BMW has lifted the lid on its latest eco-friendly version of the 7 Series sedan - and there's not a single hydrogen tank in sight. Unlike the current darling of the environment-conscious celebrity set, the BMW Hydrogen 7, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid uses a far more viable petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain to deliver its fuel economy gains.
Then again, with a twin-turbo 300kW 4.4-litre V8 thrashing away under the hood, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid certainly won't be giving the humble Prius anything to worry about in the green stakes.
Instead, BMW's hybrid is targeted squarely at Mercedes-Benz's S400 BlueHYBRID and the more established Lexus LS600h, with fuel economy taking a plush, reclining back seat to outright power.
In addition to that monstrous 300kW V8, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid is propelled by a 15kW electric motor sandwiched between the engine and gearbox, with a relatively small lithium-ion battery and regenerative-braking supplying the juice. Sound familiar? It should. It's fundamentally the same system used by Mercedes in the S400 BlueHYBRID.
Combined power of both motors is a (very) handy 315kW, however the real gains are in torque production: with both motors on song, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid cranks out a humongous 810Nm. Acceleration should be astonishingly quick for such a large sedan, however BMW isn't dropping any performance stats just yet. We'll most likely have to wait until its Paris debut for that kind of information, but don't be surprised if the ActiveHybrid manages a sub five-second 0-100kph sprint. That's all I'm sayin'.
Despite the hybrid tag, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid is unlikely to make any treehuggers happy. BMW doesn't mention economy figures in its press release, however it does say that the ActiveHybrid system delivers a 20 per cent improvement in fuel consumption over a model running just the petrol engine alone. Considering the petrol engine in question is a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, don't expect to be easing your dependence on foreign oil just yet. Not with this car anyway.
BMW Unveils Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid.
BMW has unveiled a 7 Series hybrid concept car, which will be shown for the first time at this year’s Paris motor show.
The BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid combines the potential of BMW ActiveHybrid technology in the luxury saloon segment as part of the company’s EfficientDynamics innovation strategy.
“In typical BMW style, this new concept car combines a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions with a standard of driving dynamics never seen before even in this class of hybrid cars,” said Guenther Seemann, Managing Director of BMW Group Australia.
The BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid comes with an intelligent combination of the V8 petrol engine with Twin Turbo and High Precision Injection, based on the power unit of the BMW 750i, and electric drive as a mild hybrid concept.
The concept car allows enhanced driving dynamics together with a reduction of fuel consumption and emissions by 15 per cent versus the same car running on a combustion engine only.
Maximum output of the conventional engine in the regular production model is 300 kW, with peak torque of 600 Newton-metres.
Now this engine is combined with an electric motor fully integrated in the transmission housing, developing maximum output of 15 kW and peak torque of 210 Newton-metres.
With the mild hybrid concept, the electric motor boosts the dynamic driving potential of the eight-cylinder petrol engine giving the BMW 7 Series even more dynamic acceleration.
Using Brake Energy Regeneration, the electric motor supplies electric power to the power-consuming items on board the car, minimising the direct conversion of fuel into electrical energy and maximising the drive power available for enhanced driving dynamics.
The compact electric motor integrated in the transmission housing replaces the conventional alternator driven by the engine as well as the starter.
A high-performance lithium-ion battery integrated in the luggage compartment saves the energy generated and supplies power to the on-board network.
At the front of the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid an aluminium band stretching across the entire width of the front end beneath the number plate serves to provide a controlled flow of air to optimise aerodynamics.
The concept car is further enhanced in its sporting and elegant look with 20-inch light-alloy rims in V-spoke design. The rims are finished in body colour, the Blue Water metallic paintwork, a signature colour for BMW’s maximum-efficiency concept cars.
At the rear of the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid an additional air guidance element made of aluminium and exhaust tailpipes with new contours symbolise and round off the innovative drive concept.