The representative saloon segment has a special aura around it. We agree that their sales are totally residual and may continue to decline considering the boom in SUVs.
But that weight of tradition also prevails that makes manufacturers trust these bodies to show their latest technological innovations. We have a clear example in the BMW 7 Series that has passed through our test section.
We are talking about the brand’s flagship (a privilege now shared with the BMW X7) since 1977, the year in which that unforgettable first generation E23 came out. It is true that it has little to do with the current 7 Series, but the purpose is the same in both models: to show how far BMW is capable of going . Maximum levels of luxury, technology or refinement in the saloon, in addition to a new powertrain in this case having tested the 745e plug-in hybrid version .
BMW 745e Series Review
The controversy of BMW grills, although currently focused on the new 4 Series, began with this 7 Series. As you can see, the kidneys are integrated into the same frame and adopt a more vertical arrangement. The result is not so strident due to the dimensions of the front, which has gone up 50 mm, but you have to get used to it. It goes without saying that this grille has active aerodynamics and that its edges and vertical slats receive a chrome finish , something that is repeated throughout the entire car.
The design of the 7 Series, if we put its grill aside, is quite stylish and fluid. The clear example we have in those narrow headlights , which can optionally have laser technology, or in the lower part of the bumper, which has the Air Curtains to redirect the air to the sides. In the profile we can see an air intake behind the front axle with a chrome trim, they are called Air Breathers and they serve to minimize turbulence. Tires range from 18 to 21 inches, with new designs available.
On the sloping C-pillar we can see some reminiscence of the legendary BMW Hofmeister curve. The 7 Series ends in a very striking rear, which debuts three-dimensional LED taillights that are thinner and that extend the entire width of the vehicle. They are also joined by a chrome strip to emphasize their horizontality , while the diffuser also has a similar finish. It has two exhaust outlets, although this area can change depending on the version chosen.
Another thing that stands out as soon as you see the Series 7 from the outside is its mammoth dimensions. It is longer than its predecessor with a length of 5,120 mm (22 mm more), while maintaining its width of 1,902 mm and its height of 1,467 mm. The wheelbase is 3,070 mm. And that we are with the conventional bodywork, the long wheelbase (140 mm more between axles) reaches up to 5,260 mm long.
As soon as you enter the interior of the BMW 7 Series, what is most striking is the excellent quality that is perceived on all four sides. Everything is good finishes and luxurious materials in this representation saloon. The leather upholstery in Cognac color is not even painted on this specimen, it also has a well-finished diamond pattern and padding that increases comfort. Not to mention the wood trim or metal inserts. LED mood lighting rounds out an opulent atmosphere.
If we focused on technology , we couldn’t expect anything less than the best of the Bavarian brand. That is why it has the 7.0 operating system with all the functionalities that this entails. It does not have a display of screens like the one we see in its rivals, the main 10.25-inch touch screen is enough from which the infotainment is controlled. There is no lack of connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wirelessly. It is controlled both by touch, as with the iDrive command, as with the advanced voice control and even by gestures with the Gesture Control.
Unlike what is seen in other rivals, the BMW 7 Series does maintain the analog climate controls , something that is always appreciated so as not to take too much attention from driving. Although if we look at the driving position, the total digitization is maintained thanks to the BMW Live Cockpit Professional instrumentation that comes standard. All kinds of information are projected on that 12.3-inch screen depending on what the user needs. The view also changes depending on the driving mode.
The front seats are spacious and comfortable. It achieves it with those lofty seats with its aforementioned upholstery and electrical adjustments. In addition to that, you could not miss the heating, cooling or massage function in these seats. The space is very prominent, although where it really stands out is in the second row . Access is very comfortable thanks to the generous opening of the doors and inside it is like a world apart.
It’s no surprise that these saloons are designed to ride behind . Although the 7 Series is approved for five passengers, the truth is that it will be better used when there are four. The reason is that a console with a tablet comes out of the central backrest to control the infotainment or the lights. There are also buttons to move the side seats, which are very spacious and comfortable, highlighting the soft headrests. The space is very successful, with plenty of space for both the legs and the head.
The boot is not going to be the highlight of the BMW 7 Series. It is logical in a four-door saloon, as its gate leaves us with a narrower loading mouth than in other bodies. Luckily, inside we see some regular shapes that are usable, in addition to some details such as hooks and nets to distribute the load. There are 515 liters of capacity for this trunk, although there are singularities.
The first is that we have in our hands the plug-in hybrid version, the BMW 745e. Its battery reduces the boot to 420 liters , remaining below the average for the segment. Under the floor there is a small hole to store some objects and for the puncture-proof kit. Another negative part is that the rear seats cannot be folded down to expand this trunk.
In a car of the level of the BMW 7 Series, you could expect a very personalized configuration and equipment that can be very complete. As standard it already comes with a fairly complete endowment, as it comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, Head-Up Display, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, Connected Package Professional, wireless charging, leather sports steering wheel, automatic climate control, seats with electric adjustment and memory, BMW Display Key and various driving aids.
