BY BILL ZERVAKOS AND CATHY DROZ
The BMW 750i ActiveHybrid brings a manly new twist to the ultimate driving machine, combining all that’s good about the 750i with more power more torque and best of all, nearly 20 percent better fuel economy, setting new standards for performance and efficiency in the premium luxury class. The 7-Series ActiveHybrid is a mild hybrid, which means that the car cannot run on electric power alone like full hybrids.
The ActiveHybrid looks like the standard 7-Series, but it is outfitted with a number of discrete styling cues, like 19-inch light-alloy wheels and special badging. Inside the plush cockpit, displays inform the driver about the ActiveHybrid’s efficiency and operating status.
An upgraded twin-turbo, High Precision Direct Injection V8 engine, and a 3-phase synchronous electric motor gives the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 a combined output of 455 horsepower and maximum torque of 516 lb-ft. Power is transmitted via an 8-speed automatic transmission with the electric motor positioned between the engine and the torque converter. The 7-Series ActiveHybrid is equipped with an automatic stop/start system, which avoids engine idling when the car is stopped but still allows operation of the vehicle’s air conditioning and ventilation system via the specially designed lithium-ion battery.
The double-wishbone front suspension and an enhanced Integral-V rear suspension provide the ActiveHybrid 7 with the ride comfort expected of a BMW sport-luxury sedan, yet the handling and control of a sports car. The 7-Series is a big sedan, but if you so choose, it can be driven like a sports sedan. Both the 750i and 750Li are fitted with BMW’s vehicle speed-variable Servotronic power steering as well as Driving Dynamics Control. The driver is able to choose the preferred shock absorber setting, and shift characteristics of the automatic transmission, as well as the throttle response and Servotronic steering assist.
I have to admit that when shopping for an eco-friendly car, the 7-Series ActiveHybrid isn’t on the top of the list. However, if you want luxury with better fuel economy with an abundance of technology, sublime accoutrements and virtually no compromise despite hybrid technology, the 750i ActiveHybrid is a small step in the right direction and may be just what you’re looking for.
Bill Zervakos is co-producer and co-host with Cathy Droz of Two for the Road USA radio productions. Bill has been test-driving and reviewing vehicles for manufacturers for over 16 years on radio, video and in print. Find more about Two for the Road USA at twofortheroadusa.com.