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      05-28-2010, 07:55 AM   #1
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2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 750i First Drive by InsideLine

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It's really a shame that the word "hybrid" has such a miserly connotation. It's as though everything stamped with the word has to be either economical, eco-friendly or worse: both! How are giant luxury cars with twin-turbocharged V8s supposed to fit in a category like that?

As far as we can tell, this car must have been swapped at birth with some prototype of a 7 Series with an M badge. This is funny, because the hybrid badge this car wears automatically leads us to expect a BMW 740i a sedan not known for heart-stopping power that's forced to lug around a bunch of batteries. Yep, we cringe at the mere thought of a couple hundred pounds of nickel-metal hydride batteries compromising a flawless suspension setup and wreaking havoc on braking ability.

The genius of this design is that in situations where a big, thirsty forced-induction V8 sucks at life, the torquey, little electric motor can merrily take the initial load off. Piddle around in a parking lot or mill through traffic and the eight-cylinder will take smaller sips still, courtesy of an auto-start stop function. And since the 2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 750i features an all-electric air-conditioning system, you're guaranteed that the cabin will stay cool regardless of whether the engine is running. Our guess is that most drivers would have no idea they were driving a hybrid.

So it turns out that we can really get behind this hybrid, though we kind of feel bad that this car might be the ultimate green pretender since it costs $103,175. But if you're in the market for a gigantic sedan, why even bother with anything else? Maybe the freshly minted Alpina B7? Well, the 2011 BMW ActiveHybrid 750i feels just as fast and returns much better gas mileage, at 17 city/26 highway mpg compared to the B7's 15 city/21 highway mpg.
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      05-28-2010, 09:42 AM   #2
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'It's really a shame that the word "hybrid" has such a miserly connotation.' Hybrids have been around for quite few years. They have the connotation they have earned.
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