2015 BMW 740Ld XDrive First Look
The 7 Series Becomes BMW’s Seventh DieselNo soot for this sedan
It is a flourishing time for diesel passenger cars and SUVs in the United States, as an increasing number of diesels are hitting showroom floors and enjoying a decent level of acceptance. Americans are finally getting their feet wet in versions of the cool diesel cars that the international market has enjoyed for some time. Younger generations are seeing diesel cars on American streets for the first time and luckily only view them as the clean, efficient, torque monsters into which they have evolved. However, the recent diesel boom is more a return of—rather than beginning of—the story of diesel passenger cars in America.
Rewinding nearly 35 years to 1981, sales of diesel passenger cars actually peaked at 520,788. General Motors, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, and Datsun all had a diesel presence. However, lawsuits, tougher emissions standards, and declining gasoline prices led to decreased diesel sales by the mid-'80s. Where was BMW? The German automaker was late—but not completely absent—to the diesel scene. Anyone who can afford the BMW highlighted in this story may remember the turbocharged 2.4L inline-six BMW 524td that was sold in the U.S. for the '85 and '86 model years. Claimed to be the fastest diesel in the world when it was introduced in 1983 (in Europe), it produced a whopping 115 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque and put down a stealthy 12-second 0-to-60 time. Unfortunately, by the mid-'80s, the demand for diesel and its efficiency had dwindled. Diesel passenger cars may have gone dormant, but the technology fueling modern diesels was only just beginning.
Jumping to the present, it's good to see BMW is not done growing its modern Advanced Diesel lineup in the United States, which it began establishing in 2009 with the 335d and X5 xDrive 35d, as the flagship fullsize 7 Series is the latest model line to receive a diesel engine option. If ever a vehicle were to combat the smoky, noisy, and clattery negative stereotypes of diesel, this would be the one. Making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show, the '15 BMW 740Ld xDrive sedan became the seventh BMW Advanced Diesel model, joining the 328d and 328d xDrive Sedans, 328d xDrive Sports Wagon, 535d and 535d xDrive Sedans, and X5 xDrive35d Sports Activity Vehicle. The 740Ld xDrive is a long-wheelbase model ("L" designation) that includes BMW's intelligent all-wheel-drive system called xDrive. It joins the 740i, 740Li, and 740Li XDrive sedans. The 7 Series maximizes BMW's BluePerformance clean diesel engine and EfficientDynamics vehicle design strategies in order to reduce CO2, improve fuel economy, and preserve the performance of the Ultimate Driving Machine.
The 2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive Sedan will benefit from BMW Advanced Diesel technology in the form of a 3.0L inline-six TwinPower diesel engine that makes 255 hp at 4,000 rpm and 413 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm. Although fuel economy numbers have not yet been released, a 25 to 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency (over the gasoline-powered equivalent) has been attained by other models equipped with this engine, which include the 535d and X5 xDrive35d. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds—slightly slower than the 5.7-second launch of the 535d—and has a top speed of 130 mph.
A single Garrett turbocharger (instead of the previous twin-turbo) with variable vane turbine technology, or variable turbine geometry (VTG), differentiates this generation from the last. Boost is varied by electronically controlled vanes that change angles to control exhaust flow against the turbine blades, helping improve low-end torque, facilitating precise control of boost pressure, eliminating the need for a wastegate, lowering emissions, and maximizing engine efficiency.
The 3.0L's all-aluminum block, head, and crankcase save weight and contribute to noise and vibration reduction, as do its hollow camshafts. The camshaft timing chain is placed at the flywheel end—not toward the front of the engine—which further reduces rotational vibrations. An electronically controlled Bosch high-pressure common-rail direct injection fuel system has normal operating pressures as high as 1,800 bar (26,107 psi), and the solenoid-type fuel injectors can deliver multiple injections over extremely short durations of time.
The BluePerformance emissions system, consisting of a NOX storage catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system—with at least nine specific sensors—helps the 7 Series stay clean with low emissions and comply with ULEV II (ultra-low-emission-vehicle) emissions standards.
Being the luxury sedan that it is, the 740Ld xDrive comes with enough standard features to distract even the most unimpressed occupant. Its perks include dynamic stability control (DSC), dynamic damper control, hill descent control, intermittent rain-sensing windshield wipers with adjustable and vehicle-speed-sensitive wiping interval, park distance control, and dynamic cruise control for driving. The cockpit features a dynamic digital instrument cluster, rearview camera, tire pressure monitor, automatic four-zone climate control, two-way power moonroof, 12-speaker sound system, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Last but not least, the sedan features brake energy regeneration to convert kinetic energy into usable electrical power.
This 7 Series diesel should hit showroom floors as you read this. Packages and options could easily push this exorbitant $83,425 diesel-sipping machine straight into six-figure territory. Welcome to the new age of luxury diesel.
|Vehicle Model:||2015 BMW 740Ld xDrive Sedan|
|Base Price:||$83,425 (includes destination and handling)|
|Engine Type:||3.0L TwinPower I-6|
|Valvetrain:||DOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Aspiration:||Single Garrett VTG|
|Mfg. hp at rpm:||255 hp at 4,000 rpm|
|Mfg. torque at rpm:||413 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic with Automatic and Manual shift modes|
|Suspension (F/R):||Multi-link aluminum double-wishbone/ Integral-V aluminum multi-link; self-leveling rear air suspension|
|Steering:||Vehicle-speed-sensitive variable-assist, variable-ratio rack-and-power steering|
|Brakes:||Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with electronic brake proportioning|
|Wheels/Tires:||V Spoke (Style 425) 18x8-inch light alloy wheels and 245/50 run-flat all-season tires|
|Curb Weight:||4,685 pounds|
|Against the Competition: Audi vs. BMW|
|nbsp;||Audi A8 L TDI||BMW 740Ld xDrive|
|Length:||207.4 inches||205.3 inches|
|Width:||83.1 inches||84.0 inches|
|Weight:||4,564 pounds||4,685 pounds|
|Engine:||3.0L V-6 TDI||3.0L Advanced Diesel inline-six|
|HP/Torque:||240 hp/406 lb-ft||255 hp/413 lb-ft|
|Acceleration:||6.4 seconds (0 to 60 mph)||6.1 seconds (0 to 60 mph)|
|Fuel Economy:||24/36/28 city/hwy/combo||TBD|