Green blaze

The po­tent yet frugal BMW is 5 Se­ries quick but hy­brid clean

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

se­lected low-emis­sion, high­e­con­omy ve­hi­cles from Audi, BMW, Honda, Re­nault, Toy­ota and Volvo.

Both Ac­tiveHy­brid cars will be pow­ered by the 3.0-litre straight-six turbo from the 535i with a 40kW elec­tric mo­tor be­tween the petrol engine and eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Com­bined out­put is a con­sid­er­able 250kW, which gets it from stand­ing to high­way speed in just un­der 6.0 sec­onds.

BMWquotes the com­bined fuel econ­omy fig­ure as low as 6.4L/100km if the stan­dard aero­dy­namic wheels are fit­ted. The diesel 535d man­ages 5.6L/100km. How­ever, the hy­brid emits as lit­tle as 149g/km.

The elec­tric mo­tor takes cur­rent from a lithium-ion bat­tery un­der the cargo floor and you can drive the car purely on elec­tric power at low speeds. Se­lect the Eco Pro mode and it can take you up to 160km/h. Un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion the elec­tric mo­tor also adds a burst of power.

The sub-7.0L/100km econ­omy fig­ure ex­tends the Lux­ury Car Tax thresh­old from $59,133 to $75,375 so you pay less to the gov­ern­ment.

That’s mu­sic to the ears of BMWGroup Aus­tralia boss Phil Hor­ton, who de­scribes the LCT as ‘‘ dou­ble pu­n­ish­ment’’ for own­ers of fuel-ef­fi­cient cars.

‘‘ In­stead of any in­cen­tives there is the dis­in­cen­tive of the Lux­ury Car Tax,’’ he says.

‘‘ It’smy be­lief that Aus­tralia is the only mar­ket in the world that has elec­tric ve­hi­cles avail­able but no gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies.’’

BMW­plans to fol­low up its hy­brid mod­els with a ful­l­elec­tric i3 in 2014 and an i8 plug-in hy­brid, as well as a range-ex­ten­der op­tion.

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