Fleet News

First drive: BMW ActiveHybrid 5

BIK List Price
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 BIK list price
BIK Percentage
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 BIK Percent
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 CO2
Combined MPG
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 MPG


Maximum efficiency and maximum driving pleasure – the new BMW ActiveHybrid 5 doesn’t solely focus on economy and emissions. For those considering a petrol-fuelled 5 Series, it’s the equivalent of having your cake and eating it.

Based on the 535i, itself a TwinPower (read variable intake, single turbo) straight-six with 302bhp, thanks to the electric motor the hybrid has 340bhp. Oh, and it’s 16% more economical as well, offering an official combined figure of 44.1mpg.

What really matters though is the CO2 emissions figure, and the ActiveHybrid 5 emits only 149g/km – comparable to the 148g/km of the 535d, and 34g/km less than the 535i.
For company users whose fleet policy is not restricted to diesel, these figures make this particular model an appealing choice.

Save for some chintzy badging on the C-pillar and bespoke Hybrid screens in the iDrive system, it’s not very different to other versions of the 5 Series.

Those batteries have got to go somewhere though, so the boot is now only 375 litres rather than 520, in size and you can’t have it as a practical Touring model.

But boot space aside the overall impression is positive, and so it should be.

Years of development and legions of technology have been poured into this model.

The electric motor is housed within the eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing the torque converter), and allows the car to travel at speeds up to 37mph for around two-and-a-half miles on electric power alone.

Its coasting ability, where the engine is de-coupled from the driveshaft and shut down, is what stands out though – especially as it can be done at up to 100mph.

And the satellite navigation is pretty clever too, informing the car of any upcoming topography changes, speed limits or traffic problems.

This means the car has a sixth sense, using electric power to boost performance on the way up a hill, safe in the knowledge that it can recharge on the way back down.

It’ll also allow the last part of the journey to be completed in full electric mode if conditions allow. All the while the iDrive display keeps you informed of the power units’ interaction – which is just as well, as the integration of the two is seamless and otherwise unnoticeable.

What is noticeable is the standard spec though, which even includes stationary climate control to keep the cabin comfortable when the engine is off – using power from the battery in the boot.

By Graeme Lambert

Fuel costs
With diesel getting ever more expensive in the UK, extra efficient petrol models are making more sense than ever. The ActiveHybrid 5 goes one step further, offering 535i performance but diesel like economy of 44.1mpg.
CO2 emissions
Compared to the 535i the new ActiveHybrid 5 is a hit, its 149g/km CO2 emissions figure 34g/km lower. However, the 535d actually emits 1g/km less but the 3% diesel supplement puts it in a higher tax bracket.
Residual values
In the UK it’s likely the ActiveHybrid 5 is going to be a relatively rare motor, which should keep values healthy. There will be far worse investments for this kind of money.
Running costs
Again, thanks to escalating diesel costs the petrol powered ActiveHybrid 5 could be a sensible choice. Certainly there’s no extra running costs over the 535i - save for the £46,860 purchase price.
Driver appeal
For those who actually enjoy their time behind the wheel it's clear the ActiveHybrid 5 makes a great choice. The petrol engine’s response, boosted by the torque of the electric motor, and the noise it makes as it nears the redline knock the diesel models into a cocked-hat. And compared to its more traditional rivals from the likes of Lexus, it’s clear that the BMW is the more engaging hybrid.
FN Verdict
It’s a tough one to place, this new ActiveHybrid 5 from BMW. Certainly, those who are likely to cover big miles on the motorway will be better served by one of the firm’s diesel models. But, for those using their vehicle around town, or who just prefer the feel of a petrol-powered car the ActiveHybrid 5 holds plenty of appeal – as long as you can afford the asking price.
Top Speed
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Top Speed
VED band
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Ved
Fuel Type
BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : £11,275
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : 65.25

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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