Preview: 2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7

Luxury Vehicles: Hot on the heels of the ActiveHybrid X6 revealed yesterday, BMW has announced the production version of the all-new ActiveHybrid 7 sedan, which will also premiere at next month's Frankfurt Auto Show. Combining twin-turbocharging and direct-injection technologies with a 3-phase synchronous electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries, the ActiveHybrid 7 manages to churn out 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque and sends this all through a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission.

The end result is a full-size luxury sedan that is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, while delivering fuel economy approximately 15 percent better than the similarly powerful 750i. Some of the other advanced fuel-saving measures include an engine stop-start system and electronically-powered auxiliary systems.

Additionally, BMW's ActiveHybrid technology uses energy that would be normally converted into heat through the brakes, and therefore wasted in conventional cars. The ActiveHybrid 7 features an enhanced version of the automaker's Brake Energy Regeneration system already used in some current BMW models running on a combustion engine alone.

In this case the integrated electric motor acts as a generator when coasting or applying the brakes, in order to feed electric power into the battery. Brake Energy Regeneration converts some of the vehicle's kinetic energy into electric power for the on-board network whenever the driver lifts off the accelerator or applies the brakes. On acceleration, electricity is fed back into the on-board network from the lithium-ion battery. This sequence relieves the combustion engine from the task of converting some of its fuel energy into electric current, and thus enables the engine to provide more power directly to the rear wheels. The result is better acceleration even than the 750i, despite the fact that the additional power is obtained in a way that does not require additional consumption of fuel.

Under the front hood is the regular 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the 750i, which produces a peak output of 440 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque and is matched with a three-phase synchronous electric motor.

The motor is positioned between the engine and the torque converter, and is connected to the crankshaft. Shaped like a disc, it weighs 50.7 pounds. The motor generates boost of approximately 20 horsepower and peak torque of 155 pound-fee. When operating as a generator in Brake Energy Regeneration, the electric motor produces approximately 27 horsepower of brake force.

As mentioned, the electric motor in the ActiveHybrid 7 is powered by lithium-ion batteries. Importantly, the car gives up almost no luggage capacity to its conventional siblings (750i and 750Li), because the 120-volt battery is small enough to be mounted underneath the trunk floor.

The useful energy provided by the battery is 400 watt-hours. The battery itself is comprised of 35 cells and an integrated control unit which continuously analyzes the charge level and ensures appropriate dependability under all conditions.

Special displays are included in the instrument cluster and the central display so you will know just how much fuel you are actually saving.

To set it apart from the regular 7-Series and to ensure onlookers know owners are slightly environmentally concerned, the ActiveHybrid 7 is distinguished by custom aerodynamically-tuned 19-inch alloy wheels, unique badging, and a special "Bluewater" metallic paint scheme.

The new ActiveHybrid 7 will reach America shores in Spring in next year and both standard and long-wheelbase versions will be offered. Official EPA ratings will be available closer to the U.S. market launch.

Motor Authority
JustLuxe Contributor

2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7
2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7
2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7
2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7
2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7


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