BMW’s “Me Too” Hybrids

BMW presented a pair of hybrids yesterday—both packed with V8 engines—at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The old news is the BMW X6
full hybrid crossover, which debuted last year in Frankfurt. The new item is the BMW 7-Series mild hybrid concept, which promises a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

Unveiling the 7-Series hybrid, Dr. Klaus Draeger, BMW board member, said, “What does that mean for customers? The highest level of efficiency in the luxury class combined with the best dynamic performance among hybrid vehicles.”

In other words, the company has stuck to its guns: no compromise in performance and a very modest improvement in fuel efficiency. It’s expected that the 7-Series hybrid will top out in the mid-20 mpg range on the highway—pretty good for a two-ton full-size vehicle. BMW is eking out this mileage by using a start-stop system, regenerative braking, and low rolling resistance tires.

The powerful twin-turbo 4.4-liter gas V-8 delivers 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque with the 120-volt electric system adding some auxiliary power. The heart of the system is an AGM (absorbent glass mat) lithium ion battery pack stored in the trunk. An electric motor integrated into the transmission replaces the alternator and enables the start-stop system.

The BMW approach is similar to the one taken by Lexus with its LS 600h hybrid, using the hybrid system to boost efficiency, but not reducing engine size. BMW calls it Efficient Dynamics. What do we call this luxury vehicle with smidgen of hybrid-ness thrown on top? A half-hearted hybrid that’s out of step with the times.

The new non-hybrid BMW 7 Series arrives in the US in early 2009. The hybrid version remains a concept at this time.

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  • Picky McPicky


  • Paul Beerkens

    zzzzz indeed.

    I can’t wait for 2010 when almost every car manufacturer on the planet is releasing a plug in high mileage car. BMW apparently has not received the memo yet. Maybe they should merge with GM.

  • Skeptic

    That’s a *little* unfair to BMW – the Mini line gets good mileage.

    But yeah, you can put hybrid lipstick on a 400-hp V8 but it’s still a 400-hp V8 … and it doesn’t say that it’s really a hybrid, only that it has stop-start.

  • Shines

    Unfair to BMW!?! Stop start technology is a concept?
    What an insult. The Chevy Malibu Hybrid is in production with stop start technology for under $30k. I would expect concepts to lead not follow. Especially a top of the line model like the 700 series.
    Unless BMW is going to say, “All 700 series cars will have this technology by 2011” I think they need to get back to the drawingboard and work a little harder to put it into production.

  • Picky McPicky

    Merge with GM? Oh I get it, as long as America’s automobile industry is going down let’s bring down the whole world with us. Good strategy…:)

    BTW, I feel that if GM thinks they can’t merge out of bankruptcy a healthy corporation, why would our government invest $25 billlion to bail them out. Bankruptcy is the best protection a corporation can get. Their excuse is that people will percieve them differently if they go bankrupt. Well GM…consider this…your rep is already tarnished and will get worse if you accept the tax-payers money on the bail-out. And if you don’t emerge from the bail-out with a solid plan to give the consumer some viable fuel efficient vehicles…or use the excuse that gas prices are down and then continue to give the American people the same old same old…then start packing up GM…you will have lost us totally.

  • Picky McPicky

    Chevy Malibu Hybrid….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  • afinn

    Well its not that thrilling but Its better with some improvment in fuel economy than none. In defence of BMW I can say that their european 3 series are very fuel efficient (those with small motors). A european BMW 320i ES has a combined fuel consumption about 45 mpg and has 170 hp.

    I think that if you drive a lot on the highway. A car like the BMW 320i could be almost as fuel efficient as a full hybrid. And I would say you get more for your money. If you drive a lot in urban areas I would definetly prefer a full hybrid like the Toyota Prius.

  • vahidbmwf.torres

    so it’s OK for BMW , because they are exception in design and create in new things . BMW was best of the best and now is and will be best of the best .

  • Picky McPicky


    Translate your “point” in English please.

  • sean t

    “. . . the company has stuck to its guns: no compromise in performance and a very modest improvement in fuel efficiency”.

    That said it all.

  • Picky McPicky

    All righty folks. GM’s stock is down to $1.70 and there’s talk of them getting kicked out of the DJIA.

    Out with the old…in with the new. So what, America loses 3 million jobs. The mortgage crisis caused the contruction industry to lose 3 million jobs to date. Toll Brothers isn’t out there with their hand in the till.

