The Munich-based automaker takes a step forward with its first PHEV here

EXCLAIMED SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. (ACDC) Chairman Ramon Ang, “Maganda ang performance, matipid pa sa fuel, and grabe ang low-end torque (It performs well, is fuel-efficient, and has awesome low-end torque. Who would’ve thought that a four-cylinder engine could perform this way?” during an online press conference held right after BMW Philippines’ official, virtual launch of the 2020 BMW 7 Series in the country.

“Cars from before were more front-heavy,” he continued. “But paliitan na ng makina ngayon (It’s a competition of smaller engines now).”

These statements from Mr. Ang were in reference to the latest turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which brings the brand the opportunity to price its long-running flagship sedan starting from as low as under P6 million — positioning itself as an extremely strong contender against its toughest rivals in the local luxury segment.

Just like before, the BMW 7 Series is offered in two body variants. And for the first time in the Philippines, BMW will be offering a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) variant, the BMW 745Le Pure Excellence, which will carry a 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower, six-cylinder gasoline-powered engine paired with an electric motor that can offer up to 55 kms of pure-electric range (driven under ideal circumstances). Its combined petrol and engine output is a whopping 394hp, alongside 600Nm of torque. And all that pulling power can come at your bidding for a price tag of P9.59 million — which is not bad at all, considering all that you get, plus the standard five-year/200,00-km (whichever comes first) manufacturer’s warranty.

“It’s a game-changer and is bound to shake things up!” exclaimed a confident SMC ACDC President Spencer Yu during the press exchange.

The ICE (internal combustion engine) variant of the 7 Series is the BMW 730i Pure Excellence, that carries a thrifty but powerful 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower four-cylinder engine spitting out a laudable 265hp and 400Nm. This costs P5.99 million, and also comes with the aforementioned manufacturer’s warranty.

Both the 745Le (which comes with a longer wheelbase) and the 730i variants are 23mm longer in wheelbase measurement than their older siblings, while their width and height have remained the same. The 730i sports 18-inch light alloy wheels in Multi-spoke Style 619, while the 745Le comes with 19-inch light alloy wheels in Double-spoke Style 630 Bicolor. Both are equipped with run-flat tires.

Perhaps the most immediately noticeable change in the 2020 7 Series is its ever-so-enormous pair of BMW kidneys, which have now grown by 40%. Also noticeable is how the front bumper now has air deflectors meant to help cool the brakes. The taillights that complement the front’s adaptive LED headlights are noticeably slimmer, and there is a light bar that now stretches across the tail to connect these rear lights visually.

Inside the cabin of the 7 Series, you will find nothing less than excellent workmanship and the use of choice materials. Automatic four-zone climate control is standard, as are its electric roller sun blinds, leather steering wheel with new multifunction buttons, and one of my favorite discreet features of luxury — the lovely, soft-close function for all doors.

The 745Le exudes a high level of sophistication with its Nappa leather trim with extended quilting, and fine-wood trim in Poplar Grain Metallic Gray high-gloss. It offers active seat ventilation for the front and rear seats, and a luxurious massage function for all passenger seats. Also special in the 745Le is its exceptional Rear Seat Entertainment Experience — which includes 10-inch full-HD touchscreens in the back, plus a tablet integrated into the middle seat armrest that serves as a remote control. Complementing the suite of features with an exemplary acoustic experience is a Harman Kardon Surround Sound system.

Meanwhile, the 730i comes with leather Dakota upholstery, fine-wood trim (Fineline high-gloss with aluminum embellisher), electrically adjustable rear seats, and also nothing less than a Harman Kardon Surround Sound system.

Another stark difference of the 2020 7 Series to its predecessor is a fully digital instrument cluster display and control display. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional, composed of an iDrive controller and touchscreen, features a navigation and multimedia system, a digital high-res instrument cluster that is 12.3 inches large, and a hefty control display that measures 10.25 inches. Apple CarPlay compatibility also comes as standard amid BMW’s proprietary Operating System 7.0 software.

Included in BMW’s driver assistance technology is a parking assistant — which offers automatic assisted parking for parallel or perpendicular (to the road) configurations. It also includes automatic maneuvering out of parallel parking spaces! Also standard is its park distance control, basically comprised of front and rear parking sensors paired with a rearview camera. Surround view is available on the 745Le, as is the brand’s innovative Gesture Control.

The new BMW 730i Pure Excellence and 745Le Pure Excellence are both icons of sophistication and elegance, alongside innovative in-car controls and driver-assistance and connectivity technology. The model clearly makes its commitment to comfort and quality with all its bells and whistles, standard two-axle suspension, and cavernous rear space. It is undoubtedly an aggressively priced, feature-packed, and formidable contender in the local luxury market.