In this respect, the 740Ld is a worthily serene old Panzer. The engine is the same oil-burning 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six we road tested last year in 730d format, but with the power increased from 261bhp to 316bhp, including an additional 44lb ft of torque.
The upgrade is a likable one, throatily maturing the 7-Series from capable two-tonne cruiser to utterly self-assured dreadnought. There’s no indecorum to the higher output (perish the thought) just a pleasant sense that the motor and eight-speed auto are labouring less under the mass of the car.
Adding the modest extra weight of the xDrive system has done nothing to harm the model’s self-leveling ride quality either, which on 18in wheels and winter tyres, seemed better behaved at low speeds than we remember.
Any perceptible shuffling of the power between axles is limited on dry surfaces to the kind of vigorous pull aways no chauffeur would chance his cap on. Do so though, and, predictably, the car surges forward more cleanly than its rear-drive stablemate would. Similarly, if you insist on it, aggressive work up to an apex can be attempted with more confidence; the traction and positivity of the front axle having been duly enhanced.
The real boon though - one only realised in a two-minute unmade, snowy incline during a seven-hour drive - is the 740Ld’s impassive response to finding something less consistent than tarmac under its rubber.
With minimum fuss, and with the comfort-orientated adaptive air suspension merrily replicating the gloopy body movement of a much taller SUV, our limo found the necessary purchase to make a potentially embarrassing slippery climb a complete non-event. Which, of course, is the whole point.
Should I buy one?
That single salient feature, as it does with xDrive buyers in every other BMW offering, ought to be sufficient to make 7 Series customers cough up the comparatively small premium to upgrade. Indeed, those interested in the 740d’s extra grunt will have to because the option is AWD only.
For most UK owners, the system won’t be essential kit, and even fewer will appreciate the dynamic advantage. But it’s a nice-to-have. And like most nice-to-have cost options on BMW’s mothership, it ought to be ticked on that basis alone.
BMW 740Ld xDrive
Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £76,010; Engine Straight-six, 2993cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 316bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 501lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox Eight-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1910kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 5.3sec; Economy 54.3mpg; CO2/tax band 137g/km, 25%