Late last month, BMW officially revealed its next generation 5 series sedan in Munich and the opening salvo of powertrains includes the usual array of gas and diesel six- and eight-cylinder engines. However, with the recent launches of the ActiveHybrid X6 and 7, no one expects it to stay that way for long. BMW officials have acknowledged its intent to expand hybrid capability to other models going forward and, as the next redesign, the 5 would be the logical choice.
We're not sure if the new 5 will show up at the Detroit show next month, but it should appear by the Geneva Motor Show in March. At that time, the ActiveHybrid 5 will probably debut as a concept with the production version possibly arriving by the end of 2010. At this point, it appears unlikely that we'll see any more BMW applications of the two-mode hybrid system used in the X6 (with the possible exception of the X5). Instead, the modular mild hybrid from the 7 is the likely candidate since it delivers much of the benefit at a lower cost and smaller packaging size.