Expert Reviews

2024 BMW 750e PHEV Review

8.0
10
AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • STYLING
    7/10
  • Safety
    9/10
  • PRACTICALITY
    7/10
  • USER-FRIENDLINESS
    8/10
  • FEATURES
    9/10
  • POWER
    8/10
  • COMFORT
    10/10
  • DRIVING FEEL
    8/10
  • FUEL ECONOMY
    8/10
  • VALUE
    6/10

Back in university, my roommate was the consummate overachiever, studying hard and putting up impressive grades in every course.

During our undergrad years, we both had eyes for law school. My roommate succeeded there, too, and has spent the last quarter century labouring to become a senior partner at one of Toronto’s top firms. Fortunately, I took a different path, dodging a life of courtrooms, suits, and ties at the cost of the wealth and prosperity that tends to come with it.

Recently, my old roommate invited me to spend the weekend at his holiday home, which happened to correspond with my test of the 2024 BMW 750e – the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the brand’s flagship sedan. As the latest iteration of BMW’s true range-topper, it was perfectly suited for showing off to my fancy-pants barrister buddy.

Power: 8/10

It takes big power figures to raise eyebrows these days – something this 7 Series comes close to. Under the hood is a beloved BMW staple: a turbocharged 3.0L inline six-cylinder engine. In the BMW 740i that’s sold in other markets – including the United States – the straight-six doles out a healthy 375 hp, but here the help of an electric motor snuggled between the engine and transmission pushes that figure to 483 hp to go with a generous 516 lb-ft of torque.

It's enough to motivate the big Bimmer from rest to highway speeds in less than five seconds. That’s not the hair-raising pace of the fully-electric i7 M70, nor the V8-powered 760i, but it’s more than quick enough to move off smartly and pass confidently when needed.

 

Driving Feel: 8/10

A car like this is expected to be able to move out of its own way, but neck-snapping acceleration isn’t the point. It’s about smoothness and effortlessness, and the 750e excels in both measures. My former roommate, who isn’t much of a car enthusiast, didn’t know what to make of the stately sedan when he first walked up to it, remarking only about the car’s presumed unwieldy stature.

The reality is that, while a very large car, it was surprisingly athletic when hustled around the rolling hills of upstate New York en route to his chalet. The wide tires wrapped around 21-inch wheels clung to the pavement, even at speeds that were quicker than a big sedan like this is normally driven in such environs.

It’s on the highway where the 750e truly impresses. Cruising at speed there, the smoothness and serenity are a friendly reminder of why a machine like this costs what it does. It’s such a dignified way of getting around, providing enjoyment simply because it’s such a relaxing, comfortable experience.

However, the brakes, while plenty powerful, were difficult to get used to, requiring a push through a mushy first quarter of the pedal travel without much result before stepping into a bunch of braking power all at once. It wasn’t a great way to show the law-talking guy what a skilled, professional driver I’ve become in the time it’s taken him to achieve excellence in his own field.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

The 14.4-kWh battery is nestled under the floor and can be charged at a maximum rate of 7.4 kW. It’s rated for 55 km of range on nothing but electricity, which means many daily commutes won’t need to wake the engine at all. When the engine is called upon it’s assisted by the electric motor, resulting in a combined consumption rate of 9.4 L/100 km. That’s a decent figure for a huge car with serious power. (For perspective, the V8-powered version of this car is rated for 11.5 L/100 km.)

It’s not tough to top that official estimate, especially if the electric half of the powertrain is used for in-town driving. With the gas engine running on the highway and secondary roads during this test, the indicated consumption rate ranged in the mid-8s.

This PHEV’s direct competitor is the Mercedes-Benz S 580e, which uses a turbo straight-six with identical displacement to this one. And while the Benz is slightly thirstier, particularly in urban driving, its all-electric range rates at 74 km. Meanwhile, the Lexus LS 500h is a conventional hybrid that doesn’t offer plug-in power, but it’s slightly more efficient than its German rivals.

Safety: 9/10

With the 7 Series being the flagship of the BMW lineup, it’s appropriately equipped with fancy advanced safety features. The usual blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam assistance, parking sensors, and driver attention monitoring are all standard fare.

This tester had a $3,750 package that added adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, plus hands-free highway driving and lane change assistance. While those are nice to have, that package is also required for those who want lane-keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert, among other active safety features that are standard on many cars costing less than half what this one does.

Features: 9/10

The 2024 BMW 750e is trimmed in decadent trappings throughout. The materials are first-rate and build quality is exceptional. Even this version that’s the cheapest of the lot is a posh machine with an excellent sound system, soft-close doors, dramatic interior lighting, and a panoramic glass roof. Plus, there are impressive details like the small door-mounted touchscreens for rear-seat occupants to manage their individual climate and comfort whims.

