BMW ActiveHybrid 7 (2009) first pictures

Published: 13 August 2009

This is BMW’s new ActiveHybrid 7, a hybrid limo which will compete with the Mercedes S400 Hybrid and Lexus LS600h as the car of choice for the rich but eco-conscious businessman.

Is BMW’s ActiveHybrid 7 the same as its ActiveHybrid X6?

Not quite. Both car use the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, but the hybrid X6 is more performance biased. So while the X6 has two electric motors, nickel-metal hydride batteries and an electric seven-speed CVT transmission, the 7-series features just one motor (sandwiched between the engine and torque converter) but an eight-speed automatic and lithium-ion batteries.

The total output of the engine and electric motor is 459bhp and 516lb ft. That’s 19bhp and 59lb ft down on the X6, but with less weight to lug, it’ll sprint to 62mph in 4.9 seconds, seven-tenths quicker than the SUV.

The 29.1mpg and 219/km figures also best the hybrid 4x4, and the equivalent V8-engined 7-series (which does 24.8 and 266g/km), but can’t match the 39.2 and 192g/km CO2 of the 730d. It won’t matter to UK buyers though, because BMW isn't planning to engineer the ActiveHybrid 7 for right-hand drive. Shame.

Anything else?

With an eight-speed auto, the ActiveHybrid 7 is the first automatic BMW with stop-start, and the battery back-up means the electric air-con systems can keep running even when the engine is switched off.

And to make it stand out from lesser Sevens, there's special aero-optimised 19-inch wheels, ActiveHybrid badges and a unique Bluewater paint.

Click 'Add your comment' below and tell us whether you'd pick an ActiveHybrid 7 over an S400 Hybrid or LS600h, or just stick with a 730d

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy