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by Tim Beissmann

The wraps have come off the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, and although the classy eco-executive has not yet been confirmed for a local launch, BMW Australia says it is something the brand is “looking super closely at”.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is a subtle evolution of the ActiveHybrid 5 Concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

At this stage, the ActiveHybrid 5 is the only model from BMW’s hybrid vehicle range that has been confirmed for right-hand drive production.

BMW Australia’s Lucy McLellan admitted the ActiveHybrid 5 was “right for our market”, but said the brand was yet to lock down a local launch. Given BMW Australia’s enthusiasm, the ActiveHybrid 5’s arrival seems more a matter of when than if.

Ms McLellan said there had been “no discussion locally” about the ActiveHybrid variants of the X6 and 7 Series models. Both are still produced in left-hand drive only, being targeted predominantly at the US market.

Ms McLellan confirmed the much-anticipated BMW M5 would land in local showrooms around February/March 2012.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 combines the 225kW/400Nm TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine from the 535i with an electric drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

 

The 40kW/210Nm electric motor draws its power from a high-performance lithium-ion battery that is positioned in the boot (decreasing available luggage space from 520 litres to 375 litres).

The hybrid system has a total power output of 250kW and 450Nm, making it the third most powerful model in the range behind the 550i and the M5. The ActiveHybrid 5 sprints from 0-100km/h in just 5.9 seconds, yet uses just 6.4-7.0 litres/100km on the combined cycle.

The ActiveHybrid 5 can be driven at speeds of up to 60km/h using electric-only power for 4km, and when ECO PRO mode is selected the petrol engine can be switched off and fully decoupled, allowing it to ‘coast’ when the car is travelling at speeds up to 160km/h. Kinetic energy regeneration and start-stop also contribute to the hybrid’s tidy fuel consumption figures.

From the outside, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is distinguished by its front grille with galvanised slats, matt chrome tailpipes, C-pillar and boot lid badging, and the unique Bluewater Metallic body paint. The aerodynamically inspired 18-inch Streamline light-alloy wheels are available as an option.

Interior highlights include the Professional navigation system, four-zone climate control, and a range of driver assist features and BMW ConnectedDrive services.

Prices are yet to be confirmed, although if the ActiveHybrid 5 is made available in Australia, expect it to come with a circa-$150,000 price tag.




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