BMW to launch 5-Series hybrid

  • Hybrid uses 3.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor
  • 337bhp, 450Nm of torque, 149gkm, and 44.1mpg
  • Available from February 2012, priced at £50k

BMW will be launching its first ever hybrid model in February 2012, with a petrol electric version of its 5-Series saloon.

The German car maker says the ActiveHybrid 5 delivers similar performance to its petrol-engined 535i but it has 16% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Statswise, the ActiveHybrid 5 looks like a pretty safe bet. It delivers 337bhp, with 450Nm of torque and all that power and punch means it’ll get to 62mph in 5.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph but it’ll return 44.1mpg on average and it emits 149g/km of CO2, all for a price of £49,860.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 features intelligent energy management for maximum fuel efficiency. Key to that is a smart sat nav that can read the road ahead and prepare the car's powertrain and electrical systems to respond in the most efficient way. For example, if it detects a hilly stretch ahead, it stores energy in the battery so that the electric motor is ready to assist the engine, already knowing this will be recouped later in the journey.   

Under the bonnet is the 304bhp 3.0-litre TwinPower Turbo petrol engine from the 535i with a 54hp electric motor and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This is the first time an in-line six-cylinder engine has been part of a BMW ActiveHybrid system.

At speeds of up to 37mph the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 can travel up to 2.4 miles on electric power supplied by the lithium-ion battery stored in the boot between the wheel housings. The electric motor, also integrated into the gearbox housing for the best packaging efficiency, delivers a maximum 210Nm of torque from rest.

At speeds of up to 100mph the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is capable of cruising in ECO PRO mode when the driver lifts off the accelerator, running soundlessly with zero tailpipe emissions until the driver accelerates. 

The high-performance lithium-ion battery is charged whenever the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is braking, with the electric motor performing the role of a generator. The car also uses a hybrid-specific version of the BMW’s EfficientDynamics stop/start that switches off the internal combustion engine to save fuel and cut emissions. The climate control system continues to function using energy stored in the battery.

The operating status of the powertrain is displayed in the instrument cluster and on the iDrive central control unit's screen. This shows energy flow and recuperation, the boost being provided by the electric motor during acceleration, the battery's charge level and which powertrain is being used to drive the car.

Standard equipment includes sat nav, an eight-speed automatic transmission, four-zone climate control with stationary cooling and 17-inch alloy wheels

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 will make its global debut at the Tokyo Motor Show on November 30 and goes into production in January 2012. It will go on sale in the UK on February 25.