Editor: Jason “The Bok” – Date: 23 Nov 2016
We are starting to see much more emphasis on going green, being environmentally friendly and improving on efficiency in the automotive world. Many of the world’s major automakers have joined this race in order to meet growing consumer demands and widen their green energy footprint.
BMW have been involved in this race from the early 2000’s with the 1-Series efficiency. Since then BMW has constantly been developing and improving the electric recipe, resulting in BMW now being able to offer a very diverse range of hybrid electric automobiles including the:
– BMW i3
– BMW i8
– BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance &
– BMW 7 Series 740e iPerformance
But to name of a few of their exciting vehicles.
With a large charge station infrastructure roll-out map in place, BMW will be continuously adding additional charge stations based on the customer geographics and in doing so, be able to provide fast charge stations when and where their buyers require.
I had the chance to sample the BMW X5 xDrive 40e iPerformance, 740e iPerformance and the i8 sports car and discover what each unique hybrid electric vehicle can offer.
X5 xDrive40e iPerformance
Offering a unique blend of imposing SUV prowess and silent power, the X5 xDrive40e manages to pack the impressive solidity and best elements of the X5 with the silky silence of electric drive.
Naturally, you are cocooned in a cabin filled with space, luxury and a wealth of safety features as you would expect from the BMW x5, but on top of this, you are also offered very impressive fuel consumption. Thanks to the assistance of the electric motor which kicks in throughout heavy urban driving conditions, the X5 xDrive 40e can achieve a range of +-30 km (conditions dependant). With the combined hybrid electric motor, BMW claims the X5 xDrive 40e is able to achieve +-830 km, this is a very impressive figure for a large SUV which rivals the likes of the Mercedes-Benz ML and Audi Q7.
I drove the 740e iPerformance and was lucky enough to also be chauffeur driven in this super saloon. Offering unspeakable amounts of technology and creature comforts, the BMW 740e manages to retain the imposing presence of a BMW 7-series with the added benefits of hybrid electric drive.
With an electric range of 40 km and CO2 emissions figure with eDrive of a mere 49 g/km. The BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder petrol engine and eDrive electric motor help power the BMW 7 Series with eDrive. The system output is 240 kW with a combined system consumption is claimed at 2.1 l/100 km(conditions dependent). When you consider many large executive saloons claim a combined consumption closer to the 10.0/100 km than the 2.0/100 km you really will bow down to the BMW engineers for this impressive feat.
As much as I enjoyed driving the BMW 740e iPerformance, I found that the crowning moment was the time spent being chauffeur driven in what must be one of the most comfortable super saloons on the market.
Need I say more, having the chance to drive the BMW i8 is like meeting a childhood hero. Its imposing looks, wide flared wings and space-age design are more at home on your bedroom wall than on any national motorway.
I managed to test the vehicle through several road surfaces and driving conditions and was impressed at the overall level of balance. Despite the wet road conditions on route to Somerset West, the i8 manages to hold onto the road surface like hot glue.
The i8 may be powered by a small 1.5-litre turbocharged motor, it may only have three cylinders, but it goes like the clappers! Owing to its carbon fibre body structure, the car feels light and the electric drive only further boosts its sports car performance. 0 – 100 km/h is achieved in just 4.4 secs.
The i8 does not need much explaining, you just need to see it to be mesmerised!
More details of individual models at: www.bmw.co.za
Get a taste of the time I spent driving these three incredible vehicles by watching the below video: