New for 2013 in the BMW lineup is an updated 7 Series hybrid, delivering fuel economy that’s nearly as impressive as the significantly smaller 3 Series.
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BMW has announced the pricing for its new ActiveHybrid 5, and fuel efficiency will come at a cost, with a starting MSRP of $61,845, which includes a $895 destination and handling fee.
That price tag puts the ActiveHybrid 5 at $9,435 more expensive than the standard 535i, but with it you’ll get “not just highly sporty performance but also a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the BMW 535i.” The ActiveHybrid 5 couples BMW’s 3.0L turbocharged, inline-six engine that has 300-hp and 300 lb-ft of torque with an electric drive system packing 54-hp and 155 lb-ft of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combined output is 335-hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is able to be driven on electric power alone up to 37-mph and for a distance of 2.5-miles. What is impressive however is that the sedan can sprint to 60-mph in 5.7-seconds, which is just 0.1-seconds slower than the 535i. BMW hasn’t release EPA fuel economy estimates for the US model yet.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is the third in the line of hybrid models from the German automaker and features a new generation of BMW ActiveHybrid technology. It’s the debut for the combination of the six-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. The ActiveHybrid 5 will go on sale in America starting in March 2012.
GALLERY: BMW ActiveHybrid 5
Has BMW, the maker of the ultimate (electric) driving machines decided to follow Chevrolet’s example?
Word from Munich today is that BMW’s head of electrical components, Dr. Christian Schmidt, said it is weighing the possibility of a range-extended engine to pair to electric vehicles.
For some time now BMW has said it would consider an array of gas-plus-electric possibilities. Its fully electric i3 prototype is on one extreme, and its mildly e-boosted 7 Series ActiveHybrid is on the other.
BMW’s pending i8 (pictured) is in the middle and closer to a range-extended car. With mid-mounted petrol engine plus one electric motor driving the front wheels and one driving the rear, it can go either all-electric around town or gas-plus electric for high performance.
The extended-range Chevrolet Volt couples a gas-powered generator to pick up when limited-range batteries would leave a driver stranded, and apparently BMW is seeing the logic in GM’s engineered compromise.
Rumors and conjecture abound state that battery energy density increases will make doing away with petrol power viable for cost-effective, longer-range, quicker charging EVs. One battery researcher working for EPRI, a non-profit utility company research arm, recently estimated a conservative doubling of power in the next 10 years.
BMW’s Schmidt did not say which BMWs could receive a range extender, but said the Mini E did not receive many range anxiety complaints. If BMW decides to go with a range extender, it will be one more gas-electric solution in its growing stable of partially electric vehicles.