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      02-10-2013, 06:58 AM   #1
Second Lieutenant
United Kingdom

Drives: 2012 ActiveHybrid 5
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newbury, UK

iTrader: (0)

Returning member - ActiveHybrid 5

Hi guys, I haven't been to the BMW forums for a while since I sold my fully optioned E92 330d M Sport, but it was time to give BMW another chance

Now before you think I'm some sort of tree hugging, carrot crunching environmentalist, let me put you right on that score straight away. My car history includes 3 x TVR, 2 x 911, XKR 5.0, XFR, 2 x AMG Mercs, and a 12 MPG '65 Mustang fastback.

So, this hybrid business. Well, I was looking for nearly new 530d/535d M Sport in white with most options, and also considering new (I get 16% discount from BMW on new cars through work). I didn't even know there was a petrol hybrid until I spotted one at a local dealer. Initially I completely dismissed it, but on further investigation, it turned out to be quite interesting. It's basically a 535i which is a very good start, but with some interesting features. For example, in Eco Pro mode on my commute it will do 40 MPG. in Sport mode it's just a 535i with an extra 50 hp from the battery, with no stop start or other nonsense. So actually it's a bit like two cars in one.

The other thing that made it appealing was the price. There were 20 of these which BMW provided for London 2012 for driving senior officials and politicians around, and for some reason, they have released them all to dealers at the same time, at a much lower price than you might expect. The current list price including options of mine would be 57K. The book price at 3000 miles is 48K. I actually paid 31K, so it was rather too good to miss. I feel sorry for the dealers who have any of these cars which were not part of this. For example the one in Glasgow for sale at 45K lol.

Anyway on balance it ticked most of the boxes. Road tax is only 125 a year, it's averaging 36 MPG, petrol is cheaper than diesel and that engine is superb. Although the BMW six cylinder diesel engines are awesome, you still have to qualify it with 'for a diesel' to a certain extent. The turbo petrol six with peak torque from 1200 RPM, smooth as silk even when cold, and razor sharp throttle response is something else again. Especially in Sport mode, where the electric motor adds to the torque.

There were a few compromises as always when buying nearly new. No M Sport, some options I would have liked not present, and they are all the same colour (silvery blue). However it had a lot of the options I wanted. I absolutely love the HUD. The standard speaker system is rather disappointing, but I can live with it. The ride is good on 17s and a world away from the wooden E92 on 19s (which cracked on mine). The 8 speed auto is excellent and IDrive has certainly improved. I would have liked variable dampers as I've had two Jags with something similar and it's very effective, but you can't have everything. Almost no nearly new approved used cars seem to have it anyway.

Anyway I've gone on a bit, but the headline is that most people who care about cars instantly dismiss hybrids due to the horrible useless, ugly, slow, compromised, soulless lump that is the Prius. BMW don't do Prius. They have done a proper job with it. It may not be as economical as a 520d and it sure is expensive (normally) but boy is it nice to live with on a daily basis.

I don't have any pictures yet. I've had it three weeks but the weather has been atrocious. I expect some will follow