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First Look: 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5

Expanding the hybrid range to the mainstream luxury market.

by on Mar.03, 2010

BMW's ActiveHybrid 5 Concept takes gas-electric technology a step beyond what's available in the original ActiveHybrid 7.

Slow off the line with the introduction of its first gasoline-electric vehicle, BMW is making up for lost time as it begins rolling out an assortment of new hybrids.  The next one due to reach showrooms around the world is the ActiveHybrid 5, based on the German maker’s new mid-range sedan.

The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 doesn’t look much different than the base 5-Series, and the name might suggest it shares underlying powertrains with the 2010 ActiveHybrid 7, but on the technical front, it turns out, there’s a fair degree of differentiation.

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The primary powerplant, explains Klaus Draeger, the automaker’s technology chief, is a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, direct-injection inline-six, which makes 301 horsepower.  That’s mated to a 55 hp electric motor which can drive the vehicle by itself for short distances, at speeds up to about 60 mph. The ActiveHybrid 7, on the other hand, uses a simpler driveline not intended for running solely on batteries.