New iPerformance lineup debuts on 7 Series; Spreading through BMW lineup

Gasoline/electric hybrids are becoming more widely accepted these days, and even luxury automakers are stepping up their games. Audi, Lexus, Porsche, and of course, BMW all have hybrid options that range in cost and levels of luxury. Though it might not make financial sense to purchase an expensive luxury car just to save a few dollars at the pump, many European city centers are banning non-hybrid vehicle use, making well-to-do folks in need of something classier than a Nissan Leaf.

Enter the BMW 740e iPerformance. Now before jumping into the details, it’s important to understand BMW’s logic with the iPerformance badging. Just like its M Performance lineup – standard BMW models with the performance upgrades from the famed M division, iPerformance vehicles will be based on standard series-production BMWs, but will have some i Division electrification performance added in. Just as the M235i isn’t as sporty as the M3, the iPerformance vehicles won’t be as “electrified” or as efficient as honest i Division vehicles like the i3 or i8.

This new iPerformance line is debuting here, on the 7-Series. BMW will offer two flavors – the 740e iPerformance and the 740Le iPerformance. The 740Le is an extended length model that offers the option of BMW’s xDrive AWD system. We’ll be concentrating on the 740e iPerformance in this review.

The 2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance is now in production and will arrive at U.S. dealerships in August of 2016 starting at $89,100.

Update 08/11/2016: BMW has announced the 740e xDrive iPerformance will arrive in U.S. showrooms in August with a starting price just under $90,000. Check out the "Prices" section for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 740e iPerformance.


2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The current 7-Series debuted for the 2016 model year, so BMW has no reason to make drastic changes for the iPerformance version. In fact, what changes that do take place are limited to the headlights, badges, and the addition of the charging port behind the driver-side front wheel.

Specifically, the BMW badges have the typical blue hue around them found on “i” vehicles. There’s also several “i” and “eDrive” badges placed around the car. There’s an “i” badge on the front fender, just above the L-shaped chrome trim. An eDrive badge is found on the C-pillars, and of course, the 740e designation is found on the trunk lid. The LED headlights carry the same shape and nighttime lighting, but incorporate blue hue rings that designate the car’s hybrid drivetrain.


2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Interior
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Like the exterior, BMW kept the 7-Series’ interior mostly unchanged. Opting for the hybrid model does bring new displays within the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, however. The new gauge package includes a charging and percentage of power section, configurable with a tachometer and other screens a button-push away.

The rest of the cabin remains unchanged. The iDrive 5.0 infotainment system utilizes BMW’s latest technology, including gesture controls. There’s also the seven-inch Touch Command Tablet. It’s a removable screen that allows rear-seat passengers to control HVAC temps, infotainment settings, and the 1,400-watt, 16-speaker sound system from Bowers & Wilkins Diamond.


2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Drivetrain
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Powering the BMW 740e iPerformance is a gasoline/electric plug-in hybrid system. Starting with the gasoline side, a 2.0-liter TwinPower four-cylinder acts as both a tratiional engine and an electric generator. It creates 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That torque comes on at 1,250 rpm and stays peaked till 4,800 rpm. The engine, part of the Efficient Dynamics engine family, is the most powerful four-cylinder BMW has fitted to a series-produced vehicle.

On the electric side, the 740e uses a “permanently excited” synchronous motor that produces 113 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque

On the electric side, the 740e uses a “permanently excited” synchronous motor that produces 113 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, adding to the gasoline-driven combustion engine. Despite the math not adding up, BMW says the total system output is 326 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. In turn, the electric motor works as a generator thanks to regenerative braking or utilizing unused power from the engine to create electricity. Power is stored in a 9.2 kWh, high-voltage, lithium-ion battery positioned under the rear seat.

The electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed steptronic transmission. This means both the gas engine and electric motor feed power through the transmission, keeping similar driving characteristics. What’s more, the electric motor can provide a boost in power to the gas engine when the driver wants full acceleration. That brings the full onslaught of horsepower and torque, all fed to the rear wheels. BMW also offers an option for paddle shifters on the steering wheel, giving the driver more control over the transmission. BMW estimates the sprint to 62 mph will take 5.6 seconds.

When driven conservatively, the 740e is estimated to achieve 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers, or 112 MPGe. Electrical consumption is listed at 12.5 kWh and CO2 comes in at 49 grams per kilometer, exempting it from many European taxes. The EU test cycle lists the BMW 740e as having an all-electric range of 25 miles.

