Part of the appeal of the full-size BMW 7 Series is its diverse engine roster. Along with a choice of V6 and V8 turbos, you can order up a diesel, a V12 -- or the hybrid setup found under the hood of the ActiveHybrid 7. The latter injects an interesting dose of green technology into the sedan's established luxury-sport formula.
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2015 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Overview
What's New For 2015
The ActiveHybrid 7 is essentially unchanged.
Choosing Your BMW ActiveHybrid 7
The ActiveHybrid 7 combines the turbocharged 3-liter inline six-cylinder found in other 7 Series models with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is 350 horsepower, 35 more than the six-cylinder alone. In that respect, you can think of the ActiveHybrid 7 as sort of a performance hybrid. While quite good at 25 mpg combined, fuel economy is not the sole focus here. What you get is a respectable bump in both power and economy, two things that don't usually go together. It's worth noting that the ActiveHybrid 7 can cruise gently for about 2.5 miles on electric power alone, providing a womb-like experience where you can almost hear your passengers' thoughts.
Other mechanicals are shared with the regular six-cylinder 7 Series, which means you get an eight-speed automatic transmission, an adaptive suspension and 18-inch wheels. The leather interior features heated front seats with driver memory, four-zone climate control, keyless ignition, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a 10-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio. The ActiveHybrid 7 is further outfitted with adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglamps, power-folding heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a sunroof and a rearview camera.
There are numerous ways to enhance the sedan's luxury credentials. The Executive package adds a power trunk lid, automatic soft-close doors, ventilated multicontour front seats, a head-up display and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system. The Cold Weather package tacks on a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. Rear-seat passengers can be treated to ventilated and massaging seats, and an entertainment system with dual screens.
The M Sport package features aerodynamic body enhancements, a higher top speed and a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. For safety's sake, the Driver Assistance package adds lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and a surround-view camera system. Finally, there's a Lighting package with LED headlamps and automatic high beam control.
Major individual options include an automated parallel parking system, adaptive cruise control, infrared night vision and a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.
All of the ActiveHybrid 7's option packages are well-conceived and reasonably priced. Still, the sheer quantity of them means you'll have to make some decisions so the sticker price doesn't explode. For our money, the Driver Assistance package is the most useful.