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Hybrid and stop-start planned for BMW 7-series

Date: 09 July 2008   |   Author: Nick Gibbs

BMW is planning an even greener future for its already impressively frugal 7-series replacement with the launch of a hybrid by the end of next year and the introduction of stop-start technology within two years.

The car will give BMW a rival to the Lexus LS600h hybrid limousine.

The BMW hybrid will be based on the 750i and allow bosses the luxury of V8 power with the economy and image of a petrol-electric hybrid. There's no word on the emissions, but it should improve the already impressive figures for the V8 twin-turbo from 266g/km of CO2 to below the magic 225g/km barrier and economy above 30mpg.

The addition of lithium ion batteries and electric motors is expected to bump the estimated £65,000 list price for the standard 750i by several thousand pounds, but performance is likely to improve on the already lightning quick 5.2sec dash to 62mph.

Meanwhile, the rest of the range will benefit from the BMW's first stop-start traffic cut-out technology for automatics within the next two years. The 7-series versions launched in November will have a depleted version of BMW's Efficient Dynamics technology, but the current stop-start is "not state of the art enough" for the auto-only 7, according to Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW board member responsible for R&D and project leader for the new 7.

Fitting it would improve the 730d economy figures to above 40mpg and bring the company car tax down a couple of bands from an already low 26%.

BMW will not target Audi with a V8 diesel, despite the option of one in the last model in some markets. Instead this will be replaced by a twin-turbo version of the six-cylinder diesel to be badged 735d and due on sale early next year. The reason, according to Dr Draeger, is that the old V8 engine was "heavy and expensive" in comparison.