BMW 7-Series: Inspired pricing & gadgetry

How BMW Malaysia is plotting its comeback, starting with the new 7-Series.

BMW Malaysia not only debuted the new 7-Series, but also a new MD and CEO in Han Sang Yun.

Clever gadgetry was certainly on show during the swanky launch of the sixth-generation BMW 7-Series, yet it was the good ol’ engine that caught the eye. For the first time ever in the 7-Series’ existence, it will have a four-cylinder petrol engine option, with Malaysia being one of the first countries in the world to offer the 730Li variant. Here’s why we think it’s a strategy that’s absolutely crucial if BMW Malaysia is to put a dent in the dominance of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Can the 7-Series match the S-Class in price?

Ever since Mercedes-Benz Malaysia latched onto the incentives laid out by the 2014 National Automotive Policy which granted tax exemption to locally assembled hybrid vehicles such as the the S400L Hybrid, much like its Formula 1 team, it has had an unimpeded run to the top of the podium. Where previously a modestly equipped, locally assembled S300L (with a 3.0-litre V6 engine) would cost RM660,000, the fully-loaded but tax-exempt S400L Hybrid (3.5L V6 with electric assistance) came in at below RM600,000, which goes a long way in explaining the record-breaking 1,909 units sold in 2015 (that’s RM1.12 billion worth of S-Class limos alone), and year-long customer queue.

Malaysia is one of the first countries to offer the 730Li powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine.

As BMW Malaysia get on with the task of getting the new 7-Series prepared for local assembly (we can’t confirm that for a fact or whether there would be a hybrid version, but the 7-Series always had a regionally assembled version), it had to devise a plan that would keep the new and fully-imported 7-Series in the game till the CKD version is ready. Enter the 100th Year Anniversary Celebrations (BMW’s description, not ours) pricing strategy.


At a time-limited price of RM598,800 (BMW Malaysia says the price applies for a year or while stocks last, otherwise add RM100,000), the ‘entry’ 730Li flies in the face of the S400L Hybrid priced at RM598,888. Now, whether the well-heeled limo buyer considers the 730Li a worthy rival to the S400L Hybrid is up for debate, but by achieving price parity, one can no longer afford to ignore the 7-Series.

Can a four-pot do the job?

Despite having a four-cylinder under its long hood, the 730Li is definitely not wanting in performance. If anything, it out-accelerates the S400L Hybrid from idle to 100km/h with a time of 6.3 seconds (the Merc does 6.8 seconds), with identical top speeds of 250km/h. The fact that a ‘modest’ 258hp/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-charged petrol four-cylinder can outmuscle a 3.5-litre V6 with electrical assistance points to their kerb weights; the BMW tips the scales at a ‘feathery’ 1,755kg (no doubt due to its Carbon Core body construction comprising aluminium, steel and carbon fibre) while the S400L Hybrid weighs 1,945kg, according to the technical data quoted on respective brands’ websites.


bmw_7_3Of course, spec for spec, the S400L Hybrid’s immediate rival should rightly be the 740Li (powered by a turbo-charged inline-6) at RM788,800, yet apart from a couple of automated driving aids and creature comforts, the 730Li holds its own with standard air suspension with dynamic damper control, surround view, heads-up display, along with some clever gadgetry such as its smartwatch-like remote key fob and top-notch rear entertainment system that can be controlled via a tablet.


BMW Malaysia’s fightback starts now

Consider that there are hundreds (if not thousands) who are still waiting for their Mercedes-Benz S400L Hybrid to be assembled and delivered, its healthy booking bank no longer appear impregnable as limousine shoppers ponder over the brand-new and similarly priced 730Li over the coming months. We wouldn’t be at all shocked if the conclusion of this special pricing somehow coincides with the roll out of the locally-assembled 7-Series, thus allowing BMW Malaysia the option maintain these ‘special’ prices due to lower import duties for CKDs. And if BMW is indeed planning to introduce the CKD version of the 740e plug-in hybrid (same 4-cylinder engine but with electrification) in 12 months’ time, Mercedes-Benz might be wise to ramp up and fulfill its S-Class orders as soon as possible.


BMW 730Li
Price: RM598,800 (incl. GST, w/o insurance)*
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cyl, turbo petrol, RWD
Output: 258hp @ 5,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,550rpm
Transmission: 8-sp automatic
Performance: 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds, top speed 250km/h
Fuel efficiency: 15.9 km/l (combined cycle)
Kerb weight: 1755kg
Wheels/tyres: 19in alloys, 245/45 R19 (F)/275/40 R19 (R)
Safety: 8-airbags, Dynamic Stability Control
Warranty: 5-year (unlimited mileage) w/ free maintenance package

BMW 740Li
Price: RM788,800 (incl. GST, w/o insurance)*
Engine: 3.0-litre, 6-cyl, turbo petrol, RWD
Output: 326hp @ 5,500rpm, 450Nm @ 1,380rpm
Transmission: 8-sp automatic
Performance: 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds, top speed 250km/h
Fuel efficiency: 15.2 km/l (combined cycle)
Kerb weight: 1845kg
Wheels/tyres: 19in alloys, 245/45 R19 (F)/275/40 R19 (R)
Safety: 8-airbags, Dynamic Stability Control
Warranty: 5-year (unlimited mileage) w/ free maintenance package

*Price in conjunction with BMW’s 100-year anniversary, valid till further notice or while stocks last.