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
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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

    PPA Cover Teachers Required in Doncaster

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...

    Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

    Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

    Female PE Teacher

    £23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering