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.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
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

    Year 5 Teacher

    £80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

    Software Developer

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

    Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

    Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past