BMW’s new 7 Series features a number of powertrain changes, including a plug-in hybrid drive system with a new design offering an increased electric range, enhanced performance and lower consumption. The eight-speed Steptronic transmission fitted as standard on all model variants has also undergone further improvement, as has the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system that can be combined not just with the gasoline and diesel engines but with the hybrid drive as well.
The choice of plug-in hybrid models equipped with BMW eDrive technology now comprises the BMW 745e, the BMW 745Le and the BMW 745Le xDrive. Their newly developed drive technology consists of a specially adapted six-cylinder in-line gasoline engine from the current BMW EfficientDynamics family of power units with maximum output of 286 horsepower (210 kW).
An electric motor with a rated output of 113 hp (83 kW) and a rated torque of 195 pound-feet (265 N·m), and a new lithium-ion battery with the latest battery cell technology and increased capacity also upgrade the system.
Enhancements have also been made to the power electronics, the intelligent energy management of which ensures precisely orchestrated interaction between the two drive units, and, if the proactive driving function is activated, efficiently coordinates the electric driving phases to coincide with sections of the journey that should be covered without any emissions.
At the same time, the added dynamism from the electrical boost, which translates into even snappier response, is greater than before, as is the gain in efficiency produced by the assistance from the electric motor.
With the Driving Experience Control switch set to SPORT mode, the drive duo can unleash a combined output of 394 hp (290 kW), while the maximum combined torque for the plug-in hybrid variants in the new BMW 7 Series is up to 442 pound-feet (600 N·m).
The new plug-in hybrid drive technology enables the BMW 745e, BMW 745Le and BMW 745Le xDrive models to record times of between 5.3 and 5.1 seconds for the 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint and achieve an electric range that varies between 50 and 58 kilometers (31 – 36 miles), based on the new WLTP test cycle and translated back into NEDC-equivalent values.
The speed threshold in hybrid-mode has also jumped to 110 km/h (68 mph). The energy required for this is stored in a latest-generation lithium-ion battery located underneath the rear seats with an increased gross capacity of 12.0 kWh.
The combined fuel consumption figures for the plug-in hybrid luxury sedans – which were also calculated based on the new WLTP test cycle then converted back into NEDC-equivalent values—come in at between 2.6 and 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers (90.4 – 112 mpg US). The BMW 745e, BMW 745Le and BMW 745Le xDrive have a combined electric power consumption of between 16.3 and 15.0 kWh per 100 kilometers.
Aaron is an automotive journalist living in Wyoming, USA. His background includes technology, mechanics, commercial vehicles, and new vehicle evaluations. Aaron is a member of several automotive media groups and writes for many well-known publications.