At the previously mentioned BMW shareholders meeting in Munich, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, BMW’s CEO, confirmed that the BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid has been greenlighted for production and first models will hit the market in early 2011.

“As early as next year, the new BMW 5-Series will also be available as a full hybrid,” Reithofer said. “And we are anticipating the hybridization of further models series, such as the BMW 3-Series. We also work with modules in this field, choosing the most suitable hybrid solution for the respective model.”

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in March. The drive system featured in the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid consists of 3.0 liter straight-six N55 gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology, eight-speed automatic transmission, and electric drive. Integration of BMW ActiveHybrid technology in a sedan already extremely efficient with its “conventional” combustion engine reduces both fuel consumption and emissions once again by more than 10 per cent.

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At the same time the electric motor offers a boost function, supporting the gasoline engine in generating particularly dynamic drive power for an even more sporting driving experience in the car.

The drivetrain technology featured in the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid allows all-electric, zero-emission motoring in city traffic. At the same time a special hybrid-based Auto Start Stop function offers additional efficiency by consistently switching off the combustion engine when stopping at the traffic lights, a road junction, or in congested traffic.

The combustion engine is supported in the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid by an electrical drive system developed specifically for this model and arranged in compact dimensions between the straight-six combustion engine and the automatic transmission. Drawing its energy from a high-voltage battery at the back of the car, the electric motor develops maximum output of 40 kW.

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Pricing is unknown at the moment, but we expect to see it at similar levels as the top 550i model.