The driver also has control over how the 740e uses its battery. The eDrive button on the center console switches between Auto mode and Max eDrive. Auto mode allows the computer to determine the best use of the gas engine and electric motor, while Max eDrive offers fully electric driving, at all speeds below 87 mph. During hard acceleration and at speeds above 88 mph, the gas engine will kick on.

The eDrive button on the center console switches between Auto mode and Max eDrive

There’s also controls that allow for between 30 to 100 percent of the battery’s power to be used, letting the driver save his all-electric range for latter in the drive. An example would be charging the battery at home, jumping on the highway with the gas engine, and then travel in EV mode once at a city center.

Of course, BMW always worries about driving performance, so a Driving Experience Control switch offers modes that include Adaptive, Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro. While most modes are self-explanatory, Adaptive mode is a “set-it-and-forget-it” mode that allows the computer to determine what mode the driver is calling for, all based on current his current driving style.


BMW is exploring new pricing territory with the new 7-Series. The 2016 model has a price increase of $7,300 over the previous-generation, 2015 model. That pushes the 7’s base price to $81,300. Of course, opting for the 740e iPerformance trim will raise the price even more. The car carries a starting price of $89,100. A destination and handling fee of $995 is added on at the dealership. Like with any car, adding options increases the price.


Cold Weather Package $400
Driver Assistance Plus $1,900
Driver Assistance Plus II $1,700
Executive Package $4,100
BMW Individual Composition $7,100
Interior Design Package $1,800
M Sport Package $3,400
Luxury Seating Package with Cold Weather $3,900
19" Light alloy V-Spoke wheels with all-season run-flat tires $1,300
Apple CarPlay Compatibility $300
Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System $3,400
Rear-seat entertainment Professional with iDrive control $2,700
Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof $900
Wood inlay leather steering wheel $690
Integral Active Steering $1,150
Front massaging seats $1,000
Ambient Air Package $350
Front ventilated seats $500
Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection $2,300
Side and Top View Cameras $750


Mercedes-Benz S550e Plug-in Hybrid

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes’ S Class is the pentacle of high-end luxury from Mercedes without jumping into the Maybach boat. The car offers nearly every conceivable luxury and technology, including an optional hybrid powertrain. The S550e comes powered by a 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 supplemented by an electric motor powered by an 8.7-kWh lithium-ion battery. The combination is good for 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission does the shifting. Combined, the drivetrain nets an MPGe rating of 58 from the EPA. Prices for the S550e start at $96,575, which impressively, is the same price as the V-8-equipped S500.

Read our full review here.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche takes a similar approach to Mercedes with its S E-Hybrid. It foregoes the big V-8 in favor of a 3.0-liter V-6, though this one is supercharged, and ties in an electric hybrid system. The combination is good for an impressive 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. That can push the four-door Porsche to 60 in roughly 5.2 seconds. Despite the performance, the Porsche is good for 50 MPGe with a pure electric driving range of 22 miles. Prices are competitive to the Mercedes, with a starting sticker of $93,200 for a 2016 model.

Read our full review here.


2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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BMW’s new focus on plug-in hybrids seems to be a perfect next-step in growing its i Division. Injecting some i-juice into several of its models will not only attract attention to the brand, but will also make the step-up into a true i Division vehicle less of a scary proposition. Sure the i3 might not be a wealthy man’s idea of daily transport, while the i8 might not fit his commuting needs, but hey, BMW is likely to expand its i Division lineup in the future as well.

Regardless, the 740e iPerformance is set to lead BMW into a new era of hybrid offerings. We can expect to see iPerformance versions of nearly every vehicle in its lineup, spanning from the 2 Series toward the 7 Series. It’s small steps like this that foreshadow a time when internal combustion engines will become obsolete or perhaps relegated into a niche market. While that’s something we’ll be sad to see, it seems almost inevitable. Thankfully the world will still have plenty of gasoline-powered “antiques” to enjoy on the weekends. (Now where’d I put my starter fluid?)

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    • Expensive
    • More of a status symbol than financial cutback on fuel costs
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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Press Release

The new BMW 7 Series plug-in hybrid luxury sedans source their power from the myriad talents of a four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. Together, they deliver a system output of 240 kW/326 hp. The new BMW 740e iPerformance with standard wheelbase and the new BMW 740Le iPerformance with long wheelbase capture the imagination with supreme dynamics, yet also record average fuel consumption of 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres (134.5 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 49 grams per kilometre (provisional figures)*. In the new BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance (fuel consumption combined: 2.3 l/100 km /122.8 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 53 g/km; provisional figures)*, intelligent all-wheel drive distributes the combined power of the combustion engine and electric motor permanently and as required between the front and rear wheels.

