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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5

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Expert's Rating

4.7Excellent

MPG 23 City / 30 Highway
Pros
  • Strong acceleration
  • Good handling
  • Handsome styling
  • Excellent build quality
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Negligible improvements in fuel efficiency
, Automotive Editor -
Despite a short list of competitors, the BMW's unimpressive fuel economy numbers put it at an instant disadvantage.

Introduction

The BMW 5-Series has a long history that stretches back to 1972, when the 520 hit the market with its 115-horsepower, 2-liter powerplant. Throughout the years, the 5-Series has become one of the most advanced and performance-packed mid-size sedans on the market. This trend continued in 2012 with BMW's introduction of a hybrid variant dubbed the ActiveHybrid 5.

Coming into the 2013 model year, the ActiveHybrid 5 carries over essentially unchanged from its debut. The only addition of note is a standard universal garage door opener.



The ActiveHybrid 5 supplements a 3-liter inline six-cylinder -- the same found in the 535i -- with an electric motor that boosts output to a combined 335 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. With the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission, the ActiveHybrid 5 sprints to 60 mph in only 5.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 130 mph. If 130 mph isn't enough for you, the Sport Package ups the speed limiter to a stout 150 mph.

All of this performance is great, but you buy a hybrid to get better mileage, and the ActiveHybrid 5 disappoints in this category. It gets the same 30 mpg highway as the 535i, and its 23 mpg city only beats its non-hybrid sibling by three miles per gallon. This doesn't really justify the huge price gap between the two, but the ActiveHybrid 5 does have a few extra features, like navigation, BMW online services.

Fortunately for BMW, the ActiveHybrid 5 doesn't live in a very crowded market. This will change over time, but for now, BMW must only fend off the likes of the 2013 Infiniti M35h and 2013 Lexus GS 450h. The Bavarian automaker should hope, though, that buyers overlook the high-efficiency Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5
Starting price
$41,388

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Base

Recommended for: Buyers who want an environmentally responsible luxury sedan

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 has only a single trim level, but there's nothing spartan about it. Standard features include: four-wheel antilock brakes; stability control; speed-sensitive steering; 18-inch wheels; fog lights; xenon headlights; rain-sensing wipers; 10-way power front seats wrapped in Dakota leather; dark wood trim; a moonroof with one-touch operation; four-zone climate control; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; ambiance lighting; an AM/FM/CD/MP3/HD Radio audio system with 180 watts and 10 speakers; Bluetooth connectivity; and a three-spoke steering wheel wrapped in leather with controls for the audio system, cruise control and Bluetooth.

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