The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 doesn't have enough ratings to earn a Total Car Score. But if anyone was worried that hybridization would be a handicap for one of the best-driving premium sedans ever made, those fears can be put to rest.
The few compromises include 330 pounds of additional weight, no split/folding rear seats because of battery placement and a reduction in trunk space from 14 to 8.5 cubic feet. Some critics gripe about the artificial feel of the electrically assisted steering, but that's an issue across the whole current 5 Series range. Everything else -- like chassis dynamics, equipment levels and brake feel -- is worthy of wearing the famed blue-and-white propeller badge.
The ActiveHybrid 5 is not meant to be a machine that will reverse climate change. Instead, it offers a conscience-salving way of having turbocharged six-cylinder power with the reduced thirst of a four-cylinder. In electric-only mode, it can travel up to 2.5 miles at an average of 22 mph or hit a top speed 37 mph.
There is a significant price difference between this and a regular 5 Series with the same engine, but BMW adds more standard equipment as a way of softening that particular blow.
The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is new for this model year, and this generation of 5 Series is just two years old, so we expect no significant changes for the time being.
The five-seat 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 midsize executive sedan is a hybrid variant within the broader 5 Series range.
Its drivetrain consists of a turbocharged inline-6 internal combustion engine, an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission (there's an option of a sportier eight-speed auto, too). It develops 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and sends it all to the rear wheels (no all-wheel-drive alternative).
Standard equipment includes four-zone climate control, voice-activated navigation, driving dynamics control, active cruise control, leather upholstery, dark wood trim, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, iPod integration and 18-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with an exclusive metallic paint finish called "Bluewater."
Ventilated front seats, parking assistance, night vision and rear-seat entertainment systems are among the many options.
Safety equipment includes traction and stability controls, cornering brake control, brake fade compensation and brake drying. The airbag count takes in side curtain units front and rear.
This hybrid model hasn't been crash-tested, but regular versions of the current 5 Series are "Top Safety Picks" of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And BMW claims that hybrid-specific safety features are integrated into existing active and passive safety systems.
There were no EPA estimates for the 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 at the time of writing, but BMW suggests 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
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