As recent rumors suggested, BMW is, in fact, growing its hybrid offerings, though battery power may not be headed to the 3 Series just yet. The German automaker has just unveiled a new production ActiveHybrid 5. The vehicle is based on the 535i, and pairs the company's turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine with a 55-horsepower electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A lithium-ion battery pack provides electricity storage. All told, the system produces somewhere around 335 horsepower and allows the driver to whir along on all-electric power at speeds of up to 37 mph, but it can only push along in all-electric mode for around 2.5 miles at average of 22 mph. Early guesses say that the system will afford a "double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the 535i," yet it will also propel the ActiveHybrid to 60 mph in around 5.7 seconds.

That's plenty quick by any account, and BMW says that the vehicle will be available in U.S. dealerships by as soon as March of next year. So far, there's no indication as to exactly how much BMW will ask for the vehicle or what sort of fuel economy buyers can expect. Is this a suitable replacement for the short-lived X6 ActiveHybrid? We certainly think so, but we aren't exactly fans of high-riding hybrids, either. Hit the jump for the press release.
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The BMW ActiveHybrid 5

30.09.2011

Full Hybrid Power comes to the 5 Series Sedan

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – September 29,2011... BMW today announced the introduction of its newest hybrid, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5. Based on the BMW 535i Sedan, the ActiveHybrid 5 brings together BMW's 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine, an electric drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission for the first time. The latest generation of BMW ActiveHybrid technology also adds precisely controlled energy management to the mix. All of which gives the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 an exceptional balance of performance and fuel economy for a benchmark performance/luxury sedan. Its drive system generates combined output of 335 hp (DIN), allows the car to be driven on electric power alone up to 37 mph (60 km/h), and accelerates the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (preliminary). The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 will arrive in US showrooms in March 2012.

The 300 hp inline six with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is the same engine renowned for its free-revving capability, pulling power and efficiency in the BMW 535i. The electric motor develops 55 hp and is supplied with energy by a high-performance lithium-ion battery housed in the trunk.

A harmonious blend of power from the two drive systems ensures that the
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 boasts not only the sportiest performance in its market segment but also a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the BMW 535i based on preliminary results. Its full-hybrid drive system enables driving on purely electric power which means emission-free driving in urban conditions.

In order to fully exploit the potential of the BMW ActiveHybrid technology, the power electronics in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 use a host of technologies to ensure the drive system runs at peak efficiency. The high-performance lithium-ion battery is charged when the car is coasting or braking. The electric motor acts as a generator feeding energy into the high-voltage battery. By contrast, under acceleration the electric motor takes on a boost function. Here, it assists the inline six by generating an extra burst of power, lending the sedan's sporty driving character a noticeably sharper edge.

Integrated into the standard Driving Dynamics Control is an ECO PRO mode. It provides a relaxed and fuel-efficient driving style by tailoring the driving systems for maximum efficiency, including making more frequent use of all-electric mode. In ECO PRO mode, the combustion engine can be switched off and fully decoupled while coasting at speeds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h). This coasting mode combines comfortable driving with optimum utilisation of the kinetic energy already generated. To avoid periods with the engine running at idle – at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic, for example – the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is equipped with a hybrid start-stop function. Plus, the power electronics in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 are linked up with the standard navigation system. This allows proactive analysis of driving conditions based on the selected route. This enables the drive components to be primed to deliver maximum efficiency (the effect may vary according to the quality of the available navigation data). All the hybrid-specific components of the drive technology and energy management systems have been developed specially for use in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5.

Innovative combination: award-winning six-cylinder in-line engine, newly developed electric drive system.

This is the first time that a BMW inline six has been mated to a
BMW ActiveHybrid system. The 3.0-liter engine, which develops 300 hp and peak torque of 300 lb-ft, has won the international Engine of the Year Award two years running. The BMW TwinPower Turbo technology of the six-cylinder engine combines a twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection, Double VANOS variable valve timing and VALVETRONIC intake control.

The synchronous electric motor of the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is integrated into the housing of the eight-speed automatic transmission, saving space. The interplay between the electric motor and gearbox is controlled by a clutch. The motor's operating temperature is regulated by the combustion engine's cooling system. The electric drive system develops 55 hp and makes 155 lb-ft of torque available from rest. The motor is supplied with energy by a high-performance lithium-ion battery, specially developed for the BMW ActiveHybrid 5. The high-voltage battery is encased in a special high-strength housing and positioned between the wheel arches in the trunk, providing it with optimum protection. It consists of 96 cells, has its own cooling system and offers usable energy capacity of 675 Wh.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 has both a conventional 14-volt power supply and a high-voltage supply with an operating voltage of 317 volts. They are linked by a voltage transformer which ensures that maximum electric energy can be used to enhance driving dynamics and comfort in any operating phase. Like the electric motor, the air conditioning compressor is also fed with power from the lithium-ion battery exclusively via the high-voltage supply. This ensures a pleasant interior climate, even when the combustion engine is switched off – i.e. when the car is at a standstill, operating purely on electric power or in coasting mode. In addition, the stationary climate control function can be used to cool the interior before the engine is started.

