Did you know that Ford, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have hybrid cars? Well, they do, they're just not sold in the land of football, meat pies and kangaroos. Here's the latest one that mightn't be coming here.
(Credit: BMW) Piece of (environmentally better) cake
After developing a hybrid drive system for its 7-Series, it's a no-brainer for BMW to extend that technology to its smaller 5-Series. Similar to the ActiveHybrid 7, BMW took an existing 5-Series model,
the 535i, and added the hybrid system. This strategy increases both fuel efficiency and power.
(Credit: BMW) Power and economy?
In the combined European Test Cycle, the ActiveHybrid 5 achieves around 7L/100km. Although far from the 3.9L/100km of the
Toyota Prius, the ActiveHybrid 5's fuel economy is excellent for a car delivering 250kW of power and able to get to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds.
(Credit: BMW) Weighty question
Besides the hybrid system, the ActiveHybrid 5 is, in almost every other sense, a typical BMW 5-Series. The cabin proportions are the same, although the hybrid system adds significant weight to the car, an extra 160kg or so. Despite the extra weight, the ActiveHybrid 5 is about 10 per cent more fuel efficient than
(Credit: BMW) Specifics
The hybrid system uses a 96-cell Lithium-ion battery pack; located in the boot, it reduces trunk space to 375 litres or 145 less than a
regular 535i. It feeds a 30kW electric motor, which can drive the car up to 60km/h. BMW also says the electric only range is 4km, while the hybrid system gives the car idle-stop capability.
(Credit: BMW) Waste not, want not
These optional 18-inch alloy wheels are designed for aerodynamic efficiency. The car also has regenerative braking capability, which recharges the battery when the car is decelerating. The ActiveHybrid 5 also has a mode called Eco Pro, which completely decouples the engine from the wheels when coasting at speeds under 160km/h.
(Credit: BMW) Let me know
Along with ActiveHybrid 5 badging on the boot lid, the car carries this nameplate on the rocker panels and on the centre console. The instrument cluster also shows hybrid performance, as does a power-flow animation on the centre stack display.
(Credit: BMW) The base
The petrol engine is BMW's tried and true twin-scroll turbo direct injection 3-litre straight six. By itself, it is more than adequate for the 5-Series, producing 225kW. But the hybrid system adds both power and fuel economy, efficiency gains that are hard to argue with. In addition, the hybrid system lets the car drive in electric mode, useful for stop-and-go traffic or urban zones that only allow electric vehicle operation.
(Credit: BMW) Smarts
BMW's excellent suite of cabin electronics, the ActiveHybrid 5 also uses the navigation system determine the best hybrid engine operation for the upcoming terrain. For example, if there is a hill ahead, it might lean more heavily on the petrol engine.