BMW wasn’t among the early adopters of “green” hybrid or electric technology. Once their programs got rolling, though, the results combined modern efficiency with BMW’s long-established reputation for motoring excellence and excitement. Combined with discriminating, refined luxury, of course. Positioned right in the middle of BMW’s hybrid-powertrain trio, the midsize ActiveHybrid 5 takes both passenger comfort and performance seriously, just like its gas-engine 5 Series mates.
What's New for 2016
Gearshift paddles for the automatic transmission now are standard. A power trunk lid is available as a standalone option. Enhanced USB and Bluetooth are now standard on all 5 Series sedans, including Mobile Office, an additional microphone, Bluetooth for a second phone, and library browsing.
Choosing Your BMW ActiveHybrid 5
Vigorous performance and battery/gasoline technology don’t often mix well, but the ActiveHybrid 5 is a fierce exception. A turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine combines with an electric motor to generate 335 horsepower. That’s the most power you can get in a 5 Series without selecting a V8 engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. The lithium-ion battery pack is located at the rear, shrinking trunk space a bit
Fuel economy is estimated at 23 in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway (26 mpg combined). Curiously, those figures aren’t as startling as most hybrids manage: not much better than a gas-engine 535i, with a 24 mpg combined city/highway estimate.
Equipped similarly to other six-cylinder 5 Series sedans, the ActiveHybrid 5 has leather/dark wood interior trim, 14-way power front seats with lumbar support and driver memory functions, a sunroof, automatic four-zone climate control, automatic rain-sensing wipers, LED foglights, and 18-inch V-spoke light alloy wheels. Technical features include enhanced USB/Bluetooth phone and audio, voice-controlled operation, a navigation system, and integrated smartphone apps. A 12-speaker, 205-watt sound system includes HD radio and a CD player.
Two “design lines” are optional: Luxury and M Sport. The Luxury line features 18-inch multi-spoke aluminum wheels, chrome exterior accents, special upholstery with contrast stitching, and a sport leather steering wheel. M Sport comes with an aerodynamic kit, black exterior trim and leather upholstery, an “M” steering wheel, and lightweight 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels
BMW also offers a selection of option packages:
- The Premium package adds Comfort Access keyless entry/start and satellite radio.
- A Cold Weather package includes heated front/rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and retractable headlamp washers.
- The Luxury Seating package adds 20-way active multi-contour front seats with ventilation and massage functions.
- Adaptive full LED headlamps and automatic high beams are in the Lighting package.
- The Driver Assistance package features a head-up display, rearview camera, and front/rear parking sensors.
- Driver Assistance Plus adds blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, speed limit information, and a side- and top-view camera system.
A $5,500 Individual Composition package provides a special interior treatment, including Dark Red Sycamore wood trim.
Standalone options include automatic soft-close doors, power rear sunshades, a $500 self-parking system, rear entertainment system, and a choice of two premium audio systems. Also available is NIght Vision with pedestrian detection.
When wearing a BMW badge, hybrid technology almost lets you have the proverbial cake and eat it, too, effectively blending fuel-efficiency with familiar roadgoing prowess. We recommend the Premium and Driver Assistance packages, which add to the enjoyment of any 5 Series sedan. Additional options are a question of personal taste and how much you’re willing to spend.