2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5

BMW announced Thursday it will sell a hybrid version of its 5-Series. The 2012 ActiveHybrid 5 is based on the gas-only 535i and is expected to hit U.S. dealerships in March 2012.

BMW’s introduction of the ActiveHybrid 5 comes just a week after the automaker announced it is discontinuing the ActiveHybrid X6 SUV. Automotive journalists speculated that the ActiveHybrid X6’s high price and low fuel economy estimates may be the main reasons why BMW decided to pull the plug on the hybrid SUV.

2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 interior

The ActiveHybrid 5 will get BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine, an electric drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission. “Its drive system generates combined output of 335 hp (DIN), allows the car to be driven on electric power alone up to 37 mph (60 km/h), and accelerates the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (preliminary),” BMW says in a statement.

The ActiveHybrid 5’s engine is the same engine that’s in the BMW 535i. The electric motor produces 55 horsepower and gets energy from a lithium-ion battery located in the trunk. “All told, the system produces somewhere around 335 horsepower and allows the driver to whir along on all-electric power at speeds of up to 37 mph, but it can only push along in all-electric mode for around 2.5 miles at average of 22 mph,” Autoblog reports.

BMW did not say what kind of fuel economy the ActiveHybrid 5 is expected to achieve, but said it should experience “a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy over the BMW 535i based on preliminary results.” Pricing for the ActiveHybrid 5 has not been released yet either, but the gas-only BMW 535i it’s based on starts at $52,250. The ActiveHybrid 5 will compete with other hybrid luxury large cars like the Infiniti M hybrid and the upcoming 2013 Lexus GS 450h.

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