BMW have always been bold in their attempts to push the envelope of vehicle technologies with ground breaking safety features and developments in alternative fuel solutions such as their electric and hydrogen cars.
The latest of which to hit the market here in Australia is the ActiveHybrid 5 (which if you can’t tell from the name) is a hybrid 5 series sedan. I got the chance to go for a quick drive in one at the Green Zone Drive event at the Gold Coast.
Here’s our 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 quick review!
I like it. I like it a lot. Why? Well because it looks like a 5 series, which already is winning in the looks department but I love that it looks like a regular car. There are few subtle hints that it is different from a regular 5 series including the badging on the C Pillar and boot lid as well as a Liquid Blue metallic paint exclusive.
You’ll find everything is as you expect from a F10 535i including bi-xenon headlights, head-up display, internet connectivity Professional Navigation. Four-Zone Climate Control including leather everywhere and all the tech gadgets. In the boot however you do lose space to the Lithium-ion battery as well as the fold down rear seats.
If you haven’t drive a hybrid before you’ll be met with an unusual lack of excitement when you start the car as it is silent. Not a single peep. In other words it is perfect for sneaking in and out when you don’t want to disturb your neighbours.
The battery itself providing 40kW of power is able to be used exclusively until you hit 60km/h for around 3-4km’s. At that point it is the 225kW twin turbo six-cylinder engine which fires up and takes it from there with little to no lag with a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.9 seconds.
When behind the wheel you can feel the presence which this car has on the road. It is indeed a big car to drive, however it isn’t like driving a barge through a narrow channel. The vehicle coasts through road imperfections and best of all drives like a car should with the major difference being that instead of using 9 litres per 100km of fuel you’re using 6.4 litres per 100km. Though if you are engaged in the vehicles Eco Pro mode you’re able to coast on the highway using just the electric motor.
BMW and their EfficientDynamics technologies also enable you as the driver to play the game of saving fuel. When driving you are able to switch to Eco Pro mode which provides feedback on how much fuel you’re saving and when you’re recharging the batteries. What I also loved is when you’re using the navigation system to guide you to a destination when in the last 3-4km’s the car will drain the batteries to ensure that the batteries are kept healthy.
One thing which has always slowed the uptake of hybrid/electric vehicles here in Australia has been the cost of the vehicles and whilst the 5 series normally isn’t a bargain the premium you’re paying to the ActiveHybrid is quite reasonable.
With a price of $122,900 (excluding on-road costs) it sits $7,300 above the standard 535i but you do get some really good benefits including approximately 350-400km’s extra out of each fuel tank as well as 1 or 2 extra standard features.
So whilst we only did get a quick drive and not a full review we like what we saw/drive/experienced and whilst I won’t be lining up in October to purchase one when they are released it is fantastic to see a hybrid which looks as good as it does.
Typically hybrids are ugly and their benefits don’t outweigh this fact, however if you’re an executive or a family looking for a luxury saloon this could be a fantastic consideration. You can still hit the high speeds and nail corners but when in stop start traffic you aren’t using Green Peace violating amounts of fuel.
As mentioned the ActiveHybrid 5 will be launching in October and will be joined soon after by the ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 7 early next year.
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