I’ve always found the idea of making massive luxury cars into hybrids to be a bit counter-productive. They’re too heavy and expensive to be truly be considered efficient, despite what automakers might claim. However, there seems to be a new wave of hybrid luxury cars that actually work quite well. My first experience with one of these hybrids was the BMW 740e iPerformance and it was more impressive than I had previously thought. The idea still makes little sense to me but, as a car, the 740e is a better car than many originally anticipate. It seems that Car and Driver shares a similar sentiment.
With a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under its hood, mated with an electric motor, the BMW 740e iPerformance makes a combined 322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers aren’t far off the BMW 740i’s B58 engine, just with a flatter torque curve, thanks to its electric motor. So 0-60 mph happens in 5.2 seconds, which is genuinely quick in such a big, heavy car. Power is sent through an eight-speed gearbox to all four wheels. This allows the 740e to have impressive grip, helping its performance and handling.
What else does C&D like about the 7er? Its cabin has some nicely laid out technology and its gauge cluster offers helpful information about its driving efficiency. It also handles with the sort of smooth sturdiness that a luxury limo of its size should. While they say it isn’t as sharp as a Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid, it’s a nice balance between that car and the S-Class hybrid. It’s not the sharpest BMW on the road but it’s better than expected. They also seem to like the way it looks.
What don’t they like? The idea of a big, hybrid 7 Series. Admittedly, it is weird seeing a BMW 7 Series that’s more focused on efficiency than dynamics and luxury. The days of cars like the E38 7 Series are gone, it seems. They also don’t like the price, being that it starts at $90,000, which is a lot for a four-cylinder hybrid. From our experience, we don’t see a reason to argue with C&D. In itself, the BMW 740e iPerformance is a good car. But at its price and size, does a hybrid luxury car really make sense other than to show off how “green” one is to one’s neighbors?