Archive for September 11th, 2011

Test Drive: 1998 BMW 740IL (E38)

September 10, 2011

Today, I went to go take a test drive in a 1998 BMW 740IL. It was located at J&M Auto Sales in Riverside, California. The dealer was asking $5988 for the car, and it had about 162,000 miles on the odometer. It was silver on the exterior and grey in the interior. It had a 32 valve, 4.4 liter DOHC V8 engine that produced 282 horsepower @ 5700 rpm, and 310 lb-ft of torque @ 3900 rpm. I must say that out of all of the cars I’ve driven in my life, this one takes the cake!


I would say that condition wise, this car was 4.5 out of 5. However, the telescoping steering wheel did not work properly. That was the only issue I encountered with the car. When I started the test drive, the first thing I noticed was the smooth shifting of the 5 speed automatic transmission. After giving the Beemer full throttle, I didn’t know how soon it was when I realized I was doing 50 mph (I’m guessing that took around 5 seconds). That car was quick, and my Acura RL with a 3.5 liter V6 takes almost 8 seconds to go from 0-60. I was also pleased with the car’s handling for its size. I’ve driven Cadillac Devilles and DTS’ many times that were much newer and the handling wasn’t sharp compared to the 740IL’s. The best part of the test drive was when I was driving down a residential street, and a young kid playing in his driveway yelled “Nice car!” when I drove past him. I quickly replied back with a thank you, even though it wasn’t really my car. The BMW 740IL was already making heads turn after putting only 1 or 2 miles on it!


I brought the back to the dealer, and I told the salesman that “It was a nice car and that I liked the way it drove.” I also mentioned how it reminded me of the 750IL that James Bond drove in the 007 movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”. The biggest difference between the two cars is that the 740IL has a 4.4 liter V8, and the 750IL has a 5.4 liter V12. Of course I didn’t have any intention in purchasing the car, but if it had much lower miles, the telescoping wheel was fixed by the dealer, and if I had more money, then I would have considered buying the car. So if you are looking for a large 4 door sedan that looks and shifts smooth like a luxury car, but is also quick, powerful and handled like a sports car, consider the 740IL. I certainly do consider it as “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.

Pictures are from