By the second day of me driving the BMW 740LE, I was wondering what I was doing driving the car. This is a large car, long wheel base and built for the comforts of the passengers seated behind.
Here I am eager to get into the driver’s seat each time and constantly flooring the pedal only to be informed that the battery has 0 km left in its range and I had to chuckle along using the 2.0L petrol engine. Mind you, it performed beautifully.
Lumbering two tonnes about in heavy traffic of Petaling Jaya is no easy feat but the BMW performs extremely well. Behind the wheel, you can barely tell that this is a huge and heavy car. Zipping through traffic and zig zagging amidst the slow pokes along the LDP was effortless. You only realize that the car is humongous when you start to park it but thanks to 360-degree camera views, even a monkey could park the car.
Carrying the family and heading towards the small town of Janda Baik, the drive was absolutely beautiful. I had great company, a great car and a route which will take me towards a small village where I promised my parents that we could spend the time having tea together. Stuffing in 4 adults and a baby (with a baby seat), we embarked on a drive towards the hillside. Cruising through the highways meant
I my parents could enjoy the tech available such as massage chairs and beautiful music belting away from my Spotify account to the amazing sound setup. Thanks to the BMW Gesture, I could easily annoy my parents by rotating my fingers around to increase and decrease the volume of the music.
After turning off from the Karak Highway which I easily dominated thanks to all of that power available to me, we headed off Genting Sempah for a short winding route towards Janda Baik. I switched to Sports mode and floored it. Again much to the dismay of my parents who felt every bit of body roll and my 1-year-old son laughing behind and throwing his toys at his mother’s face. The car isn’t as sharp but it is definitely expected for a 2-tonne car and for one set up for comfort. Ironically, I could still enjoy the winding curves of the road.
I am not going to bore you because people who buy these sort of cars aren’t exactly looking at the spec sheet saying why does the torque kick in at such a low rpm. No, what they are expecting is how can this car take them about and whether they feel good in it. It is a car where the owner would probably have to decide hard on whether he should hire a driver or not because driving the car was an absolute thrill.
On the following day, I decided that a family test wasn’t sufficient. I needed someone who had real life experience sitting behind in a car all day being driven around to see how would he feel about the 7-series. No, I can’t reveal his identity but he works for one of the ministers about. The first thing that he commented on was that how comfortable it was. As I belted down the LEKAS highway heading up north, the car could easily reach speeds of 200 km/h but thanks to visible policeman everywhere, I lumbered down to a mere 90 km/h and turned on the cruise control.
It was then that the battery started to charge and I wanted a little bit more torque available when I reach the town of Sekinchan. Initially, my friend asked me whether if it would be too conspicuous if I drove a large car to a small town. Not really, it blended in quite well. I am sure Ryan Reynolds would disagree with me since his favourite for blending in is a Ford C-Max.
Where it did stand out was when I decided to park it amongst the paddy fields. Talk about being the star of the flat plains. Baked under the sun and after 3 days of driving, the car has its annoyances. Firstly, it has a minuscule boot space. BMW claims it is 400+ litres of space but that space is more longish than deep. Meaning at most, you can probably fit two medium suitcases at the back. Sacrifices for the battery. A problem if you were travelling outstation and have a lot of luggage to carry.
Another pet peeve was that the cup holders were located just above the gear stick which required a weird twist of the hand to comfortably take your drinks out of the holder. Not easy if it were a cup of coffee. The battery drains out pretty fast, probably it is the way I drive it. I constantly got the urge to feel that instant torque from the engine. Also, don’t get me started on the air conditioning. There are way too many controls and most of the time I get complaints from my passengers that it takes the car way too long to cool down or they get lost trying to figure out where the vents are at the rear.
What do I love about this car? I love how they have made a huge and long car feel like a nimble 3-series. I love how the power delivery makes this car jump off the line ever so quickly. I love how quiet it is inside and that everything is sealed in such that having a conversation in the car is effortless. I love how smooth the car drives and how easy it is to do it. Would I get one of these? If I have the means, in a definite heart beat.
(For more info check out our 740Le launch article here)