BMW ActiveHybrid 5

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Engine: 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine paired with electric motor
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Power: 306 PS at 5,800 rpm + 40kW (electric motor)
Torque: 400 Nm between 1,200 and 4,000 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 44.1 mpg
CO2 emissions: 149 g/km
Top speed: 155 mph (artificially limited)
Acceleration (0-62 mph)
: 5.9 seconds
Price: £46,855

If you’re a competitor or an official at this year’s London Olympics, there’s a good chance you’ll be ferried around at some stage in a BMW 5-Series. BMW is the Games’ Official Automotive Partner and is providing 727 5s as part of a 4,000-strong fleet of cars that will provide transport within and between venues for the busy people who are expected to make the whole thing work.

London 2012 aims to be the first sustainable Games and LOCOG, the London organising committee, set BMW tough fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions targets for the fleet of 62.4mpg and 120g/km. In fact, the company has been able to better these benchmarks and the Olympic cars will have an average fuel consumption in official tests of 64.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km; that’s roughly on a par with a Ford Ka, even though the fleet will have an average power output of 157bhp and contain large numbers of big cars such as the 5-Series and even some SUVs.

The bulk of the 5s - 707 of the 727 - will be the highly economical 520d EfficientDynamics, which, with its turbocharged two-litre diesel engine, emits just 119g/km of CO2 and has an official combined cycle fuel consumption of 62.8mpg, which probably makes it just about the most efficient car in its bracket. Twenty, though, will be petrol-electric hybrids in the form of the ActiveHybrid 5 model, which emits 149g/km of CO2 and can travel 44.1 miles on a single gallon, at least according official tests.

At first sight, it’s difficult to see the point of the ActiveHybrid 5 – its emissions figures and fuel consumption are respectable for a big car, but don’t come close to matching those of its diesel sister. Throw in a list price of £46,885 compared with the £30,435 BMW is charging for the diesel and on paper at least, it’s hard to see the purpose of the hybrid, except perhaps as a token bit of greenwashing brochureware for diesel-averse American buyers.

But get the ActiveHybrid 5 out on the road and a completely different picture emerges. BMW’s four-cylinder diesel, for all its impressive efficiency, is a slightly rough old thing compared with the best engines of its type these days but the hybrid, with its outstandingly smooth and eager in-line six cylinder petrol engine, supported by silent and torquey electric power, is in a completely different class for refinement and performance. The 520d EfficientDynamics gets from rest to 62mph in 7.9 seconds before topping out at 141mph – highly respectable figures but no match for the hybrid, which can accelerate to 62mph in 5.9 seconds on the way to an artificially limited maximum of 155mph. Seen in that light, the CO2 and fuel consumption penalty associated with the hybrid actually looks pretty good. The role of the ActiveHybrid 5, therefore, is to provide an efficient alternative to BMW’s big petrol-only cars such as the 535i (the hybrid emits 19 per cent less CO2) without any loss of driving pleasure. In fact, the hybrid drivetrain may just be the saviour of the company’s glorious six-cylinder petrol engines which provided the backbone of the BMW range and shaped the company’s reputation for so long.

One notable aspect of the ActiveHybrid 5’s behaviour is that it doesn’t actually feel very “hybridy” – although that may be because we have been conditioned to expect hybrids to be slow and not much fun by the Prius and other models from Toyota, the pioneer in the field, which have sluggish, moaning CVT-based drivetrains. BMW says that the ActiveHybrid 5 will go for up to 2.4 miles in electric-only mode but in practice, even when you accelerate very gently from rest, the petrol engine seems to cut in at about 18 mph, although it comes in so smoothly and quietly, it’s often the rev counter rather the noise emanating from under the bonnet that gives the game away. For the most part, though, the ActiveHybrid 5 just feels like a good big-engined petrol BMW, which is a very good thing indeed.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

    Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

    Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

    UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape