Crankandpiston’s latest jaunt to Portugal for the Mini Coupe Roadster launch (more of which to come) didn’t go entirely without problems. In one afternoon I managed to misplace my camera, turn up at a different hotel to my luggage, and lock myself out of my room. Clearly some drive time was required to wash away these woes, so I got on the phone to my BMW hosts and within 30 minutes was holding the keys to the company’s latest ActiveHybrid 5-Series.
I know what you’re thinking: “A hybrid? Come now, that’s hardly crankandpiston fodder!” Let’s be fair, we took a tentative spin in the Tesla Roadster recently and that turned out to be a hoot. Why not BMW’s flagship executive saloon?
Though equipped to provide the luxury and exuberance of previous 5-series models, the ActiveHybrid definitely has low fuel consumption in its sights. Intrigued, I get myself seated, nod studiously as I’m shown the ins and outs, and fire the Beemer into life: “are you sure it’s on?”
Grabbing the bull by its corked horns, we begin the drive in full Eco Pro mode, where everything runs on the lithium-ion battery. Alarming as the rev counter plummeting to zero is, watching the blue battery and red engine mapping alternate on the powertrain display is strangely entertaining. Our traffic-related 10kph average speed means that it’s only at the city limits when the exhaust notes make themselves heard, which is a little unnerving. Though we can feel the power subside when stop-start kicks in at standstill, it is not quite as obvious on start-up, which erodes confidence significantly when entering a busy junction.