    That’s what GM gets for being a big, gloating, uncontrollable, inconsolable, behemoth that everyone loves to hate.

    Their holier than thou attitude has finally worn thin on the American people. We are tired of GM producing crap…we are tired of the bravado…Michael Mooore, who I detest, was actually right on this one.

    Put GM in the hands of someone who cares about the consumer. Move it oput of the black hole that is Detroit and start all over again.

  • sean t

    We usually praise ‘Competition’ in the market (Bryce is well known for this).
    Let the uncompetitive companies die and I’m sure other (good, competitive) companies will pop up to replace them.
    Their CEOs still get the golden handshake when asking for bailout from the government! Where is the money from? Tax payers!

  • DanX

    I just wonder… what about a 50 cc charging an battery and, say, two electric motors drive.
    Full hybrid.

  • Hans and Frans

    Hans: Yah…the Beemah is a girly car..
    Frans: Yah Hans…we need to Pump… (clap)…America UP…with a manly muscle car…
    Hans: Yah Frans…B-M-W stands for Be My Woman…yah it’s really a girly car meant for girly men.
    Frans: We need American muscle cars Hans, like the the souped up Hummer that our manly idol Arnold drives.
    Hans: Yah Frans…Arnold drives over the girly men with that Hummer…squishes them like girly bugs.
    Frans: Look at my muscles tingle Hans when you mention the manly Hummer.
    Hans: I see them Frans…look at mine..they get bigger when I see Arnold filling his 100 gallon tank every 4 miles.
    Frans: Yeah Hans…Arnold Pumps (clap) his gas Up all by himself…he a manly man.
    Hans: Your a manly man Frans
    Frans: No your a manly man Hans…..

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Hans and Frans,
    Ahnold has a Tesla Roadster now just FYI.

  • Facts on CO2 reductions

    BMW Group actually reduced CO2 emissions more than Toyota in the US.

    Here’s the link:

  • Pio

    BMW proposed years ago a hydrogen car, with not much support from anywhere.

    The whole electricity car idea is plain stupid as long as most of electricity comes from burning of fossil fuels. The difference is that each BMW car has very low emissions and does not have to send the energy along electricity power lines losing 30% or more of it.
    It does not ask for much of bmwism to see that BMW cars give very good mileage: diesel 3-series uses less that 5 liters of fuel for 100 km! It is comparable with Toyota Prius without ugliness and sheer stupidity of Prius design, not minding the state subsidies for Prius in many European countries and the whole propaganda around it.

    Hybrid cars are like fight for peace – people who propagate it are the biggest problem. It is time to stop this wave of hypocrisy.

  • Samie

    Pio says: “The whole electricity car idea is plain stupid as long as most of electricity comes from burning of fossil fuels”

    My question to you is where do you think your hydrogen “fuel” is currently coming from Hint the Chevron’s love this because extraction of hydro pockets usually come from oil fields. Not saying this won’t change someday but until it is not associated with extraction of a non-renewable natural resource it can be linked with any current fuel or say electricity.

    As for near future the EV does use electricity form burning fossil fuels but the great thing is that there will be many options to provide energy for your car independent of a energy grid. Long-term Hydrogen or water vapor but again look at what many are not saying w/c hopefully will be resolved in the future.

  • zack

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz is right i think this car can do better

  • veek

    BMW’s diesels do not appear to be any kind of environmental salvation. Quite the contrary — people can now can justify buying some image-laden high performance car and supposedly feel good about it. If everyone drove diesel Bimmers or Benzes, our problems would not be much better than they are today.

    If GM or Ford came out with a supposedly “fuel efficient” car that got the low EPA mileage of these Beemers, people would be all over them about “greenwashing,” and “dinosaur-thinking,” and the like.

    It’s an old story — Volkswagens and Japanese cars were very unsafe in the Seventies yet the Corvair and Pinto took the heat about unsafe cars, Mercedes and Audi had major reliability problems yet Detroit is the one associated with poor quality, and now BMW comes out with a car that gets mileage in the 20’s and GM is still associated with environmental stupidity. It’s amazing how some corporations can just dodge the heat all the time, and others seem to get blamed for any misstep.

    The Europeans must have some pretty good savvy with our esteemed press.