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First Look: BMW Active 5 Hybrid

German maker goes green for Tokyo.

by on Nov.30, 2011

BMW Board Member Ian Robertson introduces the new Active 5 hybrid.

Japanese automakers are virtually tripping over one another to show the public who’s the greenest manufacturer of them all.  Now, BMW is entering the fray.  The German marque, one of the few foreign brands to still have a presence at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, is giving the first public showing to the all-new BMW Active 5 Hybrid.

Bringing a hybrid into the Japanese market isn’t easy, acknowledged BMW Board Member Ian Robertson.  It is, after all, “the land that has made hybrid cars so well-known.”

Get Your Efficiency Here!

Nonetheless, the Bavarian marque is betting that it can gain traction with the new BMW Active 5 which, it proclaimed during a media preview, “is the world’s most powerful and efficient hybrid in its segment.”

The BMW i3 city car gets a Tokyo Motor Show debut.

Under the skin, the new Active 5 pairs its durable 3.0-liter inline six with a 55-horsepower electric motor to yield a total of 335 hp and gobs of tire-spinning torque.  In Japanese terms that’s enough to launch from 0 to 100 kph in 5.9 seconds.  For the metric-challenged, let’s stick with a 0 to 60 time of 5.7 seconds.

As for fuel consumption, the maker quoted a figure of 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers.  That won’t translate directly into the U.S. fuel economy cycle but it would suggest an EPA Combined figure of somewhere around 37 mpg, not bad for a vehicle the size of a BMW 5-Series.

“We are moving towards an age of emissions-free driving,” chimed in BMW tech boss Klaus Draeger, who also revealed the maker’s new i3 and i8 battery cars to a Japanese audience for the first time.

The new BMW Active 5 is set for a global roll-out next spring and pricing will likely not be released until closer to that time.  But anticipate a premium of several thousand dollars – at the minimum – over the more conventional BMW 535i.

Not so coincidentally, the Tokyo Motor Show crowd will also get its first look at the second-generation Lexus 450h hybrid which is getting its Japanese debut this week.  Lexus officials are billing their offering as the mileage and performance champ in the mid-lux segment setting up a global shoot-out between the BMW Active 5 and Lexus GS450h.

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