A spaceship… A car… It's a BMW 730Ld

As sedans go, this is very near the definition of the ‘ultimate car’.

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: Nov 4, 2007

As sedans go, this is very near the definition of the ‘ultimate car’.

It’s a BMW 730Ld

BMW 730Ld

Engine: 2,997cc, 6-cylinder in-line, 24 valve, diesel
Power/Torque: 160kW (219hp)/ 500Nm (at 1/min)
Kerb Weight: 1,940 kg
Price: Rs 74 lakh (ex-showroom, all-India)

The BMW 7-series is quite a strange car— you feel as if you’re sitting inside a spaceship. Make no mistake, this is a great car but it is loaded with huge amounts of technological gizmos. There are so many buttons and switches and dials that you wonder how on earth to start it. Once you figure that out, engaging gears is another challenge. It is a “What do I do now?” situation.

To be fair, once you do manage to get the hang of everything, driving the car is not difficult. All you have to remember is that you are driving a vehicle about twice the length of your average small car. Other than that, this has got to be one of the easiest cars to drive.

The 730Ld version of the car that was provided to BT More is the least powerful car in the 7-series range, and it is the only diesel variant officially sold by BMW in India. Despite the fact that the car only has 160kW (219 horsepower), it has plenty of power on tap for any conceivable driving situation. Press your foot down, and the car will gallop away at a fantastic speed (flipside: you get 6 km to a litre of diesel). The six-speed auto (with a steptronic semi-automatic option, which you will rarely need to use in real-world conditions) is more than capable of delivering the power smoothly and if you want more, there is a “Sports” mode option as well.

The 7-series also comes with lots of toys; the most surprising one is the Digital Video Broadcast– Handheld (DVB-H) receiver, which actually allows the vehicle to receive the test DVB-H signals being transmitted by Doordarshan and hitherto, available on select Nokia devices. Be warned, the car does not display the picture if the vehicle is moving. The sound system is beautiful, though this model does not have the high-end professional LOGIC 7 system fitted in the top of the line 760iL.

The true joy of the 7-series lies in its rear seat, because passengers have a host of buttons (and a TV) to entertain themselves with. Best of all, the legroom at the back will put Business Class seats in most airlines to shame. The ground clearance, at 140mm, might be an issue on the worst roads, though. It was with a pang of regret that one handed over the remote back to the BMW representative. Because this car is bloody good.

Bentley Azure raises the bar

This Rs 3.8-crore beast is everything you want your car to be.

Bentley Azure
Engine: 6,761cc, V8 twin-turbochargers
Power/Torque: 336kW (450hp)/ 875Nm (at 1/min)
Kerb Weight: 2,695 kg
Since Bentley first came to India in 2004, it has managed to sell over 40 cars. Considering that even the cheapest one costs a shade under Rs 2 crore, that is not an inconsiderable feat. Bentley, which may not have the allure of its one-time sister concern, Rolls-Royce, has seemingly won the race to bedazzle India’s super-rich.

Now, the company is offering the stupendously expensive Bentley Azure, which has an exshowroom (New Delhi) price of Rs 3.8 crore. This magazine will not even want to hazard a guess at the insurance premium on this baby. The car, which was launched alongside the Continental CTC, will become the company’s new flagship car.

And what a car it is. Of course, any owner will be bathed in incredible luxury, but under the bonnet, the engine that keeps the car ticking is a whopping twin-turbocharged 6,761cc one that delivers 336kW (450 horsepower) and a roadcrunching 875Nm of torque that can take this car with a gross weight of over 3,000 kg to 274 kmph.

Of course, do not expect to do that on a low budget; according to the company, the car will deliver a not-so-stunning 3.5 km to every litre of premium petrol in an urban cycle (5 km per litre in a combined urban-highway cycle). But if you can afford to blow this much dosh on a car like this, what is a few thousand rupees worth of petrol?

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