F02 BMW 730Li tested

By GEORGE WONG | 10 December 2014



Watch the video preview of the next G12 7 Series at the end of this review (April 2015)


Watching Bruce Willis in comedy thriller Red 2, you would think action heroes don’t die. They just fade away.

While Rotten Tomatoes didn’t think highly of it, Red 2 was actually entertaining as Frank Moses – the character Willis played – and his unlikely crew of operatives went on to beat the crap out of villains and saved the world.

In between, the screenwriters shovel in all the gratuitous violence, explosions and wit to keep it together.

Red 2 proved a pleasant distraction from the dreadful crawl of downtown traffic.

BMW 730Li

It’s an opinion formed from the back seat of a BMW 7 Series. It’s quite a vantage point to while away an hour or so in air-conditioned amusement amidst changing scenery. And thanks to a friend – acting as driver of the day – we got to travel as rich imposters being driven hither and thither.

It has been many moons since we took the 730Li, and the point about BMW’s flagship model being a car to chauffeur you around is as valid as ever. After all, it is designed to be a luxury limo to pamper rear passengers, albeit with yearnings to be a driver’s car.

While front row gets standard seats, the two passengers at the rear benefit from so-called comfort seats that can be adjusted to various angles for maximum comfort.

With such seating flexibility, it’s likely you will find your sweet spot, relax and be swept along in style.

BMW 730Li

Two separately controllable 9.2” monitors hooked to the back of the front seats plus 12 speakers offer rear seat entertainment; a personal iDrive Touch Controller in the rear centre armrest lets you flip through your personal menu of programmes. You also have access to the navigation system and other connected devices such as mobile phones.

What’s a limo without generous rear passenger space?

In this respect, the 730Li is not wanting, thanks to a long wheelbase that pampers the passengers even more. Little details like foot rests, soft-close doors and the ability to shove an empty front passenger seat all the way to the front adds to the premium factor.

The dashboard looks, well, like a BMW – clean and business-like, with a large centre display flanked by burled walnut trim, and the signature gearshifter, iDrive controller and drive mode buttons on the centre console. Paddle shifters for the eight gears are absent from this base 7 Series.

The Dakota leather upholstery adds contrast to the cabin and exterior paintwork.

The 730Li is also loaded up with a colour Head-up Display (HUD), a multi-functional display and various driving assist features such as Lane Departure, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation and Pedestrian Protection.

BMW 730Li

The multi-functional display certainly is cool as it is able to adjust the display based on the drive modes.

Alas, the test car didn’t come with these enhancements as it was a pre-upgrade model introduced locally in early 2013.

The 730Li has undeniable presence as it barrels down the highway. The exterior is characterised by short overhangs, clear side lines and a long bonnet, resulting in balanced proportions that resonate sporty elegance.

It is fronted by all-LED headlight clusters and an upright kidney grille with nine slats on each side and a redesigned bumper apron.

At the rear, the horizontal contouring, emphasised by the distinctive chrome strips, gives a sense of width.

The rear lights, set within a contrasting double L-shaped design, round off the picture with their striking night-time presence. In addition, the boot is big enough to gobble up whatever you might throw at it.

BMW 730Li

If you prefer to drive, the 730Li offers some measure of pleasure.

While the 740Li is turbocharged, the 730Li remains naturally aspirated.

The 3.0-litre petrol engine in the latter runs smooth and delivers a modest 258hp and 310Nm of torque to the rear wheels. The 730Li is 11% more efficient than its predecessor, chalking up fuel economy of 8.7 litres per 100km and CO2 emission of 202 grams per km.

The nearly 1.9-tonne car proves sprightly enough, accelerating from 0-100kph in 7.5s to top out at 250kph.

The steering is accurate and on the heavy side.

BMW 730Li

BMW says the soundproofing has been upgraded to keep the interior hush; however wind noise tend to seep in at high speeds.

Suspension setting even in Comfort+ mode is much firmer than in a comparable Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But then BMW has always been about sporty performance and the stiffer ride fits in with that mantra.

For what it’s worth, the RM648,800 730Li is a decent product that performs well as a limo and spices it up should the owner decides he wants to take over the wheel.

Front passenger seat can be electrically moved all the way to the front at the flick of a switch from the passenger seat behind.




CarSifu's Rating: 7.5