First-ever BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid could offer over 20 miles of emissions-free driving

2016 BMW X5 xDrive 40e
BMW has ambitiously promised to offer a plug-in hybrid version of every single model in its lineup, and the electrification process is well under way. The Munich-based car maker detailed the first-ever plug-in 7 a couple of months ago, a plug-in 3 called 330e will arrive later this year, and a new report claims the next-generation 5 will be offered with two gasoline-electric drivetrains.

Called 530e, the entry-level plug-in 5 will be powered by a four-cylinder engine that will work jointly with a small electric motor to develop approximately 280 horsepower. The 530e will be capable of driving on electricity alone for a little over 20 miles at speeds of up to 75 mph, and the four-cylinder will automatically kick in as soon as the car detects the battery pack is out of juice.

Buyers after more power will be asked to step up to the 540e, which will ship with a gasoline-burning turbo four rated at 258 hp and a 95-hp water-cooled electric motor. The two power sources will generate a healthy 326 hp, but the trade-off is that the 540e’s all-electric range will be limited to a little over 18 miles.

Both plug-in 5s will use the same nine-speed automatic transmission. The unit will feature built-in software called proactive drive assistant that will rely on a series of sensors, cameras, and lasers to downshift ahead of time if it detects that the driver will need to pass a slower car. Rear-wheel drive will come standard, and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system will be offered at an extra cost.

The 5’s battery pack will be located under the rear seats. Motorists will be able to top it up by plugging the car into a charging station, by using BMW’s state-of-the-art inductive charging technology, or through a brake energy recuperation system. The wireless inductive charging will gradually spread to other members of the BMW lineup.

The next generation of the BMW 5 Series is tentatively scheduled to make its official debut at the Paris Motor Show that will open its doors in October. It will go on sale shortly after as a 2017 model, but the hybrid versions detailed above might not arrive until the 2018 model year.

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