2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series allow top-level driving pleasure, long-distance comfort and luxury to be experienced in combinationwith all-electric, locally emission-free mobility as well. In so doing, they represent the most rigorous implementation yet of Efficient Dynamics in vehicles from the BMW brand. Both BMW eDrive and the body structure with Carbon Core are rooted in expertise refined in the development of BMW icars. When it comes to charging the high-voltage battery, customers benefit from innovative products and services originally developed for BMW i. The BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and
BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance can also be specified as an option with antidazzle BMW Laserlight, which celebrated its world premiere in the BMW i8
plug-in hybrid sports car.

Intelligent energy management optimises the interplay of the combustion engine and electric motor. The electric boost function provides a noticeable increase in dynamic vigour – expressed most prominently by the powertrain’s instantaneous responses – and combines with enhanced efficiency courtesy of the electric assist function and the opportunity to drive through town and cross-country on electric power only to create a unique symbiosis of driving pleasure and sustainability. The maximum electric range, as per the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, is 40 kilometres / 25 miles for the BMW 740e iPerformance and BMW 740Le iPerformance, or 37 kilometres / 23 miles for the BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance (provisional figures).

The best of two worlds: BMW eDrive and BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.

The combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology employed by the plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series is a member of the new Efficient Dynamics engine family. Developing maximum output of 190 kW/258 hp, it is the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever fitted in a series-produced BMW. Instantaneous power delivery and peak torque of 400 Newton metres (295 lb-ft) – on tap across a wide rev range (1,250 –4,800 rpm) – imbue the 2.0-litre unit with vivaciously sporty yet also poised and authoritative performance. In addition, the new engine displays outstanding refinement and optimised acoustic properties.

The electric drive system, based on the principle of a permanently excited synchronous motor, boasts exceptionally high power density with a maximum output of 83 kW/113 hp. As is characteristic for electric drive systems, it serves up its peak torque of 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft) from the word go. This has the effect of boosting the engine’s output and greeting the driver with thrillingly instantaneous responses. Furthermore, the electric motor takes on the role of a generator which – depending on the hybrid function selected – is powered either by recuperating braking energy or by efficiently raising the engine’s load points. It then feeds the energy it generates into the highvoltage battery.

The electric motor is fully integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. This ensures that pure-electric driving, the dynamics-enhancing electric boost function and the recuperation of braking energy are all extremely efficient. The eight-speed Steptronic transmission has outstanding internal efficiency, top-class shift dynamics and shift comfort, and a compact construction. Gearshift paddles on the steering wheel are available as an option, enabling the driver to make manual gear selections with exceptional swiftness and the greatest of ease.

2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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Working together intelligently, the combustion engine and electric drive system bring a system output of 240 kW/326 hp and a combined peak torque of 500 Newton metres (369 lb-ft) to the table. Immediate response to every movement of the accelerator and sustained delivery of dynamic power allow the BMW 740e iPerformance to dash from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds and the BMW 740Le iPerformance to complete the same sprint in 5.7 seconds.

The cars’ sporty driving characteristics are complemented by extraordinarily low fuel consumption and emissions. The BMW 740e iPerformance and BMW 740Le iPerformance both record combined petrol consumption of 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres (134.5 mpg imp) and electricity consumption of 12.5 kWh. CO2 emissions are 49 grams per kilometre (provisional figures as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tyre format specified).

BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance: permanent all-wheel drive also applies to all-electric driving.

The BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance follows in the tyre tracks of the BMW X5 xDrive40e as the brand’s second model to distribute its power permanently to all four wheels in pure-electric driving, when the combustion engine cuts in and when both drive systems are in use at the same time. The intelligent all-wheel-drive system ensures supreme traction, optimised directional stability and enhanced agility through enthusiastically taken corners in all weather and road conditions. Perfectly executed power distribution gives the BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance extremely dynamic accelerative ability, with the journey from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) completed in 5.5 seconds. Yet the fuel consumption of the BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance is just 2.3 litres per 100 kilometres (122.8 mpg imp) combined while electricity consumption
comes in at 13 kWh. CO2 emissions are 53 grams per kilometre (provisional figures as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tyre format specified). eDrive button allows powertrain control to be configured as desired.

