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BMW is set to launch its first ever hybrid vehicle in Australia, the petrol-electric ActiveHybrid 5.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is the German car maker’s first petrol-electric vehicle developed for right-hand drive, following the ActiveHybrid 7 and ActiveHybrid X6 models sold in some left-hand-drive markets such as North America.

BMW Australia told CarAdvice the more environmentally focused version of the 5-Series, which debuted as a concept at March’s Geneva motor show before being unveiled in production form in Frankfurt in September, was likely to come to Australia in mid 2012.

“It’s looking good to come to Australia,” says BMW Australia spokesman Piers Scott. “This is the first hybrid with right-hand drive and the first to be applied to the six-cylinder rather than the V8 engine.

“In terms of appealing to your sustainable-motoring-minded luxury car enthusiast, this is more attainable and more practical than before.

“The target market will be those who want to have their cake and eat it, too. There is no sacrifice in performance. It should match a 535i [for acceleration] but of course there’s fantastic fuel economy and a zero emissions driving mode.”

Pricing for the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is expected to sit somewhere between the $115,600 535i and $179,900 550i.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 combines the 225kW/400Nm turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine from the 535i with a 40kW/210Nm electric motor, with a combined output of 250kW/450Nm (it’s not a simple case of adding the outputs).

The hybrid drivetrain is completed with the same ZF eight-speed automatic transmission found in a number of other BMW models.

The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that’s positioned in the boot and consequently reduces luggage space from 520 to 375 litres.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds and use as little as 6.4 litres of fuel per 100km and emit as little as 149 grams of CO2 per kilometre, according to the manufacturer.

That gives the ActiveHybrid 5 quicker performance than the 535i – third fastest overall in the 5-Series range behind the 550i and M5.

BMW says the ActiveHybrid 5 can travel for 4km at speeds of up to 60km/h on electric power alone. An Eco Pro mode will also decouple the petrol engine to allow for ‘coasting’ on the electric motor when travelling on the freeway at up to 160km/h (where permissible), while stop-start technology is also applied.




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