The BMW 7-Series gets a facelift for 2020, and without a doubt its most notable styling change is a more massive twin kidney grille. Importantly, BMW’s 745e xDrive sedan gets a new and improved plug-in-hybrid powertrain to bolster its environmental credentials. This flagship BMW sedan is now powered by a six-cylinder, 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo engine that replaces the previous version’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine used in its 740e predecessor. Engine output is now 286 horsepower and the electric motor is rated at 113 horsepower.
Lithium-ion battery output has also improved with battery pack capacity increased from 9.2 to 12 kWh. This provides a bit more all-electric range –16 versus the earlier version’s 14 miles. Total driving range with electric and hybrid drive is 290 miles. The high-voltage battery is positioned underneath the rear seats so luggage compartment volume is about the same as in the non-hybrid 7-series sedans. Importantly, this plug-in hybrid also delivers much better performance when running on the gasoline engine alone or when driving in hybrid mode with both the engine and electric motor supplying power.
The 745e’s electric motor is integrated in the model’s 8-speed Steptronic transmission. As xDrive implies, the 745e features BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive. The BMW 745e xDrive is equipped with a hybrid-specific version of the eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission that incorporates both the electric motor and an improved separating clutch that acts as the link to the engine. The extremely compact design is only about 0.6 inches longer than the Steptronic transmissions in the non-hybrid models.
Drivers are provided an array of selectable driving modes. In default Hybrid mode, the 745e runs on electric power with the combustion engine kicking in only after the car reaches 87 mph. This mode provides an optimized balance between the combustion engine and electric motor. Hybrid Eco Pro mode is biased towards reduced fuel consumption with enhanced coasting. Electric mode provides all-electric driving.
By selecting the Battery Control mode, charge state of the high-voltage battery is maintained at a level determined by the driver, enabling battery power to be used later for emissions-free driving in town, for example. Sport mode combines both engine and electric motor output to provide a total 389 horsepower for maximum performance. Adaptive mode is geared towards relevant driving styles and situations.
BMW is a pioneer in using carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in production vehicles. The 7-series’ A, B, and C pillars, as well as the roof, are made of CFRP to reduce weight and the car’s center of gravity. The price of entry for the 745e is $95,550.