BMW’s no-compromise 740e hybrid hits 60 mph in 5.6 seconds yet it returns 112 mpg

BMW has introduced an eco-friendly 7 Series powered by a state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Called 740e iPerformance, BMW’s most luxurious plug-in sedan is equipped with a gasoline-electric drivetrain that consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and a small electric motor built into the eight-speed automatic transmission that provides 113 ponies and 184 lb-ft. of instant twist. The two power sources generate a combined output of 326 hp and 369 lb-ft. of torque, which is more than the 740i’s 3.0-liter straight-six musters up.

When the lithium-ion battery pack is fully charged, the electric motor can power the 740e by itself for up to 25 miles at speeds of up to 87 mph. When the turbo four kicks in, the sedan reaches 62 mph from a stop in a respectable 5.6 seconds and it returns up to 112 mpg in a mixed European cycle. In other words, it makes the 52-mpg Toyota Prius look like a gas guzzler. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and a hybrid-specific variant of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system is offered at an extra cost.

BMW has programmed into the 7 Series three basic driving modes called Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport, respectively. Additionally, the driver can choose to shut down the turbo four and go electric, use both power sources simultaneously, or rely exclusively on the 2.0-liter in order to save the battery’s full charge for later. The pack can be re-charged by plugging the 7 into a household outlet or a wall box, and while driving thanks to an energy recuperation system.

The BMW 740e iPerformance is expected to go on sale globally before the end of the year. Buyers in Europe and in other overseas markets will be able to order the sedan with either a long or a short wheelbase, but BMW has decided to only sell the stretched model on our shores.

What’s next?

Moving forward, every plug-in hybrid model in BMW’s lineup will join the iPerformance sub-brand. Like the 740e, all models will receive a BMW i logo on the front fenders, blue accents on the grille and on the wheels, as well as an eDrive emblem on the C-pillars. The add-ons are discreet — they don’t scream “Hey look, I’m a hybrid!” — but they will set the eco-friendly Bimmers apart from their non-hybrid siblings.

Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.

BMW’s X3 M and X4 M pack 503 horsepower in nontraditional form

BMW is starting even further from its heritage with the 2020 X3 M and X4 M performance crossovers. But with up to 503 horsepower available in each vehicle, does that really matter?
Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.