The BMW 740e iPerformance marks the return of the hybrid powertrain in BMW’s flagship limo. Previously carrying the “ActiveHybrid” moniker, BMW has streamlined their electrified cars under the iPerformance umbrella, signalling that hybrid cars doesn’t need to be boring. Just look at the i8 supercar, need we say more?
Returning back to our main topic, the 740e will make you want to rethink about purchasing the 740Li. Have a look at these figures: the 3.0-litre straight-six in the 740Li develops 326 hp and 450 Nm. The 740e offers the same horse count, and 50 Nm more. Unlike the F01/F02 predecessor, the G11/G12 hybrid 7 Series uses a much smaller petrol engine paired to an electric motor, as seen in the X5 xDrive40e.
Under the bonnet resides a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol mill, producing 258 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Doesn’t sound like much in a sedan over five metres long, but there’s that electric motor integrated into the sublime 8-speed Steptronic, which can generate 83 kW/113 hp and 250 Nm. Total output is rated at 326 hp and 500 Nm, which allows the rear-wheel drive 740e to get from zero to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds. The long-wheelbase variant, the 740Le clocks the sprint time just 0.1 seconds slower than the 740e, but quicker still is the all-wheel drive 740Le xDrive, which does it in 5.3 seconds. Maximum speed is capped at 250 km/h for all variants.
The high-voltage lithium-ion battery is located under the rear seat. Charging it will take less than 3 hours using a BMW i Wallbox, and when fully charged it should provide enough juice to transport its occupants up to 45 km with speeds up to 140 km/h in the MAX eDRIVE pure-electric mode. The default setting is the Auto eDRIVE hybrid mode, where the 740e will waft along silently using its electric motor until it’s joined by the petrol engine once it reaches 80 km/h, based on throttle input from the driver. The clever power management makes the 740e one of the most frugal limos around, sipping as little as 2.0 litres of petrol over 100 km.
The rear-wheel drive variant can be had in either the G11 740e or the G12 740Le long-wheelbase, while the all-wheel drive is only offered on the long-wheelbase G12 740Le xDrive. If you’re already a fan of the G11/G12 7 Series then you’ll also be glad that BMW didn’t mess up with the styling. Apart from the discreet “i” and “eDrive” badges as well as the charging flap on the front fender, the 740e iPerformance looks just like any other G11/G12 7 Series currently on sale. So if you’re not in a hurry to get the 740Li, you might want to wait for the 740Le to reach our Malaysian shore. The X5 xDrive40e made it here, so let’s hope BMW Malaysia will bring in the 740e as well. Actually, it’s just a matter of time.