Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Take 5: BMW 5 Hybrid

BMW ActiveHybrid 5
BMW ActiveHybrid 5

BMW’s latest 5 Series is easily the best looking car ever to bear that proud designation. The problem is that, at least in profile, it looks very similar to the Mazda 6 and half a dozen of its other competitors too.

Cloning seems to be sweeping through the motoring world’s design studios, largely because everyone’s computer seems to be coming up with near identical solutions when asked the same questions about such concerns as aerodynamics, ease of manufacture and appeal to the eye.

Be reassured though, whatever the new 5 lacks in distinctiveness, the latest version more than makes up in technological wizardry.

There has been some criticism of the sister 7 Series as being over-engineered and loaded with so many functions and the accompanying myriad knobs and buttons that you’ve no time to focus your attention on the road ahead – which is what you should be doing.

Certainly, just like t he 7, the 5 Series carries out its functions in some novel ways but it only took a day or too with the car to get the hang of it all and by the end of my week with the car I was convinced its right and proper place should be on the street outside my house and not on some showroom floor. Oh that I had £47,105 to spare!

I’m not sure I need an electric button to help me shut the boot lid but the comprehensive range of other on-demand functions make sense. This is a car that fits like a favourite old jacket but can be adjusted to satisfy the requirements of secondary drivers too, all at the touch of the appropriate button Suspension settings, auto gear change points, full seat and steering adjustment and a heap more are there right at your fingertips.

A thoroughly sorted hybrid drive, matching a silky smooth 2,979 cc petrol engine to a whisper quiet electric motor provides the power, significantly lowering petrol consumption and reducing CO2 emissions while giving scintillating performance. 62-mph rushing up in just 9-seconds while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

44 mpg is the claimed combined cycle fuel consumption figure, The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 features an intelligent drive concept that gives an idea of what to expect in the next generation of hybrid technology.

Unlike some such vehicles, BMW’s mid-size hybrid provides generous boot space while, in the truly luxurious cabin; rear seat passengers also have more than ample room.

The new 5 Series is an easy car to drive, it handles with confidence, is comfortable has brisk performance and sets the benchmark for its Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and Lexus rivals – so what more do you need?

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