BMW returns a six-cylinder 7-series to North America

In continuing its fuel-efficient efforts, BMW will reintroduce a six-cylinder 7-series for the North American market at next month's Detroit auto show.

The 2011 BMW 740i and the 740Li will be powered by a twin-turbocharged I6 producing 315 hp at 5,800 rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Compared with the engines found in the 135i, the 335i and the 535i, the 7's force-induced I6 boasts 15 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque power increases.

A six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the rear wheels.

Like its more powerful 750i and 760i siblings, the 740i and 740Li will be available with the full line of optional equipment, including the M Sport, driver assistance, luxury seating, rear entertainment and BMW individual composition packages.

The idea of a six-cylinder 7-series isn't new. When the original 7-series launched in 1977, it came exclusively with an I6. The 733i employed a 3.2-liter, 197-hp I6 until the 735i arrived to replace it in 1985 with a 3.4-liter, 218-hp I6. Production of the 733i ran through the 1992 model year.

Pricing for the 2011 740i and 740Li hasn't been released, but look for both cars to arrive in showrooms next spring. AutoWeek

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