Say what you want about the new BMW 7 Series, but it makes a statement. At 5,385 millimetres (212 inches) in length, with a massive grille in front, it's imposing and almost sinister, like something Emperor Palpatine would ride around in with Darth Vader at the wheel. It's also supremely comfortable and virtually unflappable, an ideal imperial cruiser for touring the galaxy, or at least the Autobahn at 155 mph.
Even though the fully electric i7 gets most of the attention in the 2023 7 Series lineup, the 740d stands on its own merit. It's propelled by a 3.0-litre inline-six diesel, xDrive all-wheel drive and uses a 48V mild-hybrid drive train connected to the eight-speed automatic transmission. In the video, it wastes no time getting up to speed on the Autobahn yet cruises serenely and quietly at speeds in excess of 150 mph.
The hybrid diesel combination produces 300 bhp and 494 pound-feet of torque. That's good for a 0 to 60 mph time of about 5.8 seconds and a top speed of over 155 mph. The numbers alone don't seem that remarkable, but how the big Bimmer goes about its business is impressive.
A muted but unmistakable growl of the inline-six engine accompanies acceleration. It sounds nothing like the diesel engines we think of, with an agrarian clatter. Instead, it's smooth, the revs rising and falling to produce a groundswell or torque with only the lower rev limit betraying its diesel heritage. Rudolph Diesel would be equal parts proud and gobsmacked at the refinement of his invention.
In our review of the BMW i7, we called it the "Rolls Royce of Bimmers," noting that it was easily the most upscale 7 Series BMW has ever built. While the styling is certainly not pretty, the car itself is a technical tour de force. In every sense, it is a German Rolls Royce, competing more with the 2023 Mercedes Maybach S580e as opposed to its traditional rival, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.