayne Gorrett
✔ Sharp handling, luxurious interior, superb build quality and refinement, rear space by the acre, efficient 3.0-litre diesel.
✖ High running costs.
☀ ☀ ☀
As land-yachts go, there are at most a handful of cars that can lay a genuine competitive claim against the BMW 730Ld, the long-wheelbase version of the standard 7-Series, which itself carries significant road gravitas.
The BMW 730Ld has been around for some time but remains the leading choice of chauffeurs and business users. The standard LWB version, priced at £66,645, offers an additional 14cms of legroom for rear seat passengers over the standard 7-Series and a raft of optional enhancements aimed at cocooning occupants in a luxurious, high-tech environment.
As is often the case with Press cars, this one was packed to the roof lining with £18,327 worth of optional extras including huge 20” alloys, adaptive LED headlights, ‘Comfort’ seats throughout, Executive Plus package (M Sport), colour head-up display, rear-seat ‘BMW Professional’ entertainment system and an arms-length list of other goodies. The total price for the model tested – a tad under £85,000.
The BMW 730Ld builds on the standard-wheelbase specification with self-leveling rear suspension, illuminated interior rear vanity mirrors and an electrically-powered sunblind for the rear window.
The test car was enhanced with optional and multi-adjustable ‘Comfort’ seats for both front and rear seat passengers, with the rear set complemented by individual heating and air-conditioning with massaging capability. Terribly posh and impressively opulent it all feels.
Two levels of rear entertainment package completes the initial bespoke passenger experience. The BMW Executive Plus package (M Sport) comprises twin adjustable 8-inch flat screen monitors with a remote control. The system is flexible enough to permit two different programmes, DVDs or MP3 devices and games consoles to be played or viewed at the same time.
The BMW 730Ld M Sport wafts effortlessly along under the power of an all-aluminium 3.0-litre straight-six cylinder diesel engine that produces 258bhp at 4,000rpm. A peak torque figure of 560Nm is attained from 1,750rpm through to 3,000rpm and this results in a blurring 0-62mph dash of just 6.2 seconds, topping out at 155mph. Its 148g/km emission figure is class-leading for conventionally powered luxury cars, as is its 50.4mpg (combined) fuel consumption figure. The BMW 730Ld comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission with electronic gear selector and Steptronic function.
The full BMW 7-Series range features ‘brake energy regeneration’ that uses the engine’s power on overrun, such as braking, to charge the battery for the car’s electrical system. Other ancillaries, such as the air-conditioning compressor, are also able to disengage to improve the all-round performance of the car.
‘Drive Dynamic Control’ (DDC) featuring Variable Damping Control (VDC) is standard on the 730Ld. DDC is the holistic function that permits customisation of the characteristics of the car. VDC can be set in comfort, normal, sport and sport+ modes. However, these settings are infinitely variable depending on the style of driving and road surface. The selected mode alters throttle response, gear change speed and dynamic steering feel.
Despite its size, the 730Ld feels reasonably agile and corners with far less body roll than one might expect and delivers sharp, responsive steering, excellent driver involvement, crisp gear changes and truly luxurious ride comfort.
The engine is smooth, potent and very efficient. The BMW 730Ld M Sport interior quality is hard to fault and there is a raft of clever technology to experience. It is very well accomplished in many areas – particularly comfort and refinement – and a delight to drive with a diligently-applied dollop of enthusiasm.
One can only hope that most owners afford themselves a chance to drive it. Sorry James, but I would delight in writing up your P45.