Latest arrival: BMW 740e
Suffice to say that the 740e fulfills the basic requirement of a plug-in hybrid, namely that it makes you feel less guilty about your presence contributing to Cape Town’s clogged arterial roads, sluggish freeways and gridlocked urban corridors. The fact that it does this in superb luxury further cushions the guilt, though it doesn’t entirely insulate you from the breathtaking asking price.
Traditionalists might roll their eyeballs at the mention of what’s under the bonnet. Namely, a four-cylinder Twinpower Turbo and an electric motor. So you think you might miss the traditional sumptuous BMW howl of six, eight, 10 or 12 cylinders? Consider: this is the most powerful four- cylinder engine ever fitted in a production BMW. Just pause for a moment to let that sink in. Then mash the pedal to the floor. As the scenery begins moving backwards very quickly, thanks to the combined efforts of 240 kw and 500 N.m, you might begin to wonder if sound effects really matter. Of course, at that moment even the 740e’s smart energy management will struggle to achieve the 2,0 litres per 100 kilometres the car is said to be capable of. Use that massive electric boost for accelerative purposes and you’ll have less at your disposal for around town, when the hybrid system prioritises electric-only activity up to 80 km/h. (It’s capable of 140 km/h in Max edrive pure electric mode.)