Expert Insights

2024 BMW 750e Plug-In Hybrid Road Test

Laurance Yap
May 6, 2024
While it is difficult to think of it as a “green” car, the new BMW 750e plug-in hybrid offers impressive highway fuel economy along with the option of driving zero-emissions using electric power in town. Is this large sedan the best of all worlds, or is it a world of compromises?
2024 BMW 750e Plug-In Hybrid

The Ultimate PHEV Limousine?

It’s hard to call the 483-hp, $107,000 starting MSRP, 212-inch-long BMW 750e xDrive a “green” car. It is a massive, luxury-laden sedan packed with technology and luxury, and one that’s capable of going from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds despite weighing 5,635 pounds. Yet, thanks to a plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain, it’s also a car that can do most daily commutes on electric power alone, letting you cruise to and from work and do your daily errands with zero emissions, and maybe even zero guilt.

The latest generation of BMW’s 7 Series shows the brand’s commitment to electrification, and to offering a variety of choices for customers with different driving needs. Gasoline traditionalists have a choice of the 375-hp 740i or 740i xDrive, with six-cylinder power, for starting MSRPs of $96,400 and $99,400 respectively; a turbocharged V8 is available in the 536-hp 760i xDrive for a starting MSRP of $121,300. Fully-electric options include the 449-hp i7 eDrive50 for $105,700 starting MSRP, or the 536-hp, $124,200 starting MSRP i7 xDrive60. Unlike a lot of brands, with BMW, you don’t really pay a premium for choosing an electric drivetrain.

close up of EV charging

BMW 750e Range and Economy

But what of the 750e, the lone plug-in hybrid option in BMW’s flagship sedan? It combines the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine from the 740i models with a 194-hp electric motor integrated into the car’s eight-speed automatic transmission. With a 14.4-kWh battery, BMW claims a fully-electric driving range of 34 miles. If you have a charger at home – most owners of a $107,000 sedan will have a garage they can install one in – you’ll be able to a lot of your daily driving without having to use any gas. Set up the car to charge overnight when electricity is cheapest, and not only can you do your commuting emissions-free, but you can also drive essentially cost-free as well.

While the electric 7 Series models offer excellent range for electric cars – the i7 eDrive50 offers 317 miles according to the EPA – the 750e’s plug-in hybrid option gives you significantly more. With a 19.5-gallon fuel tank, the 750e will go over 450 miles or so at freeway speeds – making for a total of 460-plus miles if you leave home with a full charge. I made the drive from Detroit to Toronto, a distance of about 240 miles, in one sitting, getting home with just under half a tank of gas left.

In reality, the i7 eDrive50 could have done the same trip without having to stop and charge, at least if you stick to the speed limit in ideal situations. But for drivers that go longer distances more frequently, and whose long drives are on routes that don’t have good high-speed charging infrastructure, the plug-in hybrid 750e offers a great alternative. At freeway speeds, it is remarkably efficient; I averaged over 30 mpg, and found that even when the battery was fully depleted, the car would use brake regeneration to keep some charge – enabling the car to cruise along for stretches just on electric power. Indeed, about 10 percent of the miles that I drove from Toronto to Detroit were done on electric alone.

2024 BMW 750e interior

A Back Seat As Luxurious as the Front

For big, long drives, there’s very little available on the market today that you’d rather take than a 7 Series. This is an imperious, mile-gobbling sedan with a huge, spacious interior, a massive trunk, seats with heat, ventilation, and a massage function, and a full suite of driver assists, including adaptive cruise control and an “assisted driving” mode that will keep the car in its lane automatically and execute lane changes with just a tap of the turn signal. Wind and road noise are incredibly hushed at all speeds, letting you better enjoy the killer Bowers & Wilkins sound system. In most cars, you emerge at the end of a big, long drive a little fatigued; you emerge from the 750e refreshed and relaxed.

Arguably, things are even better for your passengers. Front- and rear-seat riders get all of the same luxuries, including powered-opening and -closing doors, power sun shades, and little touch panels in the doors to control comfort and entertainment functions. Rear seat space is positively limousine-like, the panoramic glass roof extends all the way back, and there’s even a nice wide console with heated armrests and a wireless phone charger, just like the front. Pony up for the onboard theater option, and you can, with one touch, deploy all the sun blinds and fold a 31-inch 8k wide screen down from the ceiling for an immersive on-board viewing experience. It’s a little ridiculous, sure, but it’s also awesome.

BMW 70e steering wheel and dashboard

BMW 7 Series Technology

With all of the tech on board, it should come as no surprise that interacting with all of it entails a bit of a learning curve. Most of the controls exist within a series of touch panels on the dash and in the doors. While there’s still a rotary turn-and-push knob that can operate BMW’s iDrive system and infotainment functions, the climate controls are now located on the central curved screen, and even the seat memory and door locks are now capacitive switches on the crystalline “interaction bar” that stretches across the dash and into both doors. The interaction bar, which changes color based on your drive mode, also houses the switches for the power-operated doors the air vents.

It would be easy to criticize the 7 Series for having too many menus buried in too many screens, but that’s the consequences of all of the features this luxury car integrates. For a car with so much inside, the menu system is at least logically laid out, and there isn’t the proliferation of unnecessary configuration options you’ll find in many other high-end cars.

How Does the BMW 750e Compare?

What’s perhaps most impressive about the 750e is its breadth and depth beyond long highway drives. While this is a massive car with a massive footprint, it is surprisingly easy to maneuver around city streets, with a remarkably tight turning circle, easy steering, and good visibility augmented by an array of cameras and an automated parking function. And on a winding road, you can tap it into sport mode and enjoy responsive handling, incredible traction, and sports-car braking that are all out of whack with the 7’s exterior size and blocky shape.

In this respect, it is superior to competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (which is similarly available with gasoline and plug-in hybrid versions) and EQS (Mercedes’ all-electric top dog, which has a completely different shape and package). While the Mercedes models offer similar levels of comfort and refinement, they don’t come alive the way the 7 Series does when you want to drive more aggressively. Audi’s A8 offers a similar breadth of ability, but it isn’t quite as smooth or silent – and has no plug-in option.

Final Thoughts

What to make, then, of the BMW 750e xDrive overall? On the one hand, even with its superb highway economy and zero-emissions city cruising, it’s tough to call it an environmentally friendly choice given its bulk, leather-lined interior, and domineering presence. On the other hand, if you’re going to buy a big, luxurious sedan anyway – or if your business has need of such a vehicle in which to move clients or guests – the new BMW 7 Series currently leads its class. And that’s true whether you go gasoline, electric, or plug-in hybrid.