The 2020 BMW 745e iPerformance is an expensive way to lean green

The 2020 BMW 745e iPerformance is an expensive way to lean green

11/13/2019

What is it: The BMW 745e xDrive is a large car, with the burden of carrying flagship sedan status and a 12.0-KWh battery pack. Follow the numbers on back — size follows status. This puts the 745e above the base I-6 740i rear-wheel-drive and 740i xDrive all-wheel-drive sedans but below the V8-powered 750i and V12 M760i models, both xDrives.   

Key Competitors: Lexus LS Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz S 560e

Base Price: $96,545 As-Tested Price: $119,875

Highlights: The name 745e is new this year as it replaces the 2019 740e. With the new name comes a new engine. The four-cylinder internal combustion engine gets tossed to the bin, replaced with a buttery-smooth inline-six to go with the electric motor and battery pack. As a result, fuel economy drops considerably from 64 mpge and 27 combined mpg in 2019 to 56 mpge and 22 mpg now, but the powertrain feels more luxury-car appropriate.

 

BMW sticks with its iDrive rotary controller in the 2020 745e xDrive.

Our Opinion: We, as a society, have reached a point where hybrid technology makes a car superior in most every way other than cost. Today’s hybrids accelerate faster, operate quieter, and consume less fuel than their internal combustion engine-only counterparts. With that in mind, hybrids make perfect sense in the full-size, flagship premium sedan category, where price sensitivity drops down the priority list.

In this particular case, the 745e feels more appropriately flagship than the 740e it replaces. The 280-hp inline-six operates smoother and sounds much better while doing it. It also pairs well with the 113-hp electric motor. Altogether, you get 389 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, which never leaves the 745e wanting for power. Yes, the 750i and M760i are louder and faster still, but it seems to be that big muscle in a large premium sedan misses the point. Besides, the 745e reaches 60 mph from rest in less than five seconds, according to BMW.

The 2020 BMW 745e xDrive iPerformance delivers 389 hp.

Yes, 56 mpge is a big drop from the 740e’s 64 mpge. But it’s still better than a Toyota Prius, assuming you’re disciplined with recharging and fully utilizing the battery, which offers 16 miles of electric-only operation, according to the EPA. Furthermore, the 745e gets BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive, giving plenty of prowess in all weather conditions, assuming you have the right tires mounted.

BMW doesn’t quite match Mercedes-Benz for large sedan opulence, but in terms of comfort, it’s as good as anything on the road. Ergonomically speaking, everything is well placed. The seats support the body well, and I had no trouble feeling totally comfortable commuting to and from work. And my car nerd friends agreed that it even looks cool. If you can afford a six-figure price for a car, saving a few bucks at the gas station is probably not a huge incentive. But you get environmental points too (and perhaps an HOV lane sticker) and enjoy a serene driving experience while doing it.

–Robin Warner, managing editor

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $96,545

As-Tested Price: $119,875

Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged I6, eight-speed automatic, hybrid, AWD

Output: 389 hp, 442 lb-ft, combined output

Curb Weight: 4,848 pounds

Fuel Economy: 56 mpge, 22 mpg combined

Pros: Brilliantly smooth powertrain with plenty of muscle when needed

Cons: Sticker shock still exists, especially when considering the standard 740i beats combined fuel economy when the battery is depleted.

Options: Luxury Rear Seating Package, $3,900; Bowers & Wilkins, $3,400; M Sport Package, $3,400; Premium Package, $3,000; Rear-seat entertainment, $2,700; Executive Package, $2,500; Driver’s Assistance Pro Package, $1,700; Ash Grain Black/Red Wood; Icon Adaptive LED lights, $1,000; M Sport Brakes, $650


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