Model (Code / Model Year): BMW 730d (F01 / 2009)
Engine: 3 liter 6-cylinder (in-line) diesel engine
Transmission: 6 speed automatic transmission
Paintwork & Interior + interior trim + wheels: Sapphire Black Metallic: leather Dakota black + brushed aluminum trim + styling 233 17-inch alloy wheels (245/55 R 17)
Optional Equipment: 6 disc DVD changer, BMW Assist online portal, USB audio interface, Voice Control, Loudspeaker System BMW Business, Navigation-system Professional, Bluetooth phone prep + telematics, Bootlid operation (powered), Electric Glass Sunroof, Instrument panel with leather finish, Lumbar support (driver and front passenger), Seat heating (front & rear), Sunblind side windows and rear windscreen (electric), four-zone automatic climate control, Comfort seats (front), TV function, Adaptive Headlights, Dynamic Drive, Lane Change warning, Lane departure warning, Park Distance Control (front & rear), Active Cruise Control with “Stop & Go” function, High-beam Assistant, Integral Active Steering, Speed limit display, Smokers package, Through-loading ski bag, Comfort Access
Performance: 245hp / 540nm
0 to 100km/h: 7,2sec
Top speed: 245km/h (153mp/h)
Fuel tank (US gallons): 80 liter (21.13 US gallons)
Fuel consumption in liter / 100km (U.S. miles per gallon): 9,5 liter / 100 kilometer (26,14mpg / US)
Price (Germany): €100.510
F01 engines driven: 730d, 750Li
With the 7-series, BMW traditionally introduces a new concept for both the exterior and interior of its new model range. In 2008 the F01 / F02 (long-wheel base) was introduced, quickly followed by the BMW 5-series GT (F07) in 2009 and the new 5-series (F10 / F11) in 2010, all sharing the same design philosophy.
One of the most notable aspects of the new 7-series´ exterior design are the two massive front kidneys that look like they suck in every small car that may have strayed onto the left lane. Apart from the massive nose, the design is much more conservative and sleeker then that of its notable Bangle design predecessor. Suttle chrome accents highlight the business like design, while modern LED technology is giving the car a modern touch.
BMW already had been using LED-technology in the rear light units, however as a new design feature a new `L-shaped` design has been introduced and can be found across the BMW-range (3-series LCI, 5-series F10, X5 LCI, new X3 F25 etc.).
2. Engine, Transmission & handling
BMW has been downsizing its engines in order to meet new regulations and emission standards. This has resulted in abandoning the 5.0 liter V8 engine in favour of a 4.4 liter V8 engines combined with two turbo´s to still increase output. For the exact same reason BMW does not offer a V8 diesel engine anymore (745d) but instead has chosen to offer a new 740d with a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder biturbo engine which concept already proved to be succesful in the 335d / 535d.
There has been a shift in perception over the years, only 15 years ago (when the 725tds was on sale) is was almost unthinkable to order a luxury car with a diesel engine, but nowadays the majority of 7-series sold are fitted with a 3 liter 6-cylinder diesel engine. But how does such a relatively small engine performe in luxury car?
To my opinion, it performs very well. Not only are the 245 horses enough for fast overland traveling, the 540nm of torque also makes acceleration a simple task (in comparison 740i: 450nm; 750i: 600nm). After driving 2000km the result was an average fuel consumption of just 9,5l on 100km or 26,14mpg / US. With a 80 liter tank this gives the car a range of about 850 kilometers or 530 miles. If you feel that the 730d does not satisfy the hunger for performance, the 740d is a good alternative, as it produces 306hp and 600nm (same as the 750i!) but still has the same 3.0 liter engine with only slightly higher running costs.
Before you start thinking that the comparison between diesel and petrol engines, between V8´s and R6´s, is unfair, please keep in mind that I am not trying to compare performance but the everyday practicality by looking at the range of different type´s of cars and engines!
Convenience is the keyword, for example, if you drive 40.000km per year with a 730d you have to stop 48 times for fuel (79 times with a 750i). These type of cars will mostly been drivin by executives, they have the cash to pay the premium for a petrol V8, but they are busy they usually lack time. When we consider that the average tank stop takes about 10 minutes, the average executive will not only be bothered 31 times more with having to stop to refuel, but also lose more then 5 hours each year to unproductive time at the gas station. Or to put it in another way, the 730d-driver has to stop every 7,6 days for fuel, while the 750i driver has to stop every 4,6 days.
