MUNICH — BMW has unveiled its latest gas/electric hybrid-powered model, the BMW ActiveHybrid5. Based on the BMW 535i sport sedan, the ActiveHybrid5 augments the 5 Series’ powerful 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine with an electric motor/generator that’s integrated into the vehicle’s eight-speed automatic transmission to combine strong acceleration with improved fuel economy.
Together, the hybrid powertrain generates the equivalent of 335 horsepower (35 more than in the standard 535i), which is sufficient to make the run to 60 mph from a standing start in just 5.7 seconds. What’s more, the car can run solely on electric power at speeds up to 37 mph to produce zero emissions around town and can shut down the gasoline engine while coasting at highway speeds up to 100 mph.
As with all other hybrids, the engine de-powers automatically when the car is at idle to further preserve fuel. The car’s lithium ion battery pack recovers energy that would otherwise be lost via braking and deceleration to maintain a charge, so the vehicle never has to be plugged in.
A full range of comfort, safety and convenience features will be included when the BMW ActiveHybrid5 debuts in U.S. showrooms March 2012. No word yet on the car’s pricing or final fuel economy figures, but expect an MSRP of around $56,000 and mileage at or near 25/35 city/highway mpg.