As with the safety features, some elements cost extra here that one might expect to find included, such as heated rear seats. Those come as part of an option group that includes heated armrests, front seat massagers, crystal headlights, and swanky glass controls.

User-Friendliness: 8/10

Sitting in the 750e and taking in the vast expanse of screens and crystal-like controls, my university pal seemed rather overwhelmed by it all. Fortunately, I was the one driving, and I’ve had the good fortune of spending time in contemporary BMWs with the same setup, so the minimalist controls are now familiar.

Modern cars present so many features and functions that managing them all in a user-friendly operating system is surely a daunting task for automakers. BMW has been refining its iDrive system for nearly two dozen years, and it shows when you delve into the menus.

The primary touchscreen can also be manipulated via the pretty glass dial on the console, or conversational voice commands prompted by the phrase “Hey, BMW.” The twinned screen that serves as the instrument display can be formatted to show all manner of information a driver might deem necessary, but the ability to scroll through radio stations – and seeing what song is playing before selecting it – makes the experience great for a chronic channel surfer like me. [I always took you for the set-it-and-forget-it Yacht Rock type.–Ed.]

Practicality: 7/10

Compared to the BMW X7, which is the brand’s biggest SUV, the 7 Series sedan isn’t as practical. It doesn’t have the gigantic cargo hold or three-row seating of its sibling, but it does offer a trunk with class-leading capacity of 540 L and ample space for five people (although the middle rear seat occupant will need to straddle the driveline hump in the floor). Its standard all-wheel drive makes it ready for all-season use in Canada, assuming the proper seasonal tires are employed.

Such a large car could be a handful when parking, but besides the litany of sensors, the rear-axle steering helps the big sedan’s manoeuvrability in tight spaces, too. Meanwhile, the drive position is commanding, offering mostly great sightlines, except for the broad B-pillar that causes extra neck-craning for blind-spot checks.

Comfort: 10/10

Having some practical uses and the ability to stay composed during high-speed cornering is nice, but this car is about coddling its fortunate occupants. Being mired in Friday afternoon rush hour on our trip to the holiday home simply allowed us more time to catch up. The 750e was content to remove the stress of stop-and-go traffic while the million-way-adjustable seats were set to massage our aging backs.

The big BMW’s air suspension does an incredible impression of a magic carpet ride, but without any floatiness. It’s perfectly stable, while eliminating any evidence of pavement imperfections.

The 750e’s quietness nearly rivals a full electric vehicle (EV) for its serenity, even when the engine is whirring along happily; such is the benefit of the inherently smooth inline-six format. If we had run out of conversation, (we didn’t), we could’ve summoned some nostalgic ‘90s tunes on the nearly 2,000-watt sound system.

Styling: 7/10

While I object to some of the design elements on the 7 Series, the good lawyer did not. He found it handsome, not being bothered by the oversized chrome-coloured plastic grille or stacked, squinty front light design. We both agreed it’s a very imposing machine that projects a lot of visual mass, and that its profile and rear views are its best angles.

The cabin’s diamond-stitched seats look as lovely as they feel, and my travel partner was suitably impressed by the massive dual-screen cockpit. Conversely, neither of us were overly impressed by the lit-up strip of glass across the dash, with all its odd cuts and angles.

Fashion is, of course, a fickle thing, and while the 750e may have all the sensuality of brutalist-era architecture, I prefer a flagship sedan to have more elegance like the BMW 750i James Bond drove decades ago in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Value: 6/10

The most affordable 7 Series still commands a starting price of $142,500. Add on the extra necessities found on the test car, plus destination charges and luxury tax, and the tally easily surpasses $170,000. The hybrid Lexus LS 500h and mild-hybrid Genesis G90 both share similar gravitas and comfort, but cost tens of thousands less. Still, compared to the V8-powered 760i or all-electric i7 – or the plug-in Mercedes S 580e – the 2024 BMW 750e rings in notably cheaper and, in many respects, represents a stronger value.

The Verdict

In some top-tier sedans, replacing the V8 with a six-cylinder dramatically reduces its appeal by ruining its harmonics and smoothness. That’s not the case with the 2024 BMW 750e that delivers the sublime serenity expected of a car like this. Although lacking the thrilling thrust of the V8-powered and entirely electric 7 Series models, this PHEV still succeeds where it needs to, offering all the visual impact of its costlier siblings and the sufficiently decadent interior to coddle power players like my dear friend and former roommate.

 

Specifications
Engine Displacement 3.0L
Engine Cylinders PHEV I6
Peak Horsepower 483 hp net
Peak Torque 516 lb-ft net
Fuel Economy 9.9 / 8.8 / 9.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 540 L
Model Tested 2024 BMW 750e xDrive
Base Price $142,500
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,480
Price as Tested $161,530
Optional Equipment
$16,450 — Premium package, $8,300; Advanced Driver Assistance package, $3,750; Smoke White merino leather, $2,900; 21-inch wheels, $1,500