BMW’s 2013 ActiveHybrid5 is essentially a hybrid version of the 535i and places an emphasis on performance at the expense of ultimate fuel economy.

It’s well documented the German engineers have been less than overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the hybrids some Americans seem enamored with.

BMW prefers diesels to cut CO2 and raise fuel economy, and indeed, it is preparing to launch a slew of U.S. market clean diesel variants in the next couple of years.


The $60,950 rear-wheel-drive ActiveHybrid5 comes well equipped in standard form, partially accounting for its price premium of $7,550 over the 535i’s base price. It also boasts more power with marginally better fuel economy.

The non-hybrid 535i achieves a not-far-off EPA rating of 20 mpg city, 30 highway, and 24 combined, compared to the ActiveHybrid5’s 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 26 combined.

The ActiveHybrid 5 – also known as the 535ih – carries forward with no changes from 2012, and is priced $450 more this year.

In Brief

The marketing term for BMW’s hybrids is EfficientDynamics and while fairly “efficient,” the keyword here is “dynamic.”

To achieve dynamic performance, BMW paired its excellent 3.0-liter N55 inline-six twin-scroll turbo from the 535i along with an electric motor.

The gas portion of the equation contributes 300 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, and 300 pounds-feet of torque from 1,200-5,000 rpm. This would be enough extra go-power to thrill a Lexus ES 300h hybrid owner who felt something was lacking with his or her 200-horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, but BMW’s hybrid blends in an additional 54-horsepower and 155 pounds-feet of torque from its electric motor. (Note: The video states “340 horsepower” but the spec sheets says otherwise).


Because the two power sources achieve their peak at different points, the total system power is rated at 335 horsepower and 330 pounds-feet of torque.

Instead of a 0-60 mph time in maybe 7.6-8.1 seconds, as is the case with a 40-mpg-rated hybrid like a Lexus ES 300h, the eight-speed shiftable automatic transmission-equipped Bavarian car should be good for under six seconds or so.

As a full hybrid, it can travel on electricity alone up to 37 mph. The battery can store enough energy for an all-electric driving range of about 2.5 miles at an average speed of 22 mph.


As mentioned, the conservatively styled car comes well equipped with many standard features.

Leather upholstery is included and the driver gets a supportive 10-way power adjustable bucket seat, and the passenger as well as the driver’s seat has power adjustable lumbar support.

Navigation with voice control via a 10.3-inch display is standard.


A 12-speaker stereo system with Bluetooth is there to heat things up, and a four-zone automatic climate control system is there to do the same, or cool things down, as the case may be.

The car rides on stylish 18-inch wheels and 245/45R18 tires, and handles and brakes in keeping with an Ultimate Driving Machine just as effectively as its powertrain can push the car forward.

The car employs anti-whiplash front head restraints, and comes with electronic traction and stability control.

Naturally, it has anti-lock brakes, as well as a tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, BMW Assist telematics, and six airbags.


Lighting the way at night are bi-xenon adaptive headlights.

The ActiveHybrid5 is a fine car, and a somewhat more efficient choice for those who want extra power without any potential guilt.

For more details, please also consult our 2012 full review of the same car.