New 2019 BMW 7 Series plug-in hybrid has an impressive electric range

The 745e, 745Le and 745Le xDrive get more power in tech update

If you're not yet in the mood for a fully electric vehicle, then BMW has the new 2019 7 Series plug-in hybrid for you

Most drivers have daily commutes of less than 16 miles, so a hybrid car might be just the right thing for those not yet convinced by the fully electric cars. It combines the locally emission-free advantages of electric driving and the joy of long-range internal-combustion road trips, so it's something like the best of two worlds.

BMW just updated its 2019 BMW 745e, the long version BMW 745Le and the BMW 745Le xDrive with extended wheelbase and intelligent all-wheel drive. Their plug-in hybrid system now has a 6-cylinder in-line petrol engine and a high-voltage battery with enlarged capacity. The cars are now more powerful, have more range and are more efficient.

The 6-cyl in-line petrol engine with a peak output of 210 kW/286 hp is combined with an electric motor that offers 83 kW/113 hp and 265 Nm, for a total system output of 290 kW/394 hp and a maximum torque of 600 Nm. A new high-voltage lithium-ion battery now has 12.0 kWh more than the preceding model. It offers a total electric range of 54-58 km (33-36 miles) for the 745e (52-55 km for the 745 Le and 50-54 km for the 745Le xDrive).

In HYBRID mode, mode, the new 7 Series plug-in hybrid can reach a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), 20 km/h (12.4 miles) faster than the predecessor models using just the electric motor. If more speed is needed, the combustion engine kicks in. In ELECTRIC mode, the power of the electric motor alone is enough for a maximum speed of 140 km/h.

The new BMW 745e needs just 5.2 seconds to go from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph); the 745Le version takes 5.3 seconds, while the BMW 745Le xDrive needs only 5.1 seconds. All three models can reach a maximum speed of 250 km/h. Nonetheless, efficiency improved: the new BMW 745e has a combined fuel consumption of 2.3 to 2.1 l/100 km, a combined power consumption of 15.6 to 15.1 kWh/100 km and CO2 emissions of 52 to 48 g/km. The new BMW 745Le consumption figures are 2.3 to 2.2 l/100 km, 15.7 to 15.6 kWh/100 km and 53 to 50 g/km. The new BMW 745Le xDrive reaches a level of 2.6 to 2.3 l/km, 16.3 to 15.8 kWh/100 km and 59 to 52 g/km.

According to BMW, the electric motor of the plug-in hybrid models is integrated into the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. In braking and coasting phases it acts as a generator, feeding energy into the high-voltage battery by means of recuperation. The lithium-ion battery also serves to power the on-board network. In addition, its energy can be used to run the standard auxiliary air conditioning system. The high-voltage battery is positioned underneath the rear seats, while the 46-liter fuel tank is located above the rear axle, saving space for the 420-liter trunk. 

The driver can choose between several driving modes: SPORT for a dynamic set-up and ADAPTIVE for a set-up that is geared towards the relevant driving style and situation; as well as the three operating modes HYBRID, ELECTRIC, and BATTERY CONTROL. HYBRID mode is the standard setting that activates a balanced set-up between the combustion engine and electric motor. By pressing the HYBRID button twice, this operating mode is activated in an efficiency-optimized version (HYBRID ECO PRO). This makes extensive use of the coasting function to reduce fuel consumption even more. In this mode, the electrical boost is only available for kick-down maneuvers.

Especially inside the city, the driver can choose the ELECTRIC mode, for purely electrically powered driving. In this mode, the car emits a special sound to let pedestrians know a car is approaching at low speed, via a speaker system. 

In SPORT mode, the electric motor kicks in just to support the internal combustion engine if needed. The driver can set the BATTERY CONTROL values to keep the charge state of the high-voltage battery at a predetermined level. This is especially useful if you have to cross emission-free-only zones, so you will use the internal combustion engine on the motorway (when it's extremely efficient) and switch to ELECTRIC once reaching the city.

As of summer 2019, new digital services will be available for the plug-in hybrid models of the BMW 7 Series to help drivers find public charging stations along their route. The navigation system also provides the driver with a list of recommended nearby hotels, restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions, and cultural institutions. The customer is even provided with a charging station occupancy forecast. BMW also enables ChargeNow customers to reserve a suitable charging station for a limited amount of time directly from their car.

In addition, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant in the plug-in hybrid models of the new BMW 7 Series allows selecting an interior experience as a combination of seat conditioning, seat massage, interior temperature, fragrance and shading based on specifically defined Experience Modes. The search for parking spaces and charging options is also supported by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

No word yet on the prices for the new 7 Series plug-in hybrid, but expect the same price bracket as for the former models.

READ MORE: 2016 BMW 7 Series 750Li xDrive Test Drive: Overstatement

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