The driver can use the eDrive button on the centre console to change how the plug-in hybrid drive system operates. In the AUTO eDRIVE hybrid function, intelligent energy management ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together with maximum efficiency and to dynamically optimised effect. The operating strategy defaults to all-electric mode at low and moderate speeds to utilise the advantages of locally emission-free mobility as widely as possible. The combustion engine only joins the fray at a speed of around 80 km/h (50 mph) or under heavy throttle applications. The driver can switch to the MAX eDRIVE pure-electric mode at the touch of
a button. In this setting the car is powered exclusively by the electric motor, although the combustion engine can be brought into play at any time by pushing the accelerator into kickdown. In the MAX eDRIVE setting, the plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series have a pure-electric top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph).

2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The Battery Control setting allows the driver to make between 30 and 100 per cent of the high-voltage battery’s maximum charge available for pure electric driving later in the journey. For example, electric power can be held back or even increased while on the motorway so it can be used subsequently for locally emission-free driving in town. Driving Experience Control switch with ADAPTIVE mode, clearly noticeable differentiation between SPORT, COMFORT and ECO PRO mode.
The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series are also equipped as

standard with the newly designed Driving Experience Control switch on the centre console. At the touch of a button, the driver can activate a vehicle setting that optimises dynamics, comfort or efficiency. The range of characters encompassed by ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT modes are even more clearly defined than with conventionally powered vehicles. Beyond this, the Driving Experience Control switch offers the option of selecting ADAPTIVE mode. In this setting, the car’s responses adapt noticeably to the driver’s style and route profile.

High-voltage lithium-ion battery: developed specifically for the models at hand, integrated with space-saving skill.

The high-voltage lithium-ion battery has a gross capacity of 9.2 kWh and net capacity of 6.9 kWh. It is accommodated underneath the rear seat bench in a space-saving position that also provides optimum crash safety. The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series therefore also benefit from a level surface in the luggage compartment, which offers a capacity of 420 litres. The stowage volume and practicality of the load area set the benchmark in the luxury plug-in hybrid sedan segment.

The energy flow between the high-voltage battery, electric motor and charger is controlled by power electronics likewise developed specifically for these models. The power electronics also regulate the supply of energy from the high-voltage battery to the 12V onboard electrical system via a voltage transformer.

Simple, hassle-free and flexible charging thanks to innovative products and services von BMW 360° ELECTRIC.

The high-voltage battery can be topped up with energy from any domestic power socket, a Wallbox designed for higher currents or public charging stations. The battery can be fully charged in under four hours from a domestic power socket and in under three hours from a BMW i Wallbox. Added to which, BMW 360° ELECTRIC includes the ChargeNow service, which grants straightforward access to partner charging stations and can also be used for the convenient billing of monthly energy costs.

Standard specification includes auxiliary air conditioning.

The high level of standard specification for the BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance includes LED headlights, the BMW Display Key, the ConnectedDrive navigation package, smartphone integration with inductive charging facility for the phone battery, and an iDrive operating system expanded to include a touchscreen function for the Control Display and the globally unique BMW gesture control feature. Customers can also look forward to auxiliary heating and air conditioning, which allow them to prepare the car’s interior temperature in advance. The heating and air conditioning system of the plug-in hybrid
models is supplied with energy from the high-voltage battery. When the car’s battery is being charged, the auxiliary air conditioning function is powered by the mains supply.

2017 BMW 740e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The charger connection for the high-voltage battery can be found under the flap in the left-hand front side panel. The high-set position of the connection makes the charging process easier. Standard equipment includes a charging cable for use with a domestic power socket, which can be stored in a bag in the boot area to save space. Inside the BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance the most prominent hybrid-specific features include – in addition to the eDrive button – special graphic displays in the instrument cluster and Control Display. Exceptional efficiency coupled with driving pleasure, long-distance
comfort and made-to-measure luxury.

BMW eDrive technology brings together exceptional efficiency and a form of luxurious driving pleasure and long-distance comfort that speaks to both the present and the future. Both the front and rear seats can also be specified with comfort seats, active seat ventilation, a massage function with Vitality Programme and the Heat Comfort package. Maximising personal wellbeing in the rear compartment of the BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance, meanwhile, is the Executive Lounge option. Moreover, Extended rear air-conditioning and the Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof are also available for these models.

The selection of driver assistance systems includes the new-generation BMW Head-Up Display as well as the Parking Assistant, Driving Assistant, Driving Assistant Plus and Surround View systems. The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series can also be ordered as an option with the M Sport package, Pure Excellence exterior design and interior design packages and BMW Individual Design Composition.

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