Fuel consumption of the 730d is excellent, compared to its direct competitors it uses about 1 to 2 liters less. Standard, a 6-speed automatic gearbox is fitted to the car, which is still the old type of gearbox from the predecessor 7-series. This is quite remarkable, as the new 5-series & 5-series GT are already fitted with the new 8-speed automatic gearbox (as are the ActiveHybrid 7, 740d xDrive and 760i). Probably the 8-speed was not yet available when the 7-series was introduced in 2008 (the aforementioned 7-series have been introduced later), so it is probable that all models will be fitted with the new gearbox in the near future.
BMW offers `Dynamic Drive` for the 7-series (also available on the 5-series), and it has a significant impact on the handling of the car. Dynamic Drive has 4 mode´s, comfort, normal, sport and sport+. It does not only effect the suspension, in which Dynamic Drive counteracts the role in corners, but also the steering, the trottle (gas pedal), the transmission and the engine. In comfort mode it softens the car while in sport mode it is increasingly stiffer. In sport+ it not only stiffens up the steering, suspension + sharpens the pedal response but it also partially switches of the DSC and other electronic systems.
Therefore the handling of a 7-series with Dynamic Drive can vary from setting to setting, however its BMW genes will always point more towards a more sporty drive and not reach the comfort level of a Mercedes Benz S-class.
Regardless which German premium car is choses, the build quality in them is excellent and no big differences exist. It is ultimately the personal preference that decides what is most suitable.
As with the exterior, the interior of the 7-series is the first to introduce a new layout that will be enrolled through the range. Several notable changes have been made, the gear selector has moved from the steering wheel back to the center console, some extra buttons have been fitted to the iDrive knob, the buttons for the seats have moved from the center console to the side of the seat, new software for the entertainment / navigation unit has been installed.
Not everything has changed, the center console and the automatic air conditioning are pretty much the same unit in the same place, altough it now has a modern interface and appearance. That last remark can be applied to the whole cockpit layout, it is a very modern cockpit while the driver can operate it very easily. And another thing that did not change was the build quality, this 730d was equipped with a leather dash, and combined with the excellent build quality it satisfies the demands one might expect from a luxury car in this class.
The only critique is the position of the buttons for the seats, as the driver cannot see them he / she has to feel what button is used. Especially the buttons for the lumbar support are hard to find and can create some annoyance. Another small point of bother are the comfort seats, they are praised as to be one of the best seats on the market, because of the many positions it can be put into. To my experience however, it can take a while until one can find the perfect seating position, that why I usually prefer regular sport seats, they lack the options and one can almost find immediately a good seating position. But I have to admit that this is more of a luxury problem than a real issue of the 7-series.
As any car in this class, the 7-series is BMW´s showcase of technical performance. Many innovations are first used in these type of cars before they are transferred to `lower` series. It is not a surprise that the F01 also is packed with a lot of new features, of which some I will discuss here.
For a video of the technical features please watch the two video´s below:
This section discusses (part of) the optional equipment available on the F01. Ranking from 1 (definitely a yes), 2 (nice to have, but not a minimum requirement) to 3 (not worth the money).
- 6 disc DVD changer, ranking 3
- BMW Assist online portal, ranking 1
- USB audio interface, ranking 1
- Voice Control, ranking 2
- Loudspeaker System BMW Business, ranking 1
- Navigation-system Professional, ranking 1
- Bootlid operation (powered), ranking 1
- Electric Glass Sunroof, ranking 1
- Instrument panel with leather finish, ranking 2
- Lumbar support (driver and front passenger), ranking 2
- Seat heating (front & rear), ranking 1
- Sunblind side windows and rear windscreen (electric), ranking 2
- four-zone automatic climate control, ranking 2
- Comfort seats (front), ranking 2
- TV function, ranking 2
- Adaptive Headlights, ranking 2
- Dynamic Drive, ranking 1
- Lane Change warning, ranking 1
- Lane departure warning, ranking 2
- Park Distance Control (front & rear), ranking 1
- Active Cruise Control with “Stop & Go” function,
- High-beam Assistant, ranking 2
- Integral Active Steering, ranking 1
- Speed limit display, ranking 1
- Comfort Access, ranking 3
- Sideview, ranking 2
- Nightvision, ranking 3
A new era at BMW has been introduced with the F01 / F02. Not only is it one of the most ergonomical cars in the market, it is also one of the most economical cars. In the luxury market the BMW 730d F01 provides very good value for money. Apart from the platform itself, that has an excellent build quality and drives very well, it also is an excellent online platform that offers the driver the full benefit of a car connected to the internet. BMW is leading the way technologically and both Mercedes Benz and Audi will have a hard time to match these levels of technology.
Pictures of the BMW 730d in black and a BMW 750Li can be found in the gallery, click to enter:
For video´s on the performance (acceleration and flat out) of the BMW 730d F01, please watch the two video´s below: