BMW has launched a new plug-in hybrid version of the 7 Series. It combines a four-cylinder petrol engine with a synchronous electric motor to generate a total output of 322 bhp. There is an all-electric, emission-free range of up to 29 miles. Permanent all-wheel drive on the Le xDrive model operates even in pure-electric mode. Prices start at £68,330.
In order to complete the 7 Series range, BMW has used technology from its i sub-brand, already seen in the BMW X5 eDrive40e, BMW 225xe and the BMW 330e, to create the new BMW 740e and 740Le xDrive.
Both models sit within the BMW iPerformance range and benefit from BMW eDrive and the Carbon Core body structure with which are rooted in know-how from BMW i. BMW says the intelligently controlled interaction between the combustion engine and the electric drive, which together generate a total system output of 322 bhp, endows the BMW 740e and 740 xDrive with strong acceleration while simultaneously realising a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.
The electric motor is fully integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. This ensures that pure-electric driving, the dynamics-enhancing electric boost function and the recuperation of braking energy are able to operate efficiently.
Working intelligently together, the combustion engine produces an output of 255 bhp whilst the electric drive system produces 110 bhp, resulting in a combined system output of 322 bhp and a combined peak torque of 369 lb ft. This allows the BMW 740e to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 5.4 seconds and the BMW 740Le xDrive to complete the same sprint in 5.3 seconds.
The high-voltage lithium-ion battery has a gross capacity of 9.2kWh and net capacity of 7.4kWh. It is stored underneath the rear seat bench in a space-saving position that also provides optimum crash safety. In line with the BMW 7 Series models, the BMW 740e and BMW 740Le xDrive also benefit from a level surface in the luggage compartment, which offers a capacity of 420 litres.
The energy flow between the high-voltage battery, electric motor and charger is controlled by power electronics developed specifically for these models. The power electronics also regulate the supply of energy from the high-voltage battery to the 12V on-board electrical system via a voltage transformer.
The BMW 740e records a combined fuel consumption of 134.5mpg whilst the 740Le xDrive achieves 117.7mpg. The CO2 emissions associated with petrol consumption are 49g/km and 54g/km respectively. The all-electric, locally emission-free driving resulting in a range of 29 miles.
The BMW 740Le xDrive follows the BMW X5 xDrive40e as the brand’s second model to distribute its power permanently to all four wheels in pure electric driving. BMW says the intelligent all-wheel-drive system ensures supreme traction, optimised directional stability and enhanced agility through all types of corners in all-weather and road conditions.
As with all iPerformance models, the eDrive button allows the driver to change how the plug-in hybrid drive system operates. In the AUTO eDRIVE hybrid function, intelligent energy management ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together to the dynamically optimised effect. The operating strategy defaults to all-electric mode at low and moderate speeds to utilise the advantages of locally emission-free mobility as widely as possible. The combustion engine is initiated at speeds of approximately 50mph or under heavy throttle applications.
The driver can switch to the MAX eDRIVE pure-electric mode at the touch of a button. In this setting the car is powered exclusively by the electric motor, although the combustion engine can be brought into play at any time by pushing the accelerator into kickdown. In the MAX eDRIVE setting, the BMW iPerformance variants of the new BMW 7 Series have a pure-electric top speed of 87mph. The Battery Control setting allows the charge of the high-voltage battery to be set manually. The driver can input a target value between 30 and 100 per cent of maximum charge, which is then available for pure-electric driving later in the journey.
The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series are also equipped as standard with the newly designed Driving Experience Control switch on the centre console. At the touch of a button, the driver can activate a vehicle setting that optimises dynamics, comfort or efficiency. The range of characters encompassed by ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT modes are even more clearly defined than with conventionally powered vehicles. Beyond this, the Driving Experience Control switch offers the option of selecting ADAPTIVE mode. In this setting, the car’s responses adapt noticeably to the driver’s style and route profile.
Distinctive design touches on the exterior clearly identify the 740e and 740Le xDrive. The most noticeable feature is the charging connection for the high-voltage battery located in the left front wing. In addition to this, “eDrive” badges can be seen on the C-pillars, there are BMW i Blue elements within the kidney grille and the BMW i logo is featured on the front side panels.
The BMW 740e and BMW 740Le xDrive are on sale in the UK now.