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BMW's 7 Series PHEV makes 394hp. Image by BMW.

BMW's 7 Series PHEV makes 394hp
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2019-04-02: First drive: 2019 BMW 7 Series

What's all this about?

We've already seen what BMW's facelifted 7 Series will look like, but now we've got a few more details on the replacement for the old 740e plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which is badged the 745e.

Is this the one with the six-cylinder engine?

It is. BMW has got rid of the 740e's 2.0-litre, four-pot motor and replaced it with an inline-six petrol. This 3.0-litre lump develops 286hp on its own, but it is mated to an 83kW (113hp) electric motor - sandwiched in the 745e's eight-speed Steptronic gearbox - which can swell the overall power and torque numbers to 394hp and 600Nm. These are dependent on you being in 'Sport' mode, of course, but still, they're enough for some pretty impressive performance.

Such as?

Such as BMW will be offering three versions of its facelifted Seven PHEV - the short-wheelbase, rear-wheel-drive 745e, the long-wheelbase, RWD 745Le and the all-wheel-drive, LWB 745Le xDrive. These three are all fairly hefty old barges but they'll still run 0-62mph times of 5.1 seconds (745Le xDrive), 5.2 seconds (745e) and 5.3 seconds (745Le), while they need to be restricted to 155mph. Although that's if their petrol engines are running. With the EV motor assisting the 3.0-litre six in Hybrid mode, the PHEV Sevens can go a maximum of 68mph, and in full electric, zero-emissions mode, you can travel at up to 87mph in combustion-free silence in the 745e.

Sounds punchy. Is it worse on fuel, though?

Not really. BMW quotes all of the 745e family's figures on the NEDC-correlated from WLTP testing, but that means the cited economy of 134.5mpg for the 745e is directly comparable to the old 740e. The CO2 emissions range from anything between 48- and 59g/km, while the electric-only range is between 31 and 36 miles, depending on which body you select and how many axles you have driven.

Anything else you want to add?

Just a few details. The improved EV range is because the lithium-ion battery has the latest cell technology incorporated and has thus had its storage capacity upped from 7.4- to 12kWh. It's mounted beneath the rear seats and a rather small 46-litre fuel tank is crammed above the back axle, so that the 745e can still have a 420-litre boot. Said rear bench can split-fold in a 40:20:40 fashion, while the BMW's e-motor has an additional 15Nm of torque for a 265Nm peak. Finally, the company says it will introduce new digital services for the PHEV 7 Series trio by summer 2019, which will help owners find convenient and available charging points on their route.

Matt Robinson - 1 Feb 2019

Earlier articles featuring 2019 BMW 7 Series

2019-01-16: Kidney grilles go XXL on facelifted BMW 7 Series

2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.

2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 745e. Image by BMW.       - BMW road tests
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