It was inevitable that as soon as Audi announced a diesel drivetrain option for its A8 L flagship sedan that BMW would have to do the same. The 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive’s extensive name indicates that not only does the four-door luxury car possess a diesel engine, but it also comes in long-wheelbase form with standard all-wheel drive. Think of it as the frugal-minded premium buyer’s out-sized steed, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what BMW is trying to achieve with the 740 Ld xDrive.
The 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive features the same 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that is found in the mid-size 535d. The unit has been tuned to generate 255 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, and it uses an eight-speed automatic transmission to send that output to all four wheels. BMW hasn’t yet published official fuel efficiency figures for the full-size sedan, but it estimates that the 740Ld xDrive will outperform the six-cylinder gas edition of the car by as much as 30 percent. This could mean close to 35-mpg on the highway.
The 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive will likely sell only in small numbers in the United States, but its very existence is indicative of the pressures that BMW feels to counter every product thrust from a competitor with a niche vehicle of its own. It’s also a commentary on the need for automakers to improve their corporate average fuel economy performance in the face of tightening future restrictions in that department. Look for diesel cars to achieve greater prominence as we approach this critical deadline.