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New models - BMW - 7 Series - 740e iPerformance

740e added to BMW PHEV range

Sleeper seven: The 740e’s 2.0-litre engine is the smallest yet fitted to a 7 Series, but when paired with an electric motor, it is one of the fastest accelerating.

BMW undercuts Mercedes S500e by $90,000 with $229,000 740e plug-in hybrid

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BMW logo10 Aug 2016

BMW has released Australian specifications for the next model to join its burgeoning iPerformance plug-in hybrid range, with the short-wheelbase 740e arriving in showrooms late this year from $229,000 before on-road costs.

At that price, the German car-maker’s PHEV limousine is a significant $90,715 cheaper than its arch rival, although the $319,715 Mercedes-Benz is offered with a passenger-pleasing long-wheelbase, while the BMW is standard length.

Overseas, the 740e is offered as three variants including a long-wheelbase 740Le and a four-wheel-drive 740Le xDrive, but for the Australian market, BMW has put its money on the more driver-focused short-wheelbase, rear-wheel drive version.

The arrival of the PHEV 7 Series highlights BMW’s vote of confidence in the plug-in hybrid segment, with the 740e joining the recently launched 330e sedan, X5 xDrive40e SUV as well as the i3 hatch and i8 sportscar pair.

740e owners who have a 48km or shorter commute will be able to make their daily trip to and from work on electric power only with an emissions-free drivetrain that can be recharged in five hours, but if longer journeys are necessary, a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol unit lends a hand.

BMW says that with 190kW and 400Nm of torque the petrol engine is the most powerful of its kind yet slotted under a BMW bonnet, but it joins forces with an electric motor for a combined output of 240kW enabling the 740e to hit 100km/h from standstill in 5.4 seconds.

When driven more sedately, the car-maker says its most frugal limo will return fuel economy of just 2.2 litres per 100km with 50g of CO2 produced per kilometre.

BMW’s optional Wallbox cuts the recharging time in half with a 16 amp, 3.7kW top-up rate, and customers also have access to the growing network of ChargeNow locations that offer rapid charging in various parking spots across Australia.

Unlike the xDrive version available for climates less balmy than Australia, the local version has the more typical BMW rear drive, with power managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the 83kW/250Nm electric motor integrated into the drive line.

Top speed under electric only power is 140km/h thanks to the liquid-cooled 9.2kWh battery located under the rear seats. With the lithium-ion pack tucked away under the second row, boot space has been maximised with 420 litres available – 95 litres smaller than the other 7 Series variants.

BMW covers the 740e’s battery with a six-year/100,000km warranty.

Three eDrive modes are available with Auto for the best balance of electric and petrol power, Max biases the system to pure electric drive and Battery Control fires up the engine to both drive and charge the battery simultaneously.

Like the five other variants in the BMW 7 Series line-up, the 740e is generously equipped, featuring a number of comfort features such as a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, internet access, heated and ventilated front seats and arm rests, leather dash, Nappa leather upholstery, professional navigation with gesture control, Tele, Remote and Concierge services, keyless entry and start, sun blinds and a sunroof.

Driver assistance features include a display key, lane departure warning and assistance, adaptive LED headlights, Driving Experience Control, real-time traffic information, park distance control all round, parking assistance, forward collision warning with active cruise control and autonomous braking, 360-degree camera and a head-up display.

The 740e rolls on 19-inch wheels and air suspension with styling tweaks courtesy of a standard M Sport pack and a Design Pure Excellence pack.

When it arrives later this year, the 740e will take the 7 Series line-up to six options, but a new M760Li xDrive will join as the new flagship before the year is out.

2016 BMW 7 Series pricing*
730d (a)$217,500
740i (a)$224,200
740e iPerformance (a)$229,000
740Li (a)$238,000
750i (a)$289,600
750Li (a)$312,700
*Excludes on-road costs

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