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BMW's hybrid programme has reached the dizzy heights of the 7-series, following the appearance of the technology on the 3- and 5-series.
The 320hp 3.0-litre engine is taken from the standard 740i, and adapted with a 55hp synchronous motor, eight-speed auto transmission and lithium-ion battery. On paper, the key figures look good for such a big luxury car - 158g/km CO2 and 41.5mpg - but as a hybrid, it isn't what you'd call impressive. Prod the throttle with anything more than the lightest amount of pressure and the big petrol engine takes over straight away. Press on and it sounds amazing with acceleration to match. According to the trip computer, we averaged just over 30mpg on a very sedate run, but this began to drop at higher speeds.
In every other respect it's as luxurious, impenetrable and well-rounded as any other 7-series, though, while the driving experience, in typical BMW style, is both engaging and extremely comfortable.
A hybrid option on a luxury car like this shows that BMW is serious, to some degree, about alternative fuels, but the reality is that chauffeur businesses wanting to clean up their act are still better off with an equivalent diesel. A 730Ld M-sport has a lower P11D by £7710 and offers 50.4mpg and 148g/km, while shorter wheelbase versions come even cheaper than that.
Hybrid technology on a luxury car like this shows some willing, but fleets are better off with the diesels in every conceivable way.