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2012 BMW 5-Series Hybrid Review

Test drivers agreed that the 2012 BMW 5-Series Hybrid has strong acceleration and a comfortable ride, but you can get better fuel economy and more trunk space in a non-hybrid 5-Series.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful hybrid drivetrain
  • Linear brake feel
  • Small trunk
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Worse fuel economy than base non-hybrid 5-Series




Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 BMW 5-Series Hybrid Overview

According to automotive journalists, the 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine and electric motor deliver strong acceleration and smooth transitions between electric and gas power. The 5-Series Hybrid has rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, it gets 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is fairly good for the class, but unimpressive compared to some other luxury hybrids’ estimates, and lower than the non-hybrid BMW 528i’s fuel economy estimates. Reviewers said the 5-Series Hybrid drives a lot like the gas-only 5-Series, with a pleasant ride and poised handling, but is not as engaging behind the wheel as it could be. They said the 5-Series Hybrid’s regenerative brakes have none of the sponginess or grabbiness commonly associated with hybrid braking systems.

Automotive journalists agreed that the 2012 BMW 5-Series Hybrid has a first-rate, attractive interior. The 5-Series Hybrid has the same seats as the non-hybrid 5-Series, which reviewers said are comfortable up front, but lack ample legroom in the rear. The ActiveHybrid 5 has 10 cubic feet of trunk space, which is very small for the class. Standard features in the 2012 BMW 5-Series Hybrid include four-zone automatic climate control, navigation and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Available features include ventilated front seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, a head-up display and a night vision display with pedestrian detection.

Other Cars to Consider

Like the 5-Series Hybrid, critics said the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid has strong acceleration, a comfortable ride and fairly agile handling. The M35h gets better fuel economy than the 5-Series Hybrid and has a bit more trunk space.

The non-hybrid 2012 BMW 528i gets better gas mileage than the 5-Series Hybrid, and reviewers agreed that it has plenty of power. The gas-only 5-Series also has more trunk space than the ActiveHybrid 5.

Compare the 5-Series Hybrid, M Hybrid and 5-Series »

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