There's a reason that our BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is one of the better performance hybrids in the entire auto industry, and that reason has everything to do with the fact that it's not particularly fuel efficient. We know, that sounds like an odd thing to say about a hybrid, but the ActiveHybrid 7 was engineered with performance in mind instead of fuel economy. Rather than use the hybrid components to make the car ultra-efficient, we instead used it to keep the fuel economy of old while seriously boosting power and performance.
Of course, with gas cruising right past $4 a gallon and apparently heading for $5 a gallon, the old ActiveHybrid 7 of yore just isn't going to get it done. The current model manages 20 MPG, which for a while didn't matter much to BMW customers looking for a sexy, smooth, and strong car, but changing times call for changing technology, and the 7-Series hybrid is all set up for higher fuel efficiency in 2013.
By dumping the current V8 in favor of a six-cylinder system, the ActiveHybrid 7's engine will actually more closely resemble the hybrid tech in the ActiveHybrid 5. And there's nothing wrong with that-the power sacrifice is negligible, but we could be looking at a car that's 50% more fuel-efficient than it was the year before. Tampa BMW customers have to be excited about that, especially if it doesn't require too many other noticeable changes in the vehicle in the process. It will stay one of the best performance hybrids on the market; it just won't guzzle quite so much gas anymore.