Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 08 Nov 2017
Many credit BMW with being the first automaker to truly pioneer electric efficiency on our roads. Vehicles such as the i3 and i8 have paved a new road to efficient driving dynamics. With BMW at the forefront of the first-class-sedan segment, it seems fitting that they have introduced a luxury limousine with a carbon core and electric drive.
Electrifying Levels Of Luxury
BMW has arguably been at the forefront of building luxury coachline vehicles for many years. The 7-Series has always represented a glimpse into the kind of technological trailblazing and systems which we will eventually see filtering down to more mass market vehicles, and also a glimpse into extreme levels of luxury and refinement. Combining top-notch levels of interior build quality, luxury design and innovation, therefore really is a match made in heaven.
It goes without saying “Silence is golden,” and the saying can be no more evident than in this car. With an interior space which is laced with the finest suedes of leather and adorned with wood veneer-trim, the 7-Series truly is an exclusive place to be.
Of course, this being a hybrid electric vehicle, focus quickly shifts to the pure essence of a silent silky ride and the immediacy which only electric drivetrains can produce. A mere four-cylinder motor may have you tuning-up your nose, but do remember, this is the most power 4-cylinder motor ever produced by the Bavarian automaker.
This 4-cylinder engine features BMW’s TwinPower and develops a whopping 190 kW and 400 Nm of torque across a wide engine rev range, which stretches from a low 1 550 rpm to 4 400 rpm. All the power is further mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is rated at a maximum output of 83 kW and, more importantly, its 250 Nm of torque is available from a total standstill owing to the speed of electricity!
The result of all of this cell-charged magic is a sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, space usually otherwise dominated by the likes of a V8 in the luxury limousine segment.
But, there are a few drawbacks to all this electric excellence. The most notable issue that I encountered was a lack of range. For around city driving, as it has been designed, this vehicle is untouchable. When it comes to longer period commutes, however, I feel that a larger battery cell would assist in supplementing some much needed additional battery oomph. A full charge of the battery cell can take, output dependant as little time as 90-minutes and provides a driving distance of +- 50 kilometres (up to a speed of 140 kph), if driving in full electric mode. A mixed consumption mode can be selected to enhance the electric drive travel distance and supplement the power output.
Beyond The Engine Innovation
While the 740e is certainly innovative in terms of its engine, you simply cannot forget simply how advanced this vehicle actually is. A glimpse into the upcoming automotive future is the only way to describe the cabin tech. With every imaginable form of media source accessible through the large central display, and the likes of a full-on internet browser, concierge services and real-time traffic information, the 7-Series is about as high-tech as it goes in the automotive world.
If seated upfront or being chauffeur driven, passengers within the 740e can enjoy the likes of television while on the move, not to talk of the likes of satellite-based radio and other online services. A wealth of massage functions, as well as heated and cooled seats which recline, both front and rear, make travelling in the 740e a proper treat.
A Glimpse Into The Road Ahead
South Africa is gaining traction into the electric car space, given some more time and the ever-increasing charge-station infrastructure being put in place, owning an electric will make more and more sense and we will certainly be seeing more charge stations than petrol pumps in the years to come.
Set to ride among very few competitors, the 740e only currently shares this space with the Mercedes-Benz S500e. With the modern worlds ever-evolving appetite for greener efficiency and the limited resource that is fossil fuel, it seems like BMW is certainly innovating a wave of sustainability and future driven luxury.
SA Pricing & Warranty
R1,496,500 is the price on the road of a new 740e, however, it is important to note that no two 7-Series BMW’s are alike, owing to a myriad of options and customisations available. A 2-years/unlimited km warranty comes as standard, as well as a 5-years/100 000 km maintenance plan.