BMW made a bold move to offer a fully electric version of its latest 7 Series, the i7, with the same body as its regular internal combustion engine variants. But as impressive as the i7 is, it lacks the outright range of the best luxury EVs on the market, so it is not quite as good a continent-crosser as the Lucid Air, Tesla Model S or even the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Having driven an i7 last year, I was impressed with its exceptional level of comfort, performance, and quality, but I couldn’t help but feel that it didn’t have enough range for the kind of vehicle it was. Even with a big 105-kilowatt-hour battery (with a 101.7 kWh usable capacity), it struggles to get 300 miles of range in real-world driving conditions. If you want to explore its performance potential, the range drops even further.

[Full Disclosure: BMW let me borrow a 750e for free for a week.]

When I recently got to drive a 2024 BMW 750e plug-in hybrid for a week courtesy of the BMW Romania press fleet, by the time I returned it, this variant made a lot more sense to me than the i7 BEV. PHEVs are not usually my cup of tea. I think they are often worse than both EVs and non-plug-in hybrids, and many of the people who buy them do so for tax purposes and never plug them in, thus negating their benefits.

However, the 750e is one of those PHEVs that made perfect sense to me. It boasts an EPA electric range of 34 miles. Once the electricity is used up, it wakes up the fantastic BMW turbocharged straight-six engine, which is smooth, powerful, and efficient. Since the 7 Series is already a big and heavy car, you don’t really feel the extra weight of the battery pack as you do in lighter PHEVs, so it isn’t less capable or less fun to drive than non-plug-in versions.

Smooth Power

BMW 750e

BMW has a history of making excellent straight-six engines, and its latest effort, the B58, is no exception. It is used in all its models from the 3 Series up, either as a mild hybrid or in combination with a powerful electric motor and bigger battery pack to create a plug-in hybrid.

The powertrain in the 750e is related to what BMW puts in the X5 xDrive50e model, but the 7 Series gets a smaller battery pack. With 22 kilowatt-hours gross (and a net capacity of around 18.7 kWh), the battery in the 750e is smaller than the X5’s 29.5 kWh pack with a usable capacity of 25.7 kWh. As a result, the 750e’s electric range is lower than that in the X5, which can do an EPA-claimed 38 miles on one charge.

BMW says the 750e has a combined gasoline and electricity efficiency rating of 58 MPGe, but if you don’t charge it, you can still expect it to return around 22–23 MPG. During my time with the car, it used around 21 mpg after I had drained its battery, and I kept it almost exclusively in Sport mode.

The combustion engine in the 750e makes 313 horsepower and 331 pound-feet on its own, and a punchy 194-hp electric motor with 206 lb-ft of torque gives it extra oomph. They produce a combined 483 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque and push the big 7 to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 155 mph.

BMW 750e

The car felt surprisingly quick when driving just on electricity. Its torque felt more than adequate for everyday driving both in town and on the highway, as it keeps the gas engine off until 87 mph. It even feels surprisingly effortless off the line, and if you press the accelerator even further, the six-cylinder wakes up and turns it into an absolute rocket ship. I didn’t expect a car with a claimed benchmark acceleration time of 4.6 seconds to feel this quick.

In-gear pickup is also great. When you accelerate, you first feel the surge of power from the synchronous electric motor that’s embedded into the eight-speed automatic gearbox. So immediately after you put your foot down, the car starts to accelerate. Once the engine’s turbo spools up, it accelerates remarkably quickly.

Sport mode is configurable. It features selectable modes for the powertrain, stability systems, gearbox, suspension and steering, allowing you to fine-tune the driving experience. It’s the only one of the available driving modes that allows for this much control. With everything turned up to its sportiest setting, it follows the tired old automotive journo cliché: The car shrinks around you. It feels far more nimble than you'd expect from something so large. 

Being a plug-in hybrid, the 750e will switch between electric and hybrid driving frequently, but it does a great job of masking the transitions. You do hear when the engine wakes up, but it doesn’t vibrate the cabin, and gear shifts are impeccably smooth even in Sport mode.

Floaty But Firm

BMW 750e

My tester cost over €170,000 ($184,000), with more than €60,000 ($65,000) of options. Note that U.S.-spec pricing starts at $106,695, so it'd likely be cheaper there. One must-have option for this model is the air suspension, which can be further upgraded if you go for the active anti-roll bars. The level of ride comfort and control they provide together is truly remarkable. The car wafts down straights but, even in comfort mode, it barely leans in the corners. 

It makes the car feel both sporty and plush at the same time. Comfort levels are still high even if you put the suspension in Sport mode, although with the large 21-inch wheels like on my tester, you certainly start to feel the road more.

EV Features

BMW 750e

You can easily achieve the claimed 34 miles of pure electric driving in the 750e, especially in town. The battery is smaller than the 28.6 kWh pack on the rival Mercedes-Benz S580e and it can’t match its 46-mile EPA electric range, but it should be fine for most commutes.

When running just on electricity, the 750e feels almost indistinguishable from the i7. It’s not quite as torquey, but it still pulls adequately without having to wake up the combustion engine. If you put the 750e in Expressive mode, you even get the same futuristic acceleration sound created by the famed movie score composer Hans Zimmer.

If you press the gas all the way down and awaken the engine while in Expressive mode, you will hear both the acceleration noise through the speakers as well as the pleasant six-cylinder warble from the B58 engine.

The 750e comes with adaptive brake regeneration, which adjusts the level of regen based on what’s in front of the car. If you have a clear road ahead and lift off, the car will prefer to coast. But if you approach another car or an intersection where you need to slow down, it will automatically crank up the regeneration, freeing you from having to constantly adjust it manually. Regen strength isn’t quite up there with the i7, but you definitely have to use the friction brakes less in the 750e compared to non-plug-in variants.

Pick The PHEV

Gallery: 2024 BMW 750e

If you’re thinking of buying a 7 Series today, the 750e makes a lot of sense—I think the PHEV is the pick of the range. You probably have a house with a garage or at least your very own underground parking spot where you can have a Level 2 charger installed that will supply the necessary 7.4 kW of charging power. That should top up the battery in a little over 3 hours, and if you do it regularly, it will use very little fuel in town.

Choosing the PHEV allows you to drive completely silently when you want, adding an extra layer of luxury that the non-plug-in variants can’t match. When you want a more traditional luxury car experience, all you have to do is push the accelerator harder, and you'll get 483 horsepower and a pleasing soundtrack.

This is a far better 7 Series plug-in hybrid than the first one BMW made, the 740e, which had a 2-liter four-cylinder engine, and it builds on the qualities of the previous 750e. It also drives better than the previous-generation 7, with its blend of soft suspension, excellent body control courtesy of the active antiroll bars and precise steering.

You can also tailor it to your heart’s desire and make it exceptionally opulent. However, aside from the 31-inch flip-down rear entertainment screen, I don’t think I would have changed anything about how the car was specced, with its extended leather pack, heated, cooled, and massaging seats all around and the fancy crystal details that make it a thoroughly unique experience.

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