With the launch of the ActiveHybrid 5, BMW adds a full hybrid to its range of midsize luxury cars. The five-seat sedan can operate at speeds up to 37 mph on electric power alone, but the car retains typical BMW performance; it can go from zero to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, according to BMW. Competitors include the Infiniti M35h and Lexus GS 450h hybrids. It hits dealerships in spring 2012.
Subtle styling cues differentiate the ActiveHybrid 5 from the regular 5 Series. There are logos on the rear roof pillars, galvanized slats in the twin-kidney grille, and matte chrome tailpipes. The sedan comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, but aerodynamic 18-inch alloy wheels are optional. It also gets an exclusive paint color: Bluewater Metallic.
Differences in the cabin are similarly minimal. The doorsill plates have the ActiveHybrid 5 logo, and there's a logo plate on the center console, too. A navigation system and four-zone climate control are standard, and the ActiveHybrid 5 can have most of the features available in the regular 5 Series. Optional features include ventilated seats, premium stereo and backseat entertainment.
Under the Hood
The ActiveHybrid 5's hybrid drivetrain consists of a 306-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission with an integrated electric motor that makes 55 hp, and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 340 hp. The battery is located between the rear wheel arches in the trunk, resulting in less cargo space than the regular 5 Series.
In addition to driving on electric power at speeds up to 37 mph, the ActiveHybrid 5 can go about 2.5 miles on electric power alone at an average speed of 22 mph with a sufficiently charged battery, according to BMW. The electric motor can provide a power boost when accelerating, and the gas engine can shut down when coasting at speeds up to 100 mph.
The hybrid drivetrain also works with the navigation system, customizing its operation based on upcoming driving conditions. If hilly terrain is on the horizon, for instance, it can provide supplemental electric acceleration beforehand knowing the battery has a chance to recharge on descents.
The hybrid's Driving Experience Control includes an Eco Pro mode in addition to Comfort and Sport modes. Eco Pro promotes fuel efficiency by increasing the time spent in the car's all-electric mode.
Safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. Optional features include parking sensors, a backup camera, the Surround View system, adaptive headlights, a lane departure warning system and night vision with pedestrian detection.
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