Hybrid power boosts eco-credentials of BMW’s luxury flagship
BMW’s latest version of the 7 Series is a tour-de-force of technology and refinement wrapped up in a body of understated style. Now the latest 745e iPerformance version adds a vastly-improved hybrid powertrain with more EV range, higher performance and a smooth six-cylinder engine.
There are some things you can always depend on when you look at a BMW, whatever the series. One is the iconic kidney grille, the other is the equally distinctive ‘Hofmeister kink’, the upturned line at the trailing edge of the rear side window. Both are present in this lightly-updated version of the 7 Series, although the grille is now significantly larger and features active air flap control with adjustable vanes that only open when cooling air is needed. Other changes include aerodynamic exterior mirrors and redesigned front side panels. According to BMW a gently sloping roof line and precise double swage lines visually stretch the vehicle and establish an impression of elegance.
Unlike the previous 7 Series iPerformance, which had an EV-only range of around 10 miles, the new 745e has a more advanced high-voltage battery, more power and torque, plus improved figures for electric range, consumption and CO2 emissions. EV-only range is around 34-36 miles, while the six-cylinder in-line petrol engine from the current BMW Efficient Dynamics family of power units has a maximum output of 286hp that combines with an electric motor rated at 113hp and a peak torque of 265Nm. Together, they achieve a combined 394hp, with a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds (5.1 for the xDrive long wheelbase 745Le) and 48 g/km CO2 emissions. One of the criticisms of the previous 740e was that the hybrid drivetrain only featured a four-cylinder engine; BMW has comprehensively dealt with these, with a smooth six-cylinder engine and the instant response that’s a feature of electric motors. All of the new BMW 7 Series range has adaptive suspension as standard, which includes electronically controlled dampers and two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling.
All new BMW 7 Series models are equipped as standard with a hands-free phone system including wireless charging, a choice of six colours for the LED ambient lighting plus the latest version of the BMW Touch Command unit. This removable tablet has a seven-inch screen and allows occupants to operate functions such as seat adjustment, interior lighting and climate control, as well as the infotainment, navigation and communication systems, from anywhere in the car. All the graphics and menu system, including the all-digital driver display, feature the latest BMW Operating System 7.0. Drivers also enjoy the benefits of the Driving Experience Control, which can shift the dynamic behaviour of the 745e towards either comfort or sportiness.
Technology that’s specific to the 745e iPerformance include a charging socket in the front nearside wing, a cable and the option of a home charging BMW iWallbox. The navigation system and the BMW ConnectedDrive app inform the driver of the location and availability of stations where charging can take place, for example, with the ChargeNow card.
All 2019 7 Series models have a plethora of safety features, including Dynamic Safety which intervenes in critical situations and brakes the car to a standstill after an accident. It also warns the driver if it detects signs of tiredness. Cruise Control with braking function also comes as standard, as does Parking Assistant Plus. Options include Night Vision with Pedestrian Recognition, Lane Control Assistant, Cross-traffic Warning and Preventive Pedestrian Protection.
The preceding model 7 Series iPerformance offered business benefits due to its claimed CO2 and mpg figures but in reality, could only muster limited EV range. In contrast, the new one has a much more impressive battery and electric motor, complemented by a new six-cylinder engine in place of the former 4-pot. Taken with all the 2019 7 Series new design and technology features, this makes the 745e (and its all-wheel drive long wheelbase sibling the 745Le xDrive) a compelling proposition for chief executives looking for power and luxury with environmental credentials.
M Sport model.