BMW is adding yet another hybrid to its U.S. lineup. The automaker recently confirmed a hybrid version of its popular 5 Series is headed for production, revealing powertrain options, official images and other details ahead of the sedan's March 2012 debut.
Officially called the ActiveHybrid 5, the environmentally-friendly new 5 Series features the 535i's turbocharged six-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission mated to an all-electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery. The result is a hybrid drivetrain featuring an athletic 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque - 35 more horses and 30 extra pound-feet than the regular 535i.
Of course, the ActiveHybrid 5's extra power means it's an athletic performer on the road. According to BMW, 60 miles per hour is reached from a standing stop in just 5.7 seconds - slightly quicker than the traditional 535i. The ActiveHybrid 5 also features BMW's traditional "Driver Experience Control" switch, allowing drivers to pick between 'Comfort,' 'Sport,' and enthusiast-oriented 'Sport+' settings.
But despite its high-performance abilities, the ActiveHybrid 5 still remains true to its environmentally-conscious character. According to BMW, the sedan can be driven at speeds up to 37 mph on electric power alone, helping to boost the 535i's already-impressive fuel economy figures of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Also included is the automaker's gas-saving start-stop technology, which shuts off the engine in stop-and-go driving to conserve fuel and boost mileage.
Additionally, BMW says a new "ECO PRO" mode has been added to the Driver Experience Control, helping hypermiling drivers squeeze the last drop of fuel out of the sedan by modifying all driving systems for maximum efficiency. According to BMW, the system can even fully switch off the combustion engine while coasting at speeds of up to 100 mph.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is the third hybrid BMW to join the automaker's lineup, following ActiveHybrid variants of the 7 Series luxury sedan and X6 SUV. Competitors will include the Infiniti M35h, Lexus GS450h and upcoming Audi A6 Hybrid. While BMW has not announced pricing for the new sedan, we expect it to include a $7,000 to $10,000 premium over a standard 535i, placing the ActiveHybrid 5's base price around $60,000.