BMW has confirmed hybrid versions of their 7 Series and X6 vehicles for a 2009 release. Expected for distribution towards the end of the year, the two vehicles will see much improved fuel consumption without performance sacrifices.
BMW will produce hybrid versions of the BMW 7 Series and the BMW X6 with sales expected to begin by the end of 2009. BMW Sales and Marketing Director Ian Robertson confirmed the report during talks with journalists at the Detroit Auto Show.
Robertson, the former CEO of Rolls-Royce, told journos that the two vehicles would use diffent hybrid systems. The luxury sedan 7-series would make use of a mild hybrid, allowing the engine to be shut down when coasting or braking. Accessories would still run with the engine shut down, making use of an electric motor. Meanwhile, the X6 Sport Activity Vehicle would be paired with a full-hybrid system, letting the SAV run on pure electric power or using a combination of its internal combustible engine and a larger electric motor to power the vehicle.
Concept versions of the two vehicles are on display at the North American International Auto Show. The BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid is based on the 2009 model year, and runs on a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 paired to a 20hp electric motor that generates an impressive 155 ft-lb of torque on its own. The V8 already generates 400 hp, and 450 ft-lb of torque, but the added power from the electrics will help cut fuel consumption by 15%. Energy for the electrics would be kept in a lithium-ion battery mounted in the vehicle's boot. Regenerative brakes also send energy back to the battery pack.
Fewer details of the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid have been released, but the German automaker has said the concept would get 20% better fuel economy than similar V8 vehicles. The X6 hybrid concept was likely drawn up with the same 4.4 liter V8 as the 7-series hybrid concept.
As these two vehicles are concepts, their will likely be some changes to mechanics and detailing before they get to the showroom. But do expect to see the BMW 7 Series Hybrid and the BMW X6 Hybrid in dealerships soon.
As Robertson said, "they will probably be available to our customers by the end of the year.”