Tony O'Kane | Mar 5, 2010

BMW HAS DISPLAYED its latest hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week, the 5 Series ActiveHybrid Concept.

Utilising a similar layout as the ActiveHybrid X6, the 5 Series hybrid couples the twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre petrol six of the 335i with a 40kW electric drive motor.

Sandwiched between the petrol engine and a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox, the electric motor also operates as a generator under decelleration and helps charge the rear-mounted high-voltage battery pack.

A full-hybrid vehicle, the 5 Series ActiveHybrid can be run on either the petrol engine, the electric motor or both simulatneously.

BMW claims that thanks to the new hybrid system, the 5 Series ActiveHybrid consumes around 10 percent less fuel than the 535i that it's based upon - roughly 7.65 l/100km.

For maximum acceleration both motors work in concert, combining their outputs for peak performance. In more sedate driving conditions, the electric motor is capable of propelling the car by itself without consuming a single drop of petrol.

A start-stop system produces further fuel economy savings, and the high-voltage battery is capable of running all lights and cabin systems when the engine is switched off.

More impressively, the 5 Series ActiveHybrid can read the road conditions ahead and adjust its performance to suit, priming the regerative braking system if the road is about to slope downhill or engaging electric-only drive if the battery is full and the car is just a few kilometres from its destination.

A release date for a production version of the 5 Series ActiveHybrid Concept has yet to be decided upon, but with BMW set to commence deliveries of its hybrid X6 and 7 Series later this year we can expect its 5 Series hybrid to arrive in showrooms eventually.

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