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BMW, Infiniti offer new luxury hybrid cars

July 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Even if you're willing to spend a lot on a luxury car, it's always nice to save on gas costs, which is why luxury hybrids appealing to many drivers.

BMW offers a four-door luxury sedan that has a lofty price tag of six figures, but it's also a hybrid.

It's the BMW Active Hybrid 7, their largest sedan in hybrid trim. It's a slightly more environmentally conscious car that still offers good performance.

"You're not losing any of the BMW feel or BMW performance, but you're actually coming out with a much lower consumption," said Jim O'Donnell of BMW North America.

A hybrid badge carries a certain cache. Drivers in all income levels and in all car buying segments want to be seen as aware of the environment.

The BMW Active Hybrid 7 is a reaction to Lexus and Mercedes, which both offer big luxury hybrid sedans.

Unlike other hybrids including BMW's other hybrid, the Active Hybrid 7 can't move along on electric power alone.

The engine shuts off when you're stopped, so if you think about the times you spend at red lights or in traffic jams, you're saving a lot of fuel.

Official mileage ratings are 17 MPG city and 24 highway for a combined figure of 20. It's a slight improvement over the non-hybrid 7 series V8, which gets a combined rating of 17.

Luxury hybrids are obviously catching on. Infiniti just introduced its own hybrid model, a version of its M sedan. The Infiniti hybrid is not as big or luxurious as the BMW, but it's also not nearly as expensive either.

The Infinti M35h is priced at around $54,000 and gets impressive MPG ratings of 27 city and 32 highway.

For all car brands, including luxury ones, a greener future is coming, thanks to models like these hybrids. It's green combined with luxury.


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