Intelligently controlled hybrid technology: unprecedented precision for maximum efficiency.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 can operate in all-electric mode up to a speed of 37 mph (60 km/h), for zero emissions in town. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery can store sufficient energy to give an all-electric driving range of up to approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) at an average speed of 22 mph (35 km/h).

The internal combustion engine is only started when the driver requires more power: it is then engaged automatically. The electric motor provides a "boost" function to supplement the engine when accelerating. Maximum combined power is 335 hp (DIN), with maximum torque of 330 lb-ft. Under combined internal combustion/electric power, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 delivers a 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (preliminary).

Hybrid-specific Auto Start-Stop function and coasting mode.

The specially designed Hybrid Auto Start-Stop function provides seamless operation when the vehicle is stopped in traffic – after the internal combustion engine is shut-off, the automatic climate control continues to run off the lithium-ion battery. When the driver releases the brake, the vehicle will restart on either the electric motor alone or the electric motor and the inline six, depending on the high-voltage battery's current charge level and on how much power the driver wants.

Another innovation being pioneered in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is the coasting mode. It further improves efficiency by shutting the internal combustion engine down not only when the vehicle is stationary, or when driving in town, but also while coasting at higher speeds. In the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, this coasting mode is available at any speed up to 100 mph (160 km/h). Coasting mode switches off the internal combustion engine and disconnects it from the drive shaft. From this point on, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 continues moving soundlessly, with zero emissions and with no engine braking effect. In coasting mode, as with all-electric mode for urban driving, all safety and comfort functions remain fully operational.

Intelligent energy management reads the road ahead.

The advanced power electronics coordinate the operation of the internal combustion engine and electric motor proactively based on the selected driving route for even more efficient energy management in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5. The power electronics are integrated with the standard navigation system, which means they can access and analyze data indicating changes in certain road conditions based on the route ahead, or driver requirements. From this analysis, all powertrain systems and the on-board electronics are managed appropriately so that energy can be used as needed or stored in preparation for what is coming up in order to make the most efficient possible use of the available energy.

Factors that may cause a change in powertrain operating strategy include the topography of the route and speed limits. For example, if the selected route indicates that a hilly stretch is coming up soon, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 can invest all the high-voltage battery's electrical energy in providing supplementary driving power for the up-hill without concern about depleting the battery, knowing that the battery will be recharged "at no cost" during the subsequent descent. On longer downhill sections the electric motor's generator function can be enlisted to recharge the high-voltage battery with no loss of speed. The operating strategy can also be managed so as to ensure that the high-voltage battery is as fully charged as possible when nearing the end of the journey, thereby increasing the potential electric driving range in anticipation of lower driving speeds.

The operating status of the powertrain components is shown in displays, unique to the ActiveHybrid 5, in the instrument cluster and in the Control Display. As well as the energy flow and energy recuperation display, these include an additional gauge next to the tachometer which shows the boost effect being provided by the electric motor during acceleration. A display in the iDrive interface provides a variety of information – for example on the battery's current charge level and the power-sharing between the internal combustion engine and the electric motor during the course of a journey.

State-of-the-art hybrid technology, typical BMW 5 Series:
highest standards of driving dynamics, safety and comfort.


The chassis specifications of the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 are pure BMW 5 Series. They include double-wishbone front and integral rear suspensions, Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering, a high-performance brake system and 18-inch alloy wheels. Dynamic Damper Control, featuring electronically controlled shock absorbers, is available as an option. The Dynamic Stability Control system, which stabilizes the vehicle by individually applying the brakes and reducing engine power, also incorporates functions such as Dynamic Traction Control, the Anti-lock Braking System, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Brake Assist, Brake Fade Compensation, Brake Drying and Start-Off Assistant.

The hybrid-specific safety features, which protect the high-voltage lithium-ion battery and the power electronics, are integrated into the BMW 5 Series' existing active and passive safety systems. In a collision, high-strength structural components and large deformation zones help to keep impact forces away from the passenger cell and also from the hybrid drive components. Other standard safety systems on the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 include front and side airbags, side curtain head airbags for front and rear passengers, three-point inertia-reel belts on all seats, belt force limiters and belt latch tensioners on the front seats and ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear. BMW Assist includes enhanced Automatic Collision Notification. In the event of a collision severe enough to cause an airbag to deploy, eACN immediately calls the emergency call center from the car's embedded phone. It not only transmits the car's location but also an assessment of the risk of severe injury to the people inside, based on a ground-breaking injury assessment algorithm. This assessment is provided to first responders before they even arrive at the scene.

