• The new hybrid 5 Series will start at $61,895 including destination, which is around $8,000 more than the 535i on which it's based.
  • The sedan features a 3.0-liter hybrid six-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 335 horsepower.
  • The sedan could offer fuel economy as high as 35 miles per gallon and the ability to drive on pure battery power for up to 2.5 miles.

BMW's new ActiveHybrid 5 will start at $61,895 including destination when it arrives in dealerships this spring. The automaker's pricing announcement came on the heels of the sedan's North American debut, which took place just days ago at the Detroit Auto Show.

The ActiveHybrid 5's newly announced base price means the sedan will start around $8,000 more than its gasoline-powered 535i stablemate. But the extra cash is money well spent for many buyers, since the ActiveHybrid 5 is touted as the most efficient 5 Series ever and features improved performance and a host of advanced new features.

Under the hood, the ActiveHybrid 5 offers the same 300-horsepower twin-turbocharged six-cylinder powerplant as its 535i sibling, coupled to a supplementary electric motor that boosts the hybrid's peak power to an impressive 335 horses. According to BMW, that helps the ActiveHybrid 5 hit 60 miles per hour from a standing stop in an impressive 5.7 seconds, which is on par with rival upscale sport sedans. But despite the brawny performance, BMW says the ActiveHybrid 5's fuel economy remains strong, with some estimates ranging as high as 35 miles per gallon in highway driving.

Of course, the ActiveHybrid 5 offers several other technological advancements, including a navigation system that's linked to the drivetrain to prepare for upcoming road conditions and a selectable electric drive mode that can propel the sedan on pure battery power for up to 2.5 miles. Other new features, including a standard start/stop function that turns off the engine at idle to save fuel and a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, are shared with other BMW models.

The ActiveHybrid 5 is BMW's third hybrid model, following the slow-selling ActiveHybrid 7 luxury sedan and X6 ActiveHybrid SUV. According to BMW, the sedan will soon be joined by a hybrid version of its smaller 3 Series, the ActiveHybrid 3, which made its global debut earlier this month at the Detroit Auto Show.

What it means to you: At nearly $62,000, the ActiveHybrid 5 is an expensive alternative to the 535i - but its extra horsepower, new technology and green image may make it the most popular BMW hybrid yet.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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