2010 BMW 730d review, test drive
9th Dec 2009 8:00 am
BMW’s snub-nose limo is both very comfortable and very fast, fulfilling both the carmaker’s primary objectives easily
With a larger chassis to absorb more of the diesel motor’s vibrations and an uprated engine, this car is almost petrol-smooth. The 730Ld is an amazingly refined diesel. This is especially true if you are going to lounge on the rear seats, where the motor is all but inaudible.
Helping achieve this smoothness is a third-generation common-rail direct injection system. Rail pressure is up to 2000 bar, fast-acting Piezo injectors are used and the improvement in the timing and number of the injections makes the diesel run smoother. The motor’s usability is also greatly enhanced by how well it meshes with the six-speed gearbox.
The long wheelbase version rides particularly well on its adjustable dampers and softened rear self-leveling suspension, even on our poorly surfaced roads. Ride quality is very pliant and silent in ‘Comfort’, where only extreme road features make their presence felt. And this is despite the run-flat tyres.
The long-wheelbase 7-series has air springs in the rear but lacks the low speed ‘lift’ feature where ride height is increased. The car wallows a bit in ‘Comfort’ at speed, but then it’s better to select ‘Normal’ here. For more spirited driving, there’s also ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+. Agility in ‘Sport’ is pretty incredible for a car of its size. The dampers firm up nicely, the car shrinks around you and feels as agile as something much smaller.
High tech comes to the BMW’s aid here as the active rear wheel steering system helps make this car feel both more agile and stable than it is. The rear wheels are steered in the opposite direction at low speeds and the same way at higher speeds and the system really works well. It rolls a bit, the steering is surprisingly light for a BMW and that’s a bit of a disappointment.
The 7 is so comfortable that for once in a BMW it’s difficult to figure out which is the better seat to be in. Sure the 7 is a fun drive.