The German automaker has recently announced that the latest hybrid 7-Series will be unveiled at the upcoming 2016 Geneva Motor Show and BMW fulfilled what they promised. At the event, the viewers could see that the company is serious about introducing a brand new line of vehicles that were all-green or plug-in hybrids. It included the basic 740e named iPerformance, the 740Le iPerformance, and the AWD 740Le xDrive iPerformance. Indeed, all of the models in the series were truly state-of-the-art and could be considered as the future of BMW in the green segment. Moreover, they will be competing in the luxury segment, which makes them even more interesting to review and discuss. Let’s get down to business.
To characterize the entire BMW 7 Series, we will review one of its most notorious and beautiful sedans, the 740e. Besides, it is the most luxurious model, equipped with two engines to provide the most efficient performance and lots of premium features. Let’s begin with the drivetrain: the first engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit, which delivers usual impressive BMW figures: 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The second unit is a much smaller one, and it is designed to provide the best efficiency during driving at slow speeds in the urban environment. It’s rated at 113 hp and 184 lb-ft which is far from what large and luxury sedan needs. Combined, these two units deliver an output of 326 and 369 lb-ft of torque, which tops many of the modern plug-in hybrids.
2016 BMW 740e Powertrain
The electric engine is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which can provide a range of up to 25 miles and can be driven at speeds up to 90 mph. Naturally, this option is great for short distance city journeys and has a great potential to be even better. If the vehicle activates the turbocharged unit and uses both power sources, it is able to reach 60 miles per hour in a remarkable 5.4 seconds. Moreover, this BMW has something that can surprise us even more: its fuel efficiency was estimated at 112 miles per gallon, which leaves some of the leaders in hybrid technology far behind, including Prius with its 52 miles per gallon performance. This is the result of pretty unrealistic European test so we know that this figure will go significantly lower. The 740e will be designed as a front-wheel drive, but the customers may check out the xDrive version, which comes in all-wheel-drive standard.
There are three primary driving modes available at the 740e, including Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro and these modes provide the driver with the most suitable options for different situations. Moreover, the engineers allowed the driver to be in the full control of the powertrain, giving the opportunity to shut down the gas unit and use the electric one, take advantage only of the turbocharged, or turn off the electric motor and go gas. This is a pretty impressive function because drivers always appreciate the ability to control the efficiency and get rid of limits imposed by the manufacturers. One last thing: the batteries can be recharged by using a simple household outlet (it needs nearly four hours) and the special recuperation system, which allows a decent recharge even during driving. That’s beyond cool.
The body of 740e and other models of the 7 Series were made from a number of innovative materials, including carbon-reinforced plastic, high-strength steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum. The mix of these materials was called a “Carbon Core” by BMW and is considered to be one of the perfect options for balancing the weight and performance. According to the manufacturer, the use of Carbon Core has allowed them to decrease the mass of the vehicle by as much as 190 pounds, which is a nice help for both performances and efficiency. For example, the weight was significantly reduced by adding an aluminum trunk, door skins, and molded-plastic front fenders. As the result, the perfect balance of weight among the front and rear was achieved by the engineers.
Interior and Features
The high-tech features package is always present and includes a large infotainment touch screen display, smartphone integration with wireless charging, automatic air conditioning, heating, cooling, ventilation, gesture control functionality and the ConnectedDrive navigation package. The latter system deserves an additional description because it allows the driver to be connected with the vehicle at all times and provides a number of remote features, such as remote locking. Moreover, it is possible to overview the hybrid-specific features on the smartphone as well, including fuel consumption and efficiency figures. In other words, BMW lets you be in full charge of the fuel economy and security of the vehicle, and takes it to an entirely new level. Any smartphone with Android and iOS systems will do the trick.
Another system that we just could not pass without describing is the Gesture Control. It is apparent that BMW thought that touch screen displays should be added with something even more advanced, so they provided the vehicle with the system that uses a camera to recognize the gestures of the driver. The list of gestures that could be recognized is small, but this system makes amazing possible! For example, rotating a finger clockwise gives the system the command to increase volume; and counterclockwise rotation, respectively, decreases it. Next, when a driver has an incoming call, he or she can answer it with the simple pointing of a finger on the dashboard or ignore by performing a swiping motion to the right. Although many reviewers claimed that the system had recognized the gestures only one-third of all attempts. Nevertheless, it is working and probably takes the time to adapt, which is more than acceptable, because it provides the driver with a truly unprecedented list of features. The full list of recognized gestures can be found at the official BMW website.
740e will be available for sale later this year, perhaps in the fall or winter. It will be sold as a part of the new iPerformance brand under BMW, which will be indicated by the logos on the bodies of the vehicles. Although at first sight, it does not look like a hybrid vehicle because the manufacturer did not label it with all these “I’m a hybrid!” stickers, 740e is one of the best in that business.