BMW has officially begun selling plug-in hybrid variants of the 7 Series in the European market.Three variants are available at the outset:
- 740e iPerformance: standard wheelbase, RWD
- 740Le iPerformance: long wheelbase, RWD
- 740Le xDrive iPerformance: long wheelbase, AWD
The trio are all powered by BMW's latest-generation 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine coupled to an electric motor.
The permanently excited synchronous electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission to generate a total system output of 326 hp and combined torque of 500 Nm. The electric motor alone delivers 113 hp and maximum torque of 250 Nm, while the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine provides 258 hp at 5,000 – 6,500 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 1,550 – 4,400 rpm.
BMW claim the standard wheelbase 740e and long wheelbase 740Le return a frugal 2.2 – 2.0 l/100 km on the combined cycle, while emitting combined CO2 emissions of just 50 – 45 g/km. The long wheelbase all-wheel drive 740Le xDrive meanwhile, musters 2.5 – 2.1 l/100km at 56 – 49g/km CO2.
A Lithium-ion high-voltage battery with a gross capacity of 9.2 kWh, is positioned under the rear seat bench; and can be charged from a domestic power socket in under four hours or from a BMW i Wallbox in under three hours.
On a full charge, the 740e and 740Le return 44 – 48km of EV range, while the 740Le x Drive will cover between 41 – 45km before the batteries run dry. The top speed on electric power alone is 140 km/h.
Outright performance figures read 0-100km/h in 5.4seconds for the 740e, 5.5 seconds for the 740Le while the 740Le xDrive is the quickest needing just 5.3 seconds. Top speed in all three models is electronically limited to 250km/h.
The interplay between electric and internal combustion is modulated by the Driving Experience Control switch with ADAPTIVE mode and ECO PRO mode including a coasting function. The eDrive button allows the driver to select the hybrid function as and when required, while AUTO eDRIVE optimises the propulsion strategy. MAX eDrive allows for full-electric driving.
Hybrid-specific proactive energy management allows for a link up to the navigation system to study the route ahead and allow for optimised power strategy while allowing arrival at destination in pure electric driving mode.
The 740e models will be equipped with model specific aesthetic highlights such as the eDrive” badges on the C-pillars, BMW i logo on the front side panels and BMW kidney grille with bars in BMW i Blue.
The M Sport package, Pure Excellence BMW Individual Design exterior and interior packages are available for all BMW iPerformance variants of the BMW 7 Series model range.
There are two clear indications as to why we believe the 7 Series plug-in hybrid range looks firmly poised to enter the Malaysian market. Firstly, BMW had announced earlier in the year that it plans to expand operations at its Kulim plant, in-line with becoming an export hub within the region.
Secondly, considering Malaysia's incentives to promote local assembly of energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), and the strong reception to the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid (also locally assembled), a locally-assembled 740e isn't very far fetched.