A new kind of BMW 7-Series will go on sale this month, with Bavaria finally fielding a plug-in hybrid competitor that will take on the Mercedes-Benz S550e. BMW has just shared details about its gas-electric flagship, which will make the choice among these two luxobarges a little easier.
The 740e will offer the same hybrid powertrain as found in the BMW X5 xDrive40e, pairing a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor that resides in the eight-speed automatic transmission, which will send power to all four wheels. With an electric-only range of 14 miles, the 740e has been rated at 64 mpg-e by the EPA; by comparison, the S550e will do 12 miles on juice alone and is rated at 58 mpg-e.
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The combined powertrain of the 740e will deliver 322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and will be able to make the Olympic sprint from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. The 740e will feature a 9.2-kwH lithium-ion battery hidden behind the rear seats that can be charged in less than two hours with a Level 2 charger, though a simple wall plug will do the same in seven hours.
The price of entry is $90,095, though a quick look through the options book will easily crack the $100,000 barrier, as one would expect. It remains to be seen how plug-in hybrids of this type will do in the current environment of gas prices, though BMW has other choices in this price segment when it comes to the 7-Series. This should allow the 740e to be an attractive option when it comes to price -- other 7s are already there -- and the compromise on performance is virtually moot, which may explain why it took BMW so long to field this model.