BMW Group Malaysia has launched a new 740Le plug-in hybrid variant of the G12 7 Series. Besides being a plug-in hybrid, the 740Le is also being fitted with xDrive, making it the first BMW sedan to be officially offered with all-wheel drive in the Malaysian market.
Locally-assembled in Inokom Kulim plant, the 740Le hits the road at RM598,800 before insurance thanks to substantial tax incentives from the Malaysian Government; the car would have been priced at RM853,800 otherwise. Following this launch, the 740Le now becomes the sole variant of the 7 Series being offered in Malaysia.
The 740Le xDrive also happens to be the fourth plug-in model in BMW Group Malaysia’s line-up after the i8, X5 xDrive40e, and 330e. In Malaysia to date, BMW has sold over 2,500 units of the 330e and over 2,000 units of the X5 xDrive40e
It is, however, not the first 7 Series to be locally-assembled in Malaysia; BMW had quietly assembled a small batch of the G12 740Li at Kulim earlier. This development nevertheless ties in nicely with the company's announcement last year that it would make Malaysia the export hub for BMW models into Vietnam and the Philippines from 2018.
The 2.0-litre inline-4 petrol engine powering the 740Le requires no further introduction, being essentially the same B48 twin-scroll turbo unit as found in the outgoing 730Li and quoted with the same outputs – 258hp and 400Nm.
Electric propulsion for the 740Le is delivered by a permanently-exciting synchronous motor housed in the casing of the ZF 8HP 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing its conventional torque converter. In pure electric driving mode, the 740Le has access to 113hp and 250Nm; electric driving range based on the NEDC is rated at 41km.
Combined outputs of engine and motor adds up to 326hp and 500Nm, identical in power to the 3.0-litre 740Li, but with 50Nm more torque. This advantage translates to a 0.2-second advantage in the 740Le’s century sprint time of 5.3 seconds.
Unsurprisingly, the 740Le’s biggest advantage over its conventional petrol siblings come in the fuel consumption department, where it sips a claimed 2.5 litres/100km and emits 56 g/km of carbon dioxide. Electric power consumption is rated at 13.9 kWh/100km. As a comparison, BMW claimed 5.8 litres/100km for the 730Li.
The 740Le’s 9.2kWh lithium-ion battery can be recharged from a regular domestic socket. A full charge through the dedicated BMW i Wallbox takes less than five hours and can be remotely managed via the BMW Remote app or an upgraded version BMW Display Key. On the go, owners of the 740Le can recharge their vehicles on GreenTech Malaysia’s 181 ChargEV stations nationwide through the BMW ChargeNow service.
Equipment-wise, the 740Le xDrive mostly matches what was found on the 740Li. Follow this link back to our launch story of the 7 Series in Malaysia for a full run-down of the 740Li’s kit level. New to the 740Le is a wireless device charging slot in the centre console box, in which owners can usefully charge the Display Key as well as other Qi-enabled mobile devices.
A notable omission in the 740Le's arsenal from the 740Li is the Executive Drive Pro electronic active roll stabilization system, which BMW does not offer in conjunction with the PHEV drivetrain anywhere in the world. This nevertheless was a factor in the Malaysian office's decision to spec xDrive as standard for the vehicle in our market.
In appearance, the 740Le is differentiated from its siblings by a littany of badges sprinkled across its body. Besides the bootlid badge, there is also a pair of ‘eDrive’ badges on either C-pillar as well as a BMW ‘i' logo on each front fender. Like the 730Li and 740Li, the 740Le is shod in 19-inch alloy wheels at all corners.