2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7

2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 7

In just a couple of weeks’ time at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show BMW will unveil two new hybrid vehicles based on its 7-Series flagship sedan and sporty X6 crossover. They differ from most rival hybrid models in that they combine a thumping V-8 engine with an electric motor in order to create a stunning performer rather than a leisurely fuel-sipper.

The 2011 ActiveHybrid 7, based on the 7-Series, outputs a healthy 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, while the 2011 ActiveHybrid X6 becomes the world’s most powerful hybrid thanks to its 480 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque output. While the performance is likely to be out of this world, fuel economy is only expected to be about 15% and 20% better than regular V-8 versions of the 7-Series and X6 respectively.

This is a strategy BMW believes suits its luxury customers, especially in North America where the automaker expects to sell 1,000 hybrids in its first year. The information comes from BMW’s U.S. chief Jim O'Donnell, who explained that American luxury customers still want a V-8.

O'Donnell went on to reveal that the new hybrid models are just a small part of BMW’s overall plan to become greener. In addition to making its cars lighter with more aluminium and carbon-fiber, BMW intends to implement more of its EfficientDynamics technologies as well as introduce more diesel models--especially for its 5-Series sedan and X SUVs and crossovers.

The ActiveHybrid X6 will hit showrooms in December, followed by the ActiveHybrid 7 in April next year.