Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick and off-the-cuff car review consisting of impressions, jottings, and marginalia regarding whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: the 2018 >BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance.

Large luxury sedans have traditionally been about excess. There's no practical reason to cram a 12-cylinder engine cranking out supercar-worthy power into the hood of a giant four-door that'll never set a tire on a track; buyers simply want such power, simply because they can have it. But even the status-minded backseat riders who buy fancy four-doors with six-figure pricetags are starting to see a reason to buy cars with hybrid powertrains. In some cases, it's presumably a desire to escape onerous congestion charges or to legally sneak into traffic-avoiding HOV lanes; in others, it's likely to earn kudos from eco-minded friends, family, and neighbors; and sometimes, no doubt, it's out of an earnest desire to cut back on carbon emissions.

Regardless of why, though, there's clearly a market there. As such, the last few years have seen a series of plug-in hybrid sedans designed for the 1 percent of the 1 percent. Cadillac now sells the made-in-China-but-don't-think-less-of-it-for-that CT6 Plug-In Hybrid; Mercedes-Benz offers an S-Class that pairs a twin-turbo V-6 with an electric motor (and will soon offer wireless charging for it, to boot); Porsche offers the Panamera in no fewer than four plug-in hybrid variants, including two long-wheelbase Executive versions ideally suited to Wall Street execs who want to be driven up and down the winding Merritt Parkway at twice the speed limit. 

But it's BMW's wall-charging hybrid 7 Series that strays farthest from its original mission brief of "fanciest Ultimate Driving Machine." The 740e xDrive iPerformance generates roughly as much power as the turbocharged-inline-six-powered 740i, but does so by combining an electric motor with the same 2.0-liter turbo-four found in the humble 230i. If that powertrain combo seems familiar, well, you're probably remember Lawrence Ulrich's review of the 530e iPerformance, which uses the same setup in a lower state of tune. 

Your humble author spent a couple days tooling around the urban confines of Manhattan, while deputy editor Josh Condon took it on a multi-state highway blast to the greater Boston area and back again. Here, we compare our respective pluses and minuses about this plus-sized plug-in Bimmer. 

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2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance Review: Plug It In, Plug It In…for 10 Miles of Electric Range
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