Published on July 22nd, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Test Drive

The BMW range of of hybrid cars have arrived in Malaysia and we recently took the 5-Series hybrid out for a long test drive across the border. Carrying the nameplate, 5-Series Activehybrid, this new luxury hybrid car will surprise anyone right after ignition. Like the regular 5-Series petrol model, the exterior of this hybrid shares the handsome proportionate looks. The only difference lies in the alloy wheel design and the little ‘hybrid’ badges and the revised headlamp cluster.

Step inside this well appointed interior and you will notice a lot of new features. You get a revised meter cluster with the tachometer now replaced with power meter which shows the level of battery power used, boost power used and how much the battery is charging. All the other necessary interior luxury appointments and features are used to a high standard. Seating comfort and luxury amenities are still class best and will not disappoint.

The long engine hood, the low, taut roof line and the sharp lines create a dynamic overall impression. Up front, optional LED headlights underscore the distinctive appearance.

Thanks to an intelligent composite construction concept, the body is extremely lightweight, rigid and safe. The numerous aluminum components and the high-tech steels are the backbone of BMWs consistent ultra-lightweight chassis and body to provide better dynamics and efficiency.

This BMW hybrid can achieve speeds of up to 100km/h purely on electricity; at a speed of up to 60km/h while feathering the throttle, it has a range of 3 plus kilometres which is great of heavy traffic crawls in the city. It can also operate with the combustion engine only or in hybrid mode; in the deceleration phases, it recovers power and activates both the engine and the electric motor together when accelerating quickly. Special indicators on the instrument cluster and on the MMI monitor provide of detailed display of the different driving conditions.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is essentially a 535i with an electric motor. This provides power delivery that is best described as super impressive. On the open highway the 3-liter turbocharged engine works effortlessly to deliver silky smooth power right across the engine revolution range just like with its petrol sibling. While cruising at 160-170km/h, wait for an opening in the highway and slam the throttle pedal and you will actually feel your body being pinned to your seat with your arms working harder to take delivery of the ‘kick in your pants’ combined hybrid and petrol power delivery.

With the adaptive suspension in ‘Sport’ mode you can chase down a supercar easily but fuel economy will suffer. This 5-hybrid shows us very little reason why anyone will want to buy a normal petrol driven 535i or even the diesel 530D (simply because we use Euro2M diesel in Malaysia).

Launched at a price of RM648,800, the ActiveHybrid 5 has been granted a one-off tax incentive by the Malaysian Government that brings its price down to RM498,800, which adds up to six-figure savings over the 535i. For the money, BMW gives you the same level of equipment as the 535i with the added bonus of an electric motor. The net result of the two powerplants working together serves up 340hp and 450Nm at the command of your right foot. So, having paid less money with the ActiveHybrid 5, we also get to enjoy more power and the same level of equipment as the 535i.

BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Specifications

Engine: Inline-6, DOHC, 24V, Turbocharged, Hybrid

Capacity: 2979cc

Transmission: 8-speed auto, RWD

Max Power: 340hp @ 5,800rpm

Max Torque: 450Nm @ 1,200 – 5,000rpm

Acceleration: 5.9 seconds

Max Speed: 250km/h

Price: RM498,800.00

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