Lat­est ar­rival: BMW 740e

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Driving -

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.)

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