The BMW 740e and 740Le xDrive plug-in iPerformance hybrids arrive on sale in the UK, with official economy of up to 134mpg and prices from £68,330.
BMW effectively launched a new sub-brand with the arrival of the 740e iPerformance plug-in hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show in the spring, and it now goes on sale in the UK, along with the LWB BMW 740Le xDrive, costing from £68,330 for the 740e and £74,8890 for the xDrive LWB.
In almost all the ways that matter, the 740e delivers all that’s good about the latest 7 Series from BMW – a car arguably better than the Mercedes S Class – but delivers it with a plug-in hybrid powertrain promising impressive performance and even more impressive economy.
In the real world, despite claims of 134.5mpg for the 740e and 117.7mpg for the 740Le, you’re likely to see economy somewhere in the 40s, still a remarkable figure for such a big car and, with 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds, it’s no slouch either. But with a combined 322bhp from the 2.0 litre petrol engine and electric motor that’s no surprise.
What does make the 740e hugely appealing is if you’re a company car user, where the 740e comes with a BIK rate for the current year of just 7 per cent, although the 4WD 740Le comes in at 11 per cent. But compare that to, say, a 730d at 24 per cent BIK, and the big savings are clear.
If you manage to plug the 740e in (most plugin hybrid owners don’t bother) then you will be able to manage up to 29 miles, say BMW (think under 20 miles in reality), and you’ll be able to use the combination of electric motor and ICE engine to suit your mood and need: AUTO eDRIVE to let the car decide the mix of power, MAX eDRIVE for pure EV driving (or you could just use a very light foot in AUTO).
In addition to the hybrid settings there’s also the choice of ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT modes in the new Driver Experience Control, which also includes an ADAPTIVE mode to learn how you drive. Really, you’re best just to stick it in AUTO eDrive and Comfort and forget about it.
Changes from the regular 7 Series include the flap for recharging on the front wing, eDrive badges, BMW i Blue elements in the grille and BMW i logo on the front side panels, with most of the rest of the car effectively a well equipped 7 Series.
That means LED headlights, ConnectedDrive NAV, Smartphone integration with wireless charging, expanded iDrive, auxiliary HVAC and ambient lighting, with options including Comfort Seats, Massaging Seats, Executive Rear Seats, M Sport Package and BMW Individual Design.
The 740e and 4WD 740Le are both appealing cars, but it’s hard to recommend them unless you’re a business car user, as with prices just under and just over the £70k mark they sit at the top of the 7 Series range and, in the real world, are unlikely to offer economy any better than a 7 Series diesel.
But if you do pay BIK – and have a budget big enough to accommodate the £68,330 740e – you’ll only be paying around £160 a month even as a 40 per cent taxpayer.
Both the BMW 740e and 740Le xDrive are now on sale at BMW’s UK dealers.