The automotive industry is entering a brave new world, where SUVs can be performance cars, sedans can drive themselves and limousines can make do with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder.
Not too long ago a four-cylinder 7 Series wouldn’t have been able to get out of its own way, but with a 190kW/400Nm turbocharged petrol engine allied to an 83kW/250Nm electric motor combined outputs of 240kW/500Nm make the 740e the third-quickest 7 Series, out-accelerated only by the twin-turbo V8 750i and twin-turbo V12 M760Li.
Despite the hybrid system adding 175kg compared to a 740i, the 740e can sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 5.4sec, while on the other side of the ledger use just 2.2L/100km and emit just 50g/km of CO2 according to BMW.
It’s certainly plenty quick, though when it kicks in the buzzy four-cylinder engine ruins the luxury vibe somewhat; the smooth-as-silk 3.0-litre six would’ve been a more appropriate engine for this luxury application.
That aside, the idea of a plug-in hybrid limo – and PHEV cars in general – makes a lot of sense. If you plug it in every night the majority of your travel (up to 48km) will be in electrically-powered silence yet if you need to travel further you simply put more petrol in it like any other car.
The rest of the experience is standard 7 Series: heaps of technology, impressive handling, alarmingly feel-free steering and a suitably wafty ride, bar the occasional choppiness on rough surfaces.
Engine: 2.0L I4 hybrid