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In its own way, the desert is one of the most beautiful biomes on planet Earth. The vast nothingness and the endless silence pierced only by the howls of the wind- it sure is enticing. That said, it is also one of the most extreme places you can find yourself in- extremely lonely and extremely desolate. With the right company though, things aren’t as bad. Especially if your company goes by the name of BMW 740Li.
Why do we say that? You see, the desert is a place where you realize the tenacity of man. Their ability to adapt to the harshest of conditions. You also realize that the machines that man makes are just as tenacious. But being able to deal with the conditions is one thing and dominating them is something else entirely. That is exactly what the BMW 740Li is capable of.
The 7-Series from BMW has always been known to be the pinnacle of luxury and it trades blows with the best of them when it comes to opulence. What that entailed on this particular outing of ours was complete and utter isolation from the elements. Outside, there are dry gusts of winds and heat that seems to vaporise everything in its path and you have no control over that. Inside the BMW 740Li, you have complete control of the ambience.
We were already expecting quite a bit from this big Beemer as we had driven it before but here, in these kinds of conditions, it simply blew our minds. On top of that, BMW has always been known to make drivers’ cars and the 740Li is no different. So regardless of whether you are sitting in the back or at the steering wheel, the 740Li aims to be your ideal companion.
Even during our journey from Delhi to Jaisalmer, we were already in awe of it. It is fast when you want it to but not supercar fast. Then again, it is not supercar brash either. Quite the opposite actually. Even when you are trying to give it the beans, it never relinquishes its mannerisms, grace, and elegance.
You can tell that by simply looking at the car. The silhouette, the stance, the proportions, the flow- everything is pleasing. The signature kidney grille, not to the taste of many, also grows on you and gels well with the sleek headlamps. BMW 740 Li’s design is not loud and shouty but calm and poised.
It is the same way on the inside. Just by looking at it from the outside, you can tell that it is a premium luxury car- exactly the sort of car that you expect from BMW. But you can never imagine what all you find on the inside. You want to brag about electronically adjustable seats? Why not brag about heated, ventilated seats with a massage function instead?
It is a big car too. The length of the car sits north of 5 metres and that means that you get a very generous amount of space in the cabin- in the front and in the back. But without taking anything away from the driving experience, this is a car that is best enjoyed sitting in the back. The legroom, the headroom, and the overall surroundings- the poshest of the hotels will struggle to match what the BMW 740Li offers in this regard.
The 7-Series has been there for a while but thankfully it has not been stagnant. It has kept up with the times. Even in this day and age, it is on par with the times if not ahead. The BMW 740Li is laden with electronics and technology. The highlight is, of course, the famed BMW iDrive system. It lets you control every aspect of the car and we mean every in the most encompassing sense we can.
From the dynamics of the car to the ambient lighting and from the drive mode to climate control, everything is accessible and modifiable using nothing but the intuitive iDrive system. And guess what, there’s even a full-sized tablet at the back which serves a similar function in case you are feeling a little too tired (read privileged) to reach the front of the car.
Before we get too lazy, let us switch to the driver’s seat and let us see if the 740Li can uphold BMW’s tradition. After all, when you spend more than a crore on a car, you may find yourself quite curious about what you’re getting in return. We’d say a lot! If a supercar is what you’re looking for, you may contact BMW’s M-division. But let us tell you that this behemoth doesn’t half-pong either!
While the actual experience may serve as a better indicator, in this case, as you read our experience, numbers would suffice. It does 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. This is a 5.2m car that is loaded to the brim with tech and features and creature comforts. But it goes to 100 from a standstill in 5.5 seconds. That is quick… really quick!
The top speed is limited to 250 km/h, as is the case with most road-legal BMWs. But you do not want that kind of mass travelling at that kind of speed unless you are on a racetrack. And the racetrack is the only place where you may be able to see some limitations of its heft. But hey, we did mention that if a racetrack is where you want to be, talk M.
The engine that propels the BMW 740Li is an absolute gem. The 3-litre twin-turbo straight-six is one of the signature dishes served by BMW and it is delicious. You have 340 horses and 450 Nm of torque on tap which is more than enough. But more than anything, the mannerisms of the engine are what you’re going to love the most.
It is smooth like whipped cream and it is never devoid of grunt. Turbo-lag? Unless you belong to the Senna or Schumacher family, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell. We couldn’t… to some extent. The redline is lofty and if you do reach it, you finally realize that the BMW 740Li is powered by a traditional internal combustion engine.
It is refined and quiet almost throughout the rev range but at the top, it does make its presence felt. While the cabin remains nearly whisper-quiet even then, if you want you can put the Harmon-Kardon sound system to some good use and call upon Beethoven to perform for you. Or Freddie Mercury.
How does it handle? Unlike any 1,800 kg car is expected to. And that is what makes cars from BMW such darlings. Even when you load them with all the comforts on God’s green earth, they still feel intent and willing to push hard. And again, this is a car that gets 515 litres of boot space!
The air-suspension is a major contributor to that. Simply switch to Sport and you’ll know. It is responsive and rarely lets you feel its weight. The steering feels very organic too. And then, when the tarmac does not support any sort of exciting driving, the suspension suddenly turns into something that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the clouds.
Opportunities that let you experience something like this are rare. Opportunities that let you experience something like this in the vast openness of the desert are rarer. We made the most of the one we got. And what can we say; it has been a sheer pleasure.