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BMW 745e: a haughty luxury saloon

The BMW 745e plug-in hybrid is the very definition of plush. Jemma Slingo reports.

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BMW's chairman, Harald Krger, wants the company's most expensive cars to be more even luxurious, says Richard Lane in Autocar. The new BMW 7 Series 745e certainly sticks to the brief. With massaging seats, wooden seat-belt covers, and interiors swathed in parquet leather, this plug-in hybrid is the definition of plush.

It's the 7 series's haughty exterior that is most eye-catching, however, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. "If you thought the grille of the new X5 SUV was outsize, it looks positively discreet compared with the new 7 series. Presence it certainly has, with a get-out-of-my-way' mien (about which the best that can be said is that when you are inside, you can't see it)." Yet despite its controversial appearance, there is still a lot to enjoy about the 745e, says What Car. "BMW has massaged the car's air suspension set-up, and although the plug-in hybrid needs to be a mite stiffer to cope with the extra weight, there's no doubt the ride quality is now just a hair's breadth behind that of the S-Class."

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As a result of the 12kWh lithium-ion battery nestled beneath its rear seat, the BMW now has an electric-only range of 36 miles. "Most of these cars will live their lives in the default hybrid setting, however," says Autocar. "The 745e's ability to set off in silence then awaken with barely a ripple in momentum a smooth-spinning straight-six seemingly located in a different postcode is profoundly impressive." The throttle response is "crisp at low speeds", but a "brief stint in sport mode on the autobahn highlights the true potency of this powertrain; 443lb ft from 1,500rpm and 389bhp demonstrate why a 1,995kg limousine still needs at least a half-dozen cylinders". Given the space, the car will "sail into triple figures without hesitation, thrumming sweetly all the way".

The BMW 7 series remains the driving enthusiast's limo, concludes The Daily Telegraph. "Even in plug-in hybrid form, the 7 series feels like the sort of car just made for those late nights when the boss strides out of the boardroom and hands you a locked briefcase saying: Take my car, but this has got to be in Milan before tomorrow'."

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Price: £76,030Engine: 3.0 litre, six cylinder petrolPower: 282bhp at 5,000rpm,Electric motor: 111bhp at 3,170rpmTop speed: 155mph0-62mph: 5.2 seconds

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