Okay, it's finally time: you have the wherewithal to select the full-size European luxury sedan of your dreams, and your wallet won't mind any reasonable choice. But you also have a green-tinged conscience, and premium performance combined with hybrid efficiency is also on your wish list. In other words, you'd like V6 fuel economy with your V12 performance. If this sounds familiar, BMW is ready to serve you with their new 750i and 750Li ActiveHybrid 7 models.
Starting at $100,000 and change, the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is 25-percent more expensive than the standard-issue 7 Series 750i, yet it doesn't really come with a similar increase in efficiency and performance. Its twin-turbo V8 with an electric boost achieves 13 percent more power and an approximately 15-percent fuel economy improvement.
So the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is obviously not an accountant-friendly value proposition, but it's more about exclusivity, performance and driving the current state of the art. In those areas it does an exceedingly fine job, rewarding your right foot with a notable surge of power over the regular 750 while upholding BMW's promise of compelling driving dynamics that clearly outpace its rivals.
Current BMW ActiveHybrid 7
The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is a full-size gas-electric hybrid luxury sedan offered in standard-wheelbase 750i and long-wheelbase 750Li versions. Under its graceful skin lie equally impressive performance credentials. The 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 is familiar enough to BMW fans, but is modified to work together with an electric motor powered by a trunk-mounted lithium battery. This combination results in a generous bump to the gas-only 750's output, delivering 455 horsepower and 515 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Adding to the efficiency side of the equation, this hybridized 7 Series also features regenerative braking and an automatic stop/start function that turns the car off when it's stopped and back on when the brake pedal is released. All together, BMW's advanced technology helps the ActiveHybrid 7 achieve an estimated 20 miles per gallon in combined driving -- 3 more mpg than the standard 750i -- while knocking off zero-to-60-mph sprints in just 4.7 seconds, a half-second faster than its conventional stablemate. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 gives up nothing in the twisties either, with a somewhat firm ride and engaging responsiveness custom-tailored via one of four driver-selectable settings of its Driving Dynamics Control system.
Both trims are filled with all the premium comfort, convenience and technological amenities you'd expect in this class, plus standard 16-speaker audio, keyless entry/ignition, and exclusive hybrid badging and information displays in the instrument cluster and iDrive readout. There are countless other features available as a la carte options or within a variety of packages.
The extended-wheelbase 750Li adds more than 5 inches of additional rear legroom and standard self-leveling air suspension to further coddle its passengers. For the ultimate point of exclamation, a Luxury Rear Seating package offers power rear seats featuring cooling and massaging functions. However, even if you don't add a thing, BMW's flagship 7 Series represents the ultimate expression of this brand's capabilities. The ActiveHybrid 7's cabin envelopes you with supple leather and rich wood accents, and responds to your whims with advanced user-friendly technology like its iDrive system with rotary controller and simplified function-button array.
In reviews, however, we didn't think the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 made much sense. With a combined 20-mpg estimated rating, the truly fuel-conscious will want to look at more focused hybrids. Dedicated performance drivers will get more bang for their big bucks across the showroom with BMW's V12-powered 760Li. And hybrid shoppers looking for Teutonic-flavored luxury with greater efficiency and a saner price will find it with Mercedes' S400 hybrid.
Read the most recent 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used BMW ActiveHybrid 7 page.