Good news for German luxury-sedan buyers who prefer the additional traction of four driven wheels. We’re told BMW plans to launch an xDrive all-wheel-drive version of the 740i and 740Li later this year. Previously, the six-cylinder 7 Series was only offered in rear-wheel-drive configuration.
The 740i uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine rated for 315 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. It’s both less expensive to purchase and considerably less fuel-thirsty than the 750i and 750Li models, which use a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine. Until now, however, the 740i couldn’t be paired with xDrive to send that power to all four wheels.
We expect that acceleration times and fuel economy for the new xDrive cars will be very close to those of the rear-drive versions. BMW says the 740i can reach 60 mph 5.8 seconds, and returns 17/25 mpg (city/highway). The slightly larger 740Li needs 5.9 seconds to hit 60 mph, but likewise returns 17/25 mpg.
Based on the pricing strategy for the BMW 750i and 750Li, we expect choosing xDrive will add about $3000 to the entry price of a 740i or 740Li. The 2012 BMW 740i currently starts at $71,895 (after an $895 destination charge), while the 2012 BMW 740Li rings in at $76,395.