The world of motoring has expanded and enriched due to the new ActiveHybrid 5 from BMW. The spirit of good environmental citizenship and the possibility to be fast created the hybrid that allows speed with almost zero emissions. This amazing new brother from the 5-series family doesn’t even give a hint that it is a combination that works on gasoline-electric powertrain, and also is a stylish and comfortable vehicle for its owners.
The ActiveHybrid 5 represents the most sophisticated performance hybrid yet, a mix of art and class.
The Active 5 is based 3.0-liter aluminum inline-six—DOHC, direct injection, twin-scroll turbo, intercooled, Double VANOS variable valve timing, 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. It is arguably the sweetest six in all of internal combustion Dom—smooth, potent, and willing, sweeter still allied with BMW’s eight-speed automatic, the only Active 5 transmission.
As in many other hybrids, the IC engine is augmented by an electric motor, this one rated for 54 hp and 155 lb-ft. When the driver demands everything the system has to give—335 hp—the motor adds its punch to the IC output, and the 5’s speedo needle rotates clockwise with gratifying haste.
Like other 5-series Bimmers, the ActiveHybrid 5 is balanced and fairly responsive. With its performance is hard to imagine anyone dissatisfied with this vehicle. The hybrid system adds about 300 pounds to the car’s curb weight compared with a standard 535i, so we expect that the more powerful hybrid will lag behind that car slightly in the trip to 60 mph. Figure about 5.7 seconds versus the automatic 535i’s 5.4.
The transparency of the system is remarkable. The engine is soundless and when the driver takes his foot off the brake, the car will creep forward on the electric power until it is directed to pick up the pace. The coasting function comes into play at speeds up to 100 mph on back roads and expressways. The dashboard provides instant info on what the system is doing.The only dynamic criticism someone might make is that throttle response is a little soft in eco pro mode, but anyone making that complaint probably doesn’t want a hybrid anyway.