Over a year after it was first announced, a plug-in hybrid version of BMW’s recently revamped 7 Series is finally going on sale in the U.S.
The 740e’s powertrain has just as many elements as its name. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine works with an electric motor integrated with an eight-speed automatic transmission to drive all four wheels (hence the xDrive tag). Total system output is 322 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. BMW says the 740e will do 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and reach an (electronically limited) top speed of 155 mph in hybrid mode.
Electric power comes courtesy of a 9.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which is stashed under the rear seat to protect it in the event of a crash, BMW says. The 740e is capable of driving on electric power alone for up to 14 miles at speeds of up to 75 mph. It also achieves an EPA efficiency rating of 64 MPGe combined. It goes without saying that the 740e is the greenest option in the 7 Series lineup; the other available powertrains are a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six (in the 740i) and 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 (in the 750i).
The EPA rates car electric efficiency as 64 mpge (i.e. the distance the car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy that is contained in a gallon of gasoline) and the range as 14 miles. The battery is a 9.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit that can be fully charged in less than 2 hours with Level 2 (240V) charging or around 7 hours on a standard 120V household plug.
A final feature worth mentioning is the BMW “eDrive” button on the center console. This allows the driver to select from various modes for the hybrid system, and includes modes for all-electric driving and saving a specific level of charge in the battery. The eco-friendly luxury sedan is priced from $90,095, including a $995 destination charge, and is available in dealerships from this month.