The Diesel Driver Review: BMW ActiveHybrid 7

7 Series | July 7th, 2010 by 5
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Last year, BMW entered the hybrid segment with two high-end models, the 7 Series and X6 hybrids. Dubbed ActiveHybrid 7, the first production ready BMW hybrid uses a different electric drive setup from the X6 Hybrid and it is being considered a mild hybrid. The system was developed in collaboration with Mercedes Benz.

ActiveHybrid 7 combines an electric motor with BMW’s much-praised 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 and new 8-speed automatic transmission to accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds while delivering impressive EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, a near 18 percent improvement over the non-hybrid 750i/Li.

The ActiveHybrid 7 features Engine Start/Stop to avoid wasteful engine idling in stop-and-go driving and at traffic lights. The powerful lithium-ion battery enables systems like the radio, Bluetooth phone connection and air-conditioning to continue running when the engine is off. Its compact size minimizes the impact on luggage capacity.

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The Diesel Driver has just published their impressions on the 7 Series Hybrid, along with the real life fuel economy numbers. While most of the technical details are already known and outlined above as well, let’s take a moment and read about the driving experience.

“After all this, you may wonder how the ActiveHybrid 7 drives. I spent a week with the ActiveHybrid 7, driving it on twisty mountain roads, highways, and city streets, and I was hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and the V-12 powered 760Li when hitting the accelerator. The start-stop feature is reasonably inconspicuous although a quick move from brake to gas can result in a bit of a jerk. Thanks to the tiny battery and mild hybrid system, the 7er’s weight distribution was preserved, which bodes well for handling (this is one of the reasons BMW uses different hybrid systems in the X6 versus the 7er).

The firm and responsive ride was adjustable via the four driver-selectable settings in the Driving Dynamics Control system. Set for sport, the ActiveHybrid 7 attacked twisties with a vengeance. On some pot-holed New York City streets, I didn’t notice the bumps go by.

The fuel economy I got during that week, however, served as an excellent reminder that I was, indeed, in a hybrid vehicle. It consistently got 3 mpg more than the 750i in city driving, averaging 20 mpg. My overall fuel economy for the week was 24.5 mpg.

Best of all, the ActiveHybrid 7 qualifies for a $900 IRS Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit.”

Full review at The Diesel Driver