BMW’S first hybrid 7 Series sedan in Australia will be priced from $222,000 when it arrives in showrooms in the New Year – more than $40,000 cheaper than its most direct petrol-electric large luxury rival, the $263,314 Lexus LS600hL.
The ActiveHybrid 7 will also be a massive $88,500 more affordable than the only other top-end hybrid sedan, Porsche’s $300,500 Panamera S Hybrid.
But BMW buyers will have to pay an extra $12,000 for the long-wheelbase version of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7, which goes on sale at $237,000 (plus on-road costs).
The hybrid 7 Series will be released in January-February as part two of the roll-out for the Munich brand’s facelifted flagship sedan that starts rolling off ships from Germany next month, with prices rising by up to $5900 over superseded models.
While the base 730d price rises just $2000 to $204,600, all the petrol-powered models go up by a minimum of $3330, with the mid-range 750i copping the biggest slug of $5900, taking its price to $281,100.
The pricing has been circulated to BMW dealers ahead of the launch as they take orders for updated 7 Series that gets revisions such as a new rear air suspension system, eight-speed transmissions and all-LED adaptive headlights.
BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto that the price rises reflect a substantial increase in standard equipment for the 7 Series.
He said that while dealers will begin deliveries of the standard petrol and diesel 7 Series models in November, the ActiveHybrid 7 – in short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase variants – will not arrive until January or February.
The ActiveHybrid 7 will become the third hybrid model to be released by BMW in Australia within a matter of months, joining the just-released ActiveHybrid 5 and the soon-to-be-released ActiveHybrid 3.
Priced a full $100,000 higher than the hybrid 5, the ActiveHybrid 7 is propelled by a more powerful 235kW version of the 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine – sourced from the 740i – and 40Nm electric motor.
This powertrain delivers 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque – 40kW and 50Nm more than the unit in the ActiveHybrid 5.
The ActiveHybrid 7 can bolt from zero to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds – a full six tenths faster than the Lexus LS600hL, even though the V8-armed Lexus boasts more power and torque (327kW and 520Nm).
The Beemer is also quicker than Porsche’s V6-powered Panamera Hybrid S, which is said to achieve 100km/h in six seconds.
As well, the BMW is more fuel efficient than either of its rivals, at 6.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. By comparison, the Lexus scores 9.3L/100km and the Porsche 7.1L/100km.
None of these hybrids can beat the diesel BMW 730d, which boasts combined fuel consumption of just 5.6L/100km.
However, the rear-drive BMW ActiveHybrid 7 can motor on electric power from its lithium-ion batteries for up to 4km at up to 60km/h, with drive coming from the electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission.
The petrol-electric 7 Series might have only two rivals on the Australian market right now, but Audi is set to bring its A8 hybrid to Australia next year.
The smaller ActiveHybrid 5 – priced at $122,900 – goes into battle against the $99,900 Lexus GS450h and $99,900 Infiniti M35h GT Premium.
Although full Australian specifications for the facelifted 7 Series are yet to be released by BMW, it is expected to get the same revisions as the European model, including engine tweaks and eight-speed automatic transmissions across the range to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25 per cent.
Among the fuel-saving tricks is a system than decouples the engine when coasting.
An Eco Pro mode can reduce power to items such as the heated seats while selecting the most efficient navigation route and coaching the driver into economical driving style.
External cosmetic changes include full-LED adaptive headlights, while inside, there’s a new digital multi-function instrument panel, more supportive seats and ambient lighting.
The suspension has been revised for a plusher ride, while extra sound insulation to reduce road noise.