In the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 the standard Driving Dynamics Control switch offers not only Sport+, Sport and Comfort set-ups (as well as Comfort+ mode if the optional Dynamic Damper Control is specified), but also the ECO PRO mode. As an alternative to the standard 8-speed automatic transmission, an 8-speed sport automatic with faster shift times is available.

A number of BMW ConnectedDrive features are available for the
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 including Park Distance Control, a rear-view camera, Surround View, High-Beam Assistant, Parking Assistant, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition and Head-Up Display. Innovative technologies also allow in-car integration of smartphones and music players. The BMW Apps option offers unprecedented integration of the Apple iPhone.

To further enhance comfort and individuality, the standard 4-zone automatic climate control and Navigation System can be supplemented by options such as active seats, front ventilated seats, Comfort Access, the Smart Opener for the trunk, and high-end audio and rear entertainment systems.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Seth
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally! A car company who understands their customers don't want RegularHybrid5's. I'm so sick of Corporate big-whigs underestimating our intelligence! Bring on the ActiveHybrid's!
        Tom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Seth
        Yeah -- if they thought we were stupid, they'd do things like replace a twin-turbo engine with a single-turbo engine and call the latter the "TwinPower Turbo."
      founerra
      • 3 Years Ago
      God damn it, can't they bring a smaller diesel engine!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why do so many hybrids get such overly complicated and ugly wheels?
        Jon
        • 3 Years Ago
        I assume by "complicated" you are referring to the aesthetic and not the mechanical design. The reason wheels on a hybrid look different is because more effort goes into improving the aerodynamics of the cars in order to boost fuel economy.
      AnthonyL
      • 3 Years Ago
      This thing better get a bazillion miles per gallon to make up for the 15-20 grand more than the base model they will charge for it!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Dump
        • 3 Years Ago
        Agreed. They should have used a TC 4-cyl and their version of the dual-mode transmission. That combo could get a huge bump in fuel consumption....but maybe not have as much hp/torque on tap. Well anyhoo....
      Trevor
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like the 3 series....
        Baba
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Trevor
        When I saw the small "preview" picture, I thought it was a new # series too.
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Trevor
        Oh no, this one is much bigger. When you see one in person, you wonder if the Bismark has weighed anchor.
      Jon
      • 3 Years Ago
      If it had a significant increase in fuel efficiency they would have said it but they phrased it as "double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the 535i". So, the 535i gets 19mpg in the city and a valid "double-digit percentage" is 10% we can only assume that since they phrased it that way it gets 20.9mpg in the city. Woohoo!!!
        Hartwig
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jon
        I think getting 22 Mpg city and 33 Mpg Hwy on a 335 hp mid size sedan is pretty awesome. Based on Automatic 535i mileage from here http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/30660.shtml
      FSLIV
      • 3 Years Ago
      This will have to be competitively price considering the option of diesel and people who can afford these car aren't as effected by gas prices. But we all know BMW knows nothing of competitive pricing. lol lol
        Jordan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @FSLIV
        It's called new technology. New technology is never "affordable" or "competitive". Once it's slowly worked its way into the market and more people are buying the technology it will become cheaper. Also, the more time that's spent working with and researching this technology, the cheaper it becomes. The reason they've opted not to start with a base car and make a hybrid out of that is because it isn't market feasible. Take a look at Toyota, where the Prius is in the Toyota lineup is approximately the same place as where this hybrid fits in BMW's lineup. I think this model will be profitable in the end. How profitable depends on a lot more than just specs and pictures.
          BG
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jordan
          But there is a big difference: there is a much larger market for a Prius in the $20,000+ price range than a 5-series for $45 or $55,000. Unit volume for the 5 will be 10 of thousands, not 100s of thousands.
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Infiniti hybrid system trumps this, though the BMW turbo Inline 6 is better than the Nissan's VQ.
      eldiablofuego0
      • 3 Years Ago
      Something seems a little off about those numbers, doesn't the turbo charged inline 6 produce 300 stand a lone if my math is correct the total out of the system should be 355 unless they turned down the boost on the inline six
        jpye
        • 3 Years Ago
        @eldiablofuego0
        You can't add up the two horsepowers to get a total, because the motors do not make peak power at the same RPM. While the HP curves are different, but I would imagine the combined peak of the curves is at 335.
      bcworkz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate this on so many levels I won't even start. Even so, I can see this doing well for BMW. Many of it's customers are badge ****** anyway, so now they can get two coveted badges for the price of 1, er, well 1-1/3 probably.
      Dvanos
      • 3 Years Ago
      MEh, bring some diesels over along with some of the small turbo engines instead.
        David
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dvanos
        They already have, its called the 335d.
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