BMW hasn’t rushed into the hybrid market, but given that they don’t do things by halves their first ever production hybrid has high expectations to live up to. It is the 5 Series which gets the honour, and given it is our favourite executive saloon it provides a great base for the new system.
When developing hybrid models manufacturers have two broad choices. One, use the electrical system to maximise fuel economy. Two, use the system to boost performance whilst maintaining fuel economy. BMW has chosen the latter and have hit on a fine blend of fuel economy and pace.
Power comes from the 3-litre straight-six petrol engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger supported by a 54 bhp electric motor, both powering the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The lithium-ion battery pack allows the ActiveHybrid5 to travel for up to 2.5 miles at up to 37 mph without the petrol engine.
Despite weighing nearly 2 tonnes the ActiveHybrid5 has to be electronically limited to 155 mph and it manages the 0-62 mph dash in under 6 seconds. The 332 lb.ft. of torque also ensures that in-gear acceleration is strong. This may be a hybrid, but it holds true to BMW’s sporting heritage.
Despite the high expectations the BMW ActiveHybrid5 doesn’t disappoint. If fuel consumption is your top priority then the 520i will save you thousands of pounds and match the hybrid. However open the taps and the 520i won’t see which way the hybrid went.