The ActiveHybrid 5 is a puzzling vehicle. Based on BMW's 535i midsize luxury sedan, the ActiveHybrid 5 adds a costly gas-electric powertrain but offers barely any fuel economy or performance benefits.
Like all 5-Series models, the ActiveHybrid5 recently underwent a mid-cycle facelift that adds new trim bits and a revised air intake up front, as well as an additional crease in the rear bumper.
To create the ActiveHybrid 5, BMW took the 300 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque 3.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline-six cylinder from the 535, along with its eight-speed automatic transmission and then added a 55 horsepower, 155 lb-ft of torque electric drive system. The result is a combined peak of 335 horsepower and the ability to drive up to 37 miles per hour on electric power alone.
The electric power for the motor is provided from a lithium-ion battery with 96 cells and a usable capacity of 675 watt hours. BMW says the ActiveHybrid used both a 14.6-volt power supply and a 317-volt supply, with the two systems linked together through a voltage transformer.
Acceleration comes in at 5.7 seconds to sprint from a dead stop to 60 mph, which is every-so-slightly quicker than the 535i. The all-important fuel economy numbers: 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is barely better than the significantly less-expensive 535i's 20/30 mpg figures.
Integrated into the standard Driving Dynamics Control is an ECO PRO mode, which is essentially a mode for those looking to hypermile. It modifies the driving systems for maximum efficiency, including making more frequent use of all-electric mode.
In ECO PRO mode, the combustion engine can be switched off and fully decoupled while coasting at speeds of up to 100 mph. Like all gas-electric hybrids, the ActiveHybrid 5 is also equipped with start-stop to eliminate fuel waste at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic.
Another way the ActiveHybrid 5 helps to deliver improved fuel efficiency is through the use of the navigation system to analyze driving conditions based on a selected route, and adjust accordingly. This enables the drive components to be primed to deliver maximum efficiency based on available data.
If you aren't in the mood for a leisurely drive, the ActiveHybrid 5 also offers Sport+, Sport, Comfort and Comfort+ (if optional Dynamic Damper Control is specified) modes. Other technologies included are Park Distance Control, a rear-view camera, Surround View, High-Beam Assistant, Parking Assistant, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition and Head-Up Display.
The ActiveHybrid 5 offers a full range of passive safety features, including extended crumple zones, six air bags, anti-lock brakes, traction and dynamic stability control, BMW Assist with collision notification, and optional rear passenger airbags.
Those considering the ActiveHybrid 5 should also take a close look at the Lexus GS 450h, the Infiniti M Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz E400 Hybrid.