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By Automobile Magazine

What's New for ActiveHybrid 5 in 2013

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 makes its arrival in the automotive market this year. ..more

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is the latest hybrid car in the U.S., and it has a lot of things going for it at the moment. It has already gained a strong reputation for being better to drive than most other hybrids. Of course, luxury is not a problem either, since BMW has almost always covered that part in full.

The biggest question here is whether the hybrid is as economical as it should be. The very purpose of any hybrid car is to offer greater economy by combining an electrical motor with a gasoline engine. Here is a look at whether it stands up to the competition.


The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 looks just like other 5-Series models on the outside, which means that it too is based on the larger 7-Series sedan. The front-end of the car gets the signature kidney grille that is located low, but upright. The car gets adaptive xenon headlights as a standard.

The rear-end of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 gets three rows of LED lights. When the brakes are pressed hard, the Adaptive Brake lights illuminate a large part of the rear of the car. The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 gets 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, which is odd considering that most hybrid cars are designed for greater efficiency. The standard power sunroof does not make things any better.

In fact, BMW has not spared on any of its exterior features on its new hybrid. This does make the ActiveHybrid 5 the best-looking hybrid car available, but it does not serve the purpose of a hybrid.

Interior & Cargo

BMW’s attention to luxurious detail is evident inside the car. Based on the 7-Series, the interior of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 uses the Black Panel technology to display climate control readouts without the usual electroluminescent displays.

This particular feature, along with many other touches around the car, gives it a very minimalistic and clean look that works great with the hybrid theme. The iDrive interface removes most of the buttons on the dashboard, and gauge cluster display is configurable. The iDrive interface also displays the status of the hybrid powertrain.

One of the most noticeable aspects of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is its new Intelligent Energy Management (IEM) system integrated with the GPS navigation. This system works with the GPS to use parameters like current landscape, road condition, and more to optimize the car for efficient running. If the car is being driven downhill, the IEM switches on the electric motor’s charging facility so that its battery can charge without bringing down the speed of the car.

This IEM system does have its limits. It requires a number of parameters from the GPS, which is great in Germany where every road and corner of the country has been made available in detail. However, the U.S. does not have all the information needed for all the places, so usability is heavily restricted. This is expected, considering that the IEM is a first for production cars.


The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 gets a number of standard safety features like anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, active front head restraints, and side-curtain airbags. The car also gets the BMW Assist emergency communications system as standard, which also includes an emergency response button, automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery, and remote door unlock.

Driving Experience

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 gets the same 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine present in the 535i, which delivers 300 horsepower (hp) and 300 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor delivers an additional 54 hp to the car. The electric motor of the ActiveHybrid 5 does more than just switch on and – it monitors a number of functions to deliver additional torque and power when needed, and it also generates power for the lithium-ion batteries as needed.

As a result, the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 can get around 335 hp from its engine and motor combination at 5,800 rpm, and torque is rated at 155 lb-ft from zero revolutions to a good peak of 295 lb-ft at the 1,200-5,000 rpm range. The cumulative torque with engine and motor engaged and with Sport+ mode engaged in the Driving Dynamics Control is around 332 lb-ft, which starts at 1,000 rpm and through to 5,000 rpm. The heavy electrical components slow it down quite a bit, but the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 offers quite a bit of performance. It equals the speed of 535i, which crossed the 60 miles per hour mark from a standstill in around 5.7 seconds.

However, performance is not a primary concern when buying a hybrid car. When someone buys a hybrid, it is usually expected to deliver the best possible fuel economy and leave a smaller carbon footprint. Does the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 offer this? To an extent, the answer is yes.

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 drives well at low and medium speeds. The electric motor sacrifices some of the refinement present in the gasoline 5-Series, and the added weight takes a toll on the maneuverability of the car as well. Nevertheless, the car feels a lot like a 535i in speeds that a hybrid car is meant to be driven in.

On the other hand, the fuel economy of the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 is just around 24/30 mpg city/highway, which is respectable enough for a large luxury sedan but seems a bit disappointing considering its hybrid nature. Nevertheless, the ActiveHybrid 5 is a great car for those who want the 5-Series with a little more fuel economy.

Key Competitors For The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid

  • Lexus GS450h
  • Mercedes E350 BlueTec

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