2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance: Proof That Big Cars with Small Engines are the Future? [Review]

2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance
[Photo: Arv Voss]


Large, expensive sedans have historically represented eye-watering excess. Do you really need a massive V12 in your limousine? Of course not, but when you have the means, why not reach for the stars? The 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance, however, moves in a different direction. Big name, but only a small, 2.0-liter engine instead of a gargantuan 6.6-liter V12. Does cutting the engine capacity by two-thirds make it any less luxurious? In a word: no. You’re hardly left wanting for features.

BMW covers the entire performance spectrum, from efficient to sporty driving, in the 740e’s Driving Dynamics Control system. It offers driving modes ranging from Eco Pro for the most efficient driving, through Comfort, Comfort+, Sport and Sport+ modes. You can also select whether you want to use as much of the available electrical energy as possible or conserve it for later. There are three modes for that: Max eDrive uses the electric motors as much as possible, Battery Control saves the charge at a percentage you select, and Auto eDrive chooses the most efficient means for you. At full charge, the 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance offers between 14 and 27 miles of pure-electric range, depending on how carefully you drive.

The 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance plug-in hybrid shares the same exterior styling as the rest of the 7 Series stable. It’s understated – apart from the badging around the car, you couldn’t tell this is the hybrid version. In profile, the 740e is smooth and aerodynamic, suggestive of forward motion. It offers up a simple, tasteful and minimalist form. The plug-in hybrid model only comes in long-wheelbase form.

2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance
[Photo: BMW]


Moving to the interior, the cabin features typical BMW fare. Polished Chestnut wood, piano black, and silver trim accents abound. Controls and switchgear are intuitive and well placed. Although, the shifter can take some getting used to if you’re not familiar with BMW models. Rather than selecting Park using the lever, there’s a button placed on top that you press when you stop the car.

The 740e is not an inexpensive luxury sedan, but it is fully equipped. There is nearly every imaginable technological feature available. Okay, it doesn’t park itself. However, the $700 Parking Assistance Package does offer aids such as a 360-degree camera system and parking sensors all around. In this model, there was also no rear video entertainment system – that’s a $2,700 option. But the active steering, wireless charging, WiFi hotspot and other goodies tend to make up for any shortcomings. In addition to Apple CarPlay support, there’s also a feature called Gesture Control. Rather than use knobs and buttons to control infotainment features, you can just use a wave of your hand. For instance, you can wave your finger in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion to control the volume.

Since this is a hybrid model, the battery pack does intrude into the trunk space. The 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance’s trunk is roughly 3 cubic feet smaller than other 7 Series models. But, at 15 cubic feet, it’s still reasonably sized.

2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance
[Photo: BMW]


The 2018 BMW 740e’s performance exceeds expectations, given its 2.0-liter engine. The acceleration is pleasantly surprising from a four-banger in a plug-in hybrid configuration. The gas engine delivers 255 horsepower on its own, but the electric motor is capable of adding another 111 horsepower to the mix. Total system output, however, is limited to 322 horsepower and a maximum torque rating of 369 lb-ft.

Covering the ground from 0-60 mph takes only 5.1 seconds at sea level, and the top track speed is limited to 155 mph – not too shabby for a heavy cruiser that tips the scales at over two tons. Power is sent to all four wheels through BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. As you’d expect in a luxury cruiser, the shifts are quiet and smooth.

The ride quality and handling characteristics are exemplary and the acceleration is surprising for a heavy four-cylinder powered luxury sedan. The 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance’s fuel economy, however, is nothing to write home about, despite the efficient setup. It’s combined rating is 27 MPG, which is only 11% better than the 3.0-liter, six-cylinder 740i.


The 740e falls in between the 3.0-liter, six-cyliner 740i and the 4.4-liter, V8-powered 750 xDrive models on performance. With the 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance, you have the option of selecting anywhere from four to twelve cylinders for your luxury limousine. It’s all about your priorities.

The 740e’s base price kicks off at $90,700. However, the final tally rose to $99,845 after a few options. This particular model had the $400 Cold Weather Package, which adds a heated wheel, as well as heated front and rear seats. BMW also equipped this 740e with the  Driving Assistance and Driving Assistance Plus Packages – both $1,700 and adding several driver assistance features. Then there’s the $700 Parking Assistance Package, $1,150 for Integral Active Steering, 19” light alloy wheels, a panoramic “Sky Lounge” LED Roof, Apple CarPlay compatibility and Destination Charges.

To see how the 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance stacks up against its Teutonic competition from Mercedes-Benz, check out the video below!

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 BMW740e xDrive iPerformance Sedan

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $90,700
Price as Tested:
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder w/ electric motor, 9.2 kWh battery
Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: Engine: 255 hp @ 5,000-6,500 rpm

Electric motor: 111 hp

Total System Output: 322 hp (limited)

Torque: Engine: 295 lb-ft @ 1,550-4,400 rpm

Total System Output: 369 lb-ft

Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front:Double track control arm aluminum axle with separate lower track arm level, small steering roll radius, anti-dive, air suspension w/ automatic self-leveling

Rear:  Five-link aluminum axle w/ steering function, anti-squat and anti-dive, double acoustic separation, air suspension w/ automatic self-leveling

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza EL 450 P245/45 R19 102V
Fuel capacity: 12.15 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 27 Combined MPG (gasoline only) / 64 Combined MPGe (gasoline and electric)


Wheelbase: 126.4 inches
Length: 206.2 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height: 58.2 inches
Turning Circle: 42.3 feet
Curb Weight: 4,409 pounds