Cars - BMW

Road tests and reviews of the latest BMW models available in South Africa

All about the new BMW 740Le xDrive

2016 BMW 740Le xDrive

By Franky Johnson

The BMW 740Le xDrive 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.

The intelligent all-wheel-drive system ensures supreme traction, optimised directional stability and enhanced agility through all types of corners in all-weather and road conditions. The variable power distribution between the front and rear wheels gives the BMW 740Le xDrive a dynamic accelerative ability, with the journey from rest to 100kph completed in 5.3 seconds.

As with all iPerformance models, the eDrive button allows the driver 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 to the 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 is initiated at speeds of approximately 50mph 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 BMW iPerformance variants of the new BMW 7 Series have a pure-electric top speed of 87mph. The Battery Control setting allows the charge of the high-voltage battery to be set manually. The driver can input a target value between 30 and 100 per cent of maximum charge, which is then available for pure-electric driving later in the journey.

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.

BMW eDrive technology brings together exceptional efficiency and long-distance comfort for both driver and passengers. Individually adjustable dynamics and comfort are the product of advanced chassis technology, which in the BMW iPerformance variants of the new BMW 7 Series likewise includes two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling and Dynamic Damper Control. Integral Active Steering, meanwhile, is available as an option.

Unbeatable occupant protection is provided by an extremely high-strength passenger cell, generously sized deformation zones and precisely defined load paths to redirect impact energy. In the plug-in hybrid models, the integrated safety concept of the BMW 7 Series also includes the battery management system for the high-voltage unit.

Among the other items of standard safety equipment on board are front and side airbags, head/curtain airbags for the front and rear rows of seats, a knee airbag on the driver’s side active head restraints, three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt force limiters and belt tensioners in the front seats, ISOFIX child seat mountings in the rear and the Active Protection system.

Bespoke design elements and a comprehensive standard UK specification.

Bespoke design touches on the exterior clearly identify the 740e and 740Le xDrive. The most noticeable feature is the charging connection for the high-voltage battery located in the left front wing. In addition to this, “eDrive” badges can be seen on the C-pillars, there are BMW i Blue elements within the kidney grille and the BMW i logo is featured on the front side panels.

The high level of standard specification for the BMW 740e and BMW 740Le xDrive includes LED headlights, the BMW Display Key, the ConnectedDrive navigation package, smartphone integration with an 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 plugin hybrid models is supplied with energy from the high-voltage battery and works almost silently due to the electric operation of the refrigerant compressor and instantaneous water heater. The auxiliary air conditioning function is powered by the mains supply when the car’s battery is being charged, while a timer function allows the advance preparation of the interior and charging of the battery to be programmed via the iDrive menu.

In addition, the BMW Remote app allows the driver to activate the auxiliary air conditioning function from outside the car via a smartphone. It also supplies information on the charge of the high-voltage battery, the location of public charging stations, the distance covered on electric power alone and the amount of fuel saved as a result.

Another item on the list of standard equipment is the Ambient light function, which includes the Welcome Light Carpet and the Ambient highlight in the rear compartment. Among the optional features providing an exceptionally luxurious way to cover the miles are the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System and the Ambient Air package.

Customers can also specify comfort seats, active seat ventilation, the massage function with Vitality Programme and the Heat Comfort package for both front and rear seats. The Executive Lounge option brings an unbeatable sense of personal wellbeing to the rear of the BMW 740Le and BMW 740Le xDrive while the Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof is also available for these models as an option.

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 BMW iPerformance variants of the new BMW 7 Series can also be specified 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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