Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

2013 BMW 740Li
2013 BMW 740Li. Click image to enlarge

I may be in the minority, but the car I most associate with the BMW brand is the 3 Series, a vehicle line that ranges from entry-level luxury compact in trims like 320i and formerly 323i all the way up to the M3, one of the finest sports cars money can buy. In a way, the M3 is what I would designate as the halo car if anyone asked me, even above its larger M performance brethren.

So where does that leave the 7 Series, BMW’s full-size luxury sedan that sits atop their pricing and naming hierarchy?

It leaves it as the pinnacle of luxury, exclusivity and as their flagship on paper, and I’m pretty sure that BMW is fine with that (not to mention the profit margins on cars of this nature).

BMW has ushered in a series of upgrades for their flagship luxury sedan, resulting in a 2013 7 Series range that offers more options than ever before. No, really, it’s quite mind boggling and, unfortunately, there is no way I could cover the extent of available options on this technological tour de force in this limited space, so instead I’ll just resort to the usual bitching and moaning about bloated weight and loss of purity in modern cars. Just kidding, folks; I can live with the added weight (which is actually minimized in 740Li trim) and the driving experience, which perhaps does not inspire any Transporter antics, but is still rewarding and satisfying to drive.

2013 BMW 740Li
2013 BMW 740Li. Click image to enlarge

Aging will do that to you. I found it far more important that the 7 Series offered something called Comfort+ mode. Sure, it still had the much-appreciated Sport+ mode for the adaptive suspension, which impressively shrinks the car around you and tightens everything up, but Comfort+, that’s the mode I chose over 90 percent of my time, mostly spent commuting to and from work and family functions. It is plush, yet controlled, like a memory foam magic carpet, though you still feel any harsh impacts as distinct bangs.

That’s what these cars are all about, cruising in serene comfort, most likely making it all the way to the downtown core, where owners will leave it with a valet or slot it into a reserved parking space. However, even with a reserved spot at the end, driving downtown is an exercise in patience and navigating tight underground parking lots is a source of stress and anxiety – this is one loooonngggg, wiiiide car!

However, countering the stress of negotiating tight quarters, BMW’s Comfort Seats provide unparalleled comfort, power-adjustable in a bazillion ways, but always comfortable. These thrones were also ventilated and featured the Active Seat for driver and passenger – adjusting the torso bolstering on the fly when taking turns – a bit odd when driving sedately, but neat when you throw the car in to a corner with a bit of exuberance.

Alternatively, owners might prefer to sit in the luxurious back seat, which offers seemingly endless legroom (and cute little footrests to boot, oddly part of the M Sport Package) in its long-wheelbase configuration, as this tester was. My daughter appreciated all that leg-swinging space in between calls to her office and stockbroker.

2013 BMW 740Li2013 BMW 740Li
2013 BMW 740Li. Click image to enlarge

As much space as there was in the back seat, I found the trunk seemed somewhat undersized for a full-size car, but I’m sure the 500 L trunk has been configured to accommodate at least a couple sets of golf clubs, though it didn’t look like it could handle four, even if it could comfortably transport four executives to the club. However, you can order the magic foot-waving automatic trunk opening, although doing the hokey pokey behind your car isn’t exactly the most dignified activity for opening a trunk when you’re leaving the club with an armful of flower arrangements.

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