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2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid Review

This review was written when the 2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid was new.

The 2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid receives praise for its comfortable interior and dynamic performance. Still, the hybrid 7-Series falters with its high price and a drivetrain that needs improvement.

Compared with other hybrid super luxury cars, the 2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid offers an exceptional amount of power, as well as all the other luxury trappings that drivers expect. BMW calls it the ActiveHybrid 750i, and thanks to its hybrid drivetrain, the 7-Series Hybrid offers more power than V8 rivals like the Porsche Panamera S and Mercedes-Benz S550. At the same time, the 7-Series Hybrid manages slightly better fuel economy ratings than those competitors.

However, new cars like the Mercedes S350 Bluetec and Porsche Panamera S Hybrid use less fuel, and test drivers frequently take issue with the 7-Series Hybrid’s high price. “Our least favorite is the ActiveHybrid 7, which combines a 4.4-liter V-8 with an electric motor,” says Automobile Magazine in their review of the entire 7-Series line. “It can't match the EPA ratings of the 740i, and yet the hybrid costs some $9000 more than the regular V-8 7-series.”

The 7-Series Hybrid isn’t just pricey compared with its gas-only siblings -- it’s more expensive than rivals like the Panamera Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid, which both deliver better fuel economy, but can’t match the 7-Series Hybrid’s power.

Inside this hybrid, it’s BMW 7-Series business as usual, which is a good thing. Reviewers like the 7-Series Hybrid’s spacious, well-equipped interior. Many also note that BMW’s iDrive system has gotten much easier to use. Despite its prodigious power, comfortable interior and decent fuel economy, the 7-Series Hybrid’s high price may mean that, for many shoppers, there’s ultimately a better choice.

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re looking for a hybrid car with thrilling performance and better fuel economy, consider the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. It’s less powerful than the 7-Series Hybrid, but reviewers agree that the Panamera is just as nimble. Additionally, the Panamera offers a high-quality interior and a lower base price.

The Lexus LS Hybrid might be a good choice if you’re looking for a hybrid luxury car with an opulent interior and a comfortable ride. LS and 7-Series hybrids have roughly the same fuel economy ratings, but the 7-Series is more powerful. The LS Hybrid is also more expensive than the 7-Series. However, it also comes with all-wheel drive and a longer list of standard interior features.

BMW 7-Series Hybrid: The Details

The 2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid comes in two models with different wheelbase lengths: the regular-wheelbase ActiveHybrid 750i and the extended-wheelbase ActiveHybrid 750Li. Both models are powered by a turbocharged V8 engine and a small electric motor. The hybrid powertrain is mated to an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. See the full 2012 BMW 7-Series Hybrid specs.

  • "The car is spacious, very comfortable and drives smaller than its flagship size." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Nothing except frugality was overlooked with the new ActiveHybrid 7, which offers space, luxury, and speed-plus decent fuel economy-at a steep price." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Does it add up to a compelling automobile? By the numbers, perhaps not. If fuel economy is your number-one goal, there are better vehicles to buy than the 20-mpg combined ActiveHybrid 7. And if enhanced performance is a priority, the 7 Series' 760i variant or the Alpina B7 are likely better choices." -- Edmunds 
  • "In other respects this is a normal 7 Series. Which means a spectacular gadget count in a highly agreeable interior. It also means a slightly unresolved chassis: Too much low-speed ride shuffle, gluey steering, and a vast set of driver-configurable damper and anti-roll permutations, none of which feels like exactly the right one." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Think of this car as the motorized equivalent of an expensive charity ball, given by the swells of the community for the greater good of all. Only a few people can afford to attend the ball. But the few who arrive in an ActiveHybrid7 will do so in guilt-free, or at least propitious, luxury. It's a bauble. But, like it or not, the ActiveHybrid7 works wonderfully well." -- Cars.com 
Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

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