Although later, each user can continue to almost unsuspected limits. As in other examples, the exterior can gain character thanks to the M Sport package , which has specific bumpers, 19-inch wheels and some details in the interior. The cabin is where the 7 Series can be most personalized, as there are a number of leather upholsteries available with some really eye-catching color combinations. A good example is the exclusive Nappa leather test unit with expanded stitching and in Cognac.
The technology is another pillar of the saloon representation, allowing the buyer to choose components interesting as BMW Touch Command rear seat, fog laser, night vision with pedestrian recognition, the surround sound system Bowers & Wilkins Diamond . The comfort would put the comfort seats electrically adjustable back massage function in both rows or electric shutters for rear seats.
The mechanical range of the BMW 7 Series is very diverse and has options for both diesel and gasoline, as a plug-in hybrid; not having mechanics with less than six cylinders. If we start by reviewing the diesels , there are the three options with the 3.0-liter turbo inline six-cylinder. They are the 730d with 265 CV, the 740d with 320 CV and the 750d with 400 CV; going the most powerful with the default xDrive all-wheel drive. The eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is the only option across the range.
It continues with gasoline , with the 750i xDrive, which carries the 4.4-liter V8 with no less than 530 hp of power. The top of the range would still be higher with the M760Li xDrive, which mounts the 6.6-liter V12 with 585 hp, being probably the last unit to mount it. Then there’s the plug-in hybrid version , which is the one we tested. The BMW 745e combines a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder petrol engine and an electric drivetrain.
In this way, a combined power of 394 CV and 600 Nm of torque is obtained , a level above that of its predecessor. To obtain the ZERO label from the DGT, it also has a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery that allows it to approve an electric range of between 50 and 58 kilometers , depending on whether it has all-wheel drive or extended battle bodywork. Thanks to this, it offers a combined consumption of 2.1 l / 100km and CO2 emissions of just 48 g / km.
It has always been said that these types of vehicles are usually made to travel in the rear seats and not to be driven. Although we have been in the front left seat, we have clearly perceived that premise. Refinement is the highest premise of this Series 7, which is silent at all times . Not only because of the propulsion system, which we will talk about later, but also because of the soundproofing of the cabin, which includes acoustic comfort glass.
The aerodynamics is also worked , so there are no noises that the air would generate in other bodies such as the BMW X7, the representative SUV. Although at this point, it must be said that the 745e plug-in hybrid that we are testing is the most indicated to achieve that quality of ride . In electric mode, the silence is total and the fluidity with which it moves only using that engine that has 113 hp (83 kW) is surprising.
Although it is true that when we need all the power of the BMW 745e we will be surprised . At the end of the day, they are almost 400 hp and, most importantly, 600 Nm of torque. In low the thrust is remarkable and achieves an acceleration close to that of sports models. It completes 0-100 km / h in 5.2 seconds and its top speed is limited to 250 km / h. As we said, left over for most situations.
Although we can always shape its behavior thanks to the driving modes . They are the real key to this plug-in hybrid, especially those that allow us to choose the energy we want to use at all times. Electric mode is the one that uses only the electric motor, as long as the battery has sufficient charge. For obvious reasons, in this mode the maximum speed is limited to 140 km / h. For that to happen, we can resort to Battery Control, which would save the charge level to use later.
Although the most usable mode is the Hybrid , the one that marks the car by default and that intersperses the two mechanics in a totally efficient way. There is even a Hybrid Eco Pro option with which ridiculous consumption is achieved for a car of this size. There is also a Sport mode , which is the one that uses electricity and combustion combined to achieve maximum performance. Finally, the Adaptive mode would be adjusted to the user’s driving style.
On the other hand, there would be the traditional BMW driving modes to adjust parameters such as gear, steering or suspension. Precisely the latter seems to me the key component for the BMW 7 Series in general and for the 745e in particular. As standard, we have an air suspension with adaptive damping , which makes the dynamic behavior of the car exquisite. Soft when required, yet with a point of stiffness that helps keep you up to speed.
In fact, at that point he leaves his more immediate rivals a bit behind. Do not forget that it is a powered car (optionally xDrive all-wheel drive) and that it is more fluid in movements than others. And that we have a high empty weight of 2,075 kg , which luckily is well hidden. Nor does it affect consumption too much if we put it to good use. The electric range exceeds 40 kilometers in real conditions without too much effort.
From there, it would be interesting to have a plug to recharge it daily, something that is done in less than four hours with the Wallbox. In this way, we can go around very tight stockings. In our personal case, we were around 5 l / 100km during the test week without having charged it every day. We realized that without charging it, the gasoline consumption would not skyrocket either, being between 7 and 8 liters on average.
It is difficult for the BMW 745e to be the benchmark in the segment. He faces two contenders such as the Audi A8 and the Mercedes S-Class, who have the advantage of having recently come out and surpassing him in terms of technology. But the dynamics of the 7 Series is difficult to replicate and that is where this example is going to excel. The plug-in hybrid offers very high levels of refinement, while claiming to be the ideal choice for large cities thanks to its ZERO label.
It should also be borne in mind that it is a car with a starting price of 104,450 euros , not suitable for most mortals. If we choose a more powerful version or we take a good detour through the equipment section, its rate can rise dangerously . In fact, a unit like the one in the images is around 150,000 euros … You could always save a lot by visiting autos.com, where we have the best deals on new vehicles in the country.