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      02-10-2013, 05:58 AM   #1
steve-p
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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
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      02-10-2013, 07:41 AM   #2
Matt01
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I was one of the games makers driving the BMWs about... Mainly in a 320d... Had one drive in the active hybrid, my thoughts are the same, it flew down park lane in sport mode... And all the way round Hyde park on battery power... Real life MPG is down on a 520d, but with the petrol engine you'll be able to give nearly anything a run for its money...
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      02-10-2013, 07:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt01
I was one of the games makers driving the BMWs about... Mainly in a 320d... Had one drive in the active hybrid, my thoughts are the same, it flew down park lane in sport mode... And all the way round Hyde park on battery power... Real life MPG is down on a 520d, but with the petrol engine you'll be able to give nearly anything a run for its money...
Ps it was only the real big wigs got the active fives, as there was only about 10 of them... Think IOC president etc, so they were looked after...
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      02-10-2013, 09:46 AM   #4
steve-p
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt01 View Post
Ps it was only the real big wigs got the active fives, as there was only about 10 of them... Think IOC president etc, so they were looked after...
Interesting, thanks. I suspected as much. I've been trying to find a picture of "my" car with it's vinyl wrap logos on, but only found pictures of one of the other ones so far You couldn't tell it apart from a brand new car if it didn't have 3K miles on the clock so it was certainly looked after and thoroughly prepared afterwards.
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      02-22-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Had my Active 5 for a week now. I was trying to figure out why it was discounted so much. It may be because all the reviews say it is not as economical as a 520D and more expensive.....so buy a 520D. They missed the petrol engine with 306 bhp (+ extra 15 or so bhp from the electric)......and the discount !!
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      03-02-2013, 05:15 AM   #6
steve-p
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How's your fuel consumption doing? Mine's dropped to 30 now I've been driving it more enthusiastically. The car MPG reading is 10% out too - it says 33, but it's only 30 when compared to real brim to brim consumption.

30 might be quite good for a 535i, I'm not sure, but I do know that with my usage pattern I always get about 10% less than the official EU combined figure for every car over the last 15 years... until now. This one is 33% less! I seriously doubt that BMW ever got the 44.1 they claim because the best journey I have achieved so far is 37 (car read 41). I would be interested to hear if you are doing any better in case mine's not working properly
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      03-03-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by steve-p View Post
How's your fuel consumption doing? Mine's dropped to 30 now I've been driving it more enthusiastically. The car MPG reading is 10% out too - it says 33, but it's only 30 when compared to real brim to brim consumption.

30 might be quite good for a 535i, I'm not sure, but I do know that with my usage pattern I always get about 10% less than the official EU combined figure for every car over the last 15 years... until now. This one is 33% less! I seriously doubt that BMW ever got the 44.1 they claim because the best journey I have achieved so far is 37 (car read 41). I would be interested to hear if you are doing any better in case mine's not working properly
Interesting subject, as there isn't much experience with something like a 5-series with hybrid technology in the UK.

I'm sure the official stat's looks much more promising than the average driver will ever get near. I sense we are talking of very light use in easy urban conditions to see decent gains over a 535i. We have to get decent energy recovery to be able to use it and convert to saved mpg. Driving harder and faster just doesn't add up in my mind, as energy demands grow dramatically as we work a car harder. It is a heavy car with a weight penalty over the 535i.

On the subject of getting near the official results, as the manufacturers squeeze out the last bit of savings, we the drivers, have less ability to get to the figures than the old days, when the 'slack' was there for the economy driver to exploit.

I could easily exceed the official combined figure in my E39 540i. Exceed it by over 25% long term in mixed driving, with a 26 - 28mpg figure according to season. My F11 535i with all "the on paper" credentials for much improved economy is never going to give me the combined figure long term, in the same conditions, driving similar acceleration and speeds as I would the 540i.

There is just no slack with a combined figure of over 33mpg for the 535i. I'm currently running about 30mpg long term, hope to get about 31mpg average over the year, once we get warmer seasons added.

For me, the reality... a 1998 E39 touring 4.4-litre V8 at 26 - 28mpg (20.7mpg combined) vs F11 touring 3.0-litre turbo at 29 - 31mpg (33.2mpg combined). Shows how official figures and reality are changing with the emphasis on adding Eco features, which do help get good official results. Many of us don't get the full Eco benefits in our real world driving. MPG shortfall is growing across the manufacturers.

Hope you get some results in from other ActiveHybrid 5 users. I'm interested to see the figures as well.

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      03-04-2013, 11:00 AM   #8
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The battery charge doesn't just come from regenerative braking - it actually charges the battery anyway using the engine if it's running. For example, when starting from cold with the battery depleted (from the end of the previous journey), the battery is fully charged within about five minutes or so. This doesn't seem particularly efficient, although it's how trains work so maybe it's better than it sounds

Electric power does make quite a difference to journey MPG. On my commute to work, which is four miles urban and then eight miles fast rural roads, it does 28-30 MPG (adjusted from indicated figure). Because the engine is cold, it's using petrol for nearly all of the urban part, and after that I'm doing 60-70 anyway. On the way home though, battery power is sufficient for nearly all of the four miles urban at the end, giving 35-37 MPG for the journey. I guess what the hybrid part does is introduce a much greater variability to the MPG for any given journey. If I lived half a mile closer to work my MPG for the homeward journey would exceed 40.

Economy aside (as I was expecting about 30 anyway despite the grand claims), my other beefs are with the 8 speed auto. In comfort mode, cruising behind someone at 50, flooring the accelerator to overtake does not do what I would expect. There's a delay of maybe a second before anything at all happens. Then it drops down some gears, then some more. It's maybe 1.5-2 seconds before you get full acceleration, which doesn't seem right to me? It's not really conducive to safe overtaking. Then there's Sport mode, which doesn't do it for me either. Why, with an 8 speed box, would you ever want it to be doing 2500 RPM at 30 on almost no throttle at all in town? Why not do what AMG/Jaguar etc do, which is still be doing 1250 RPM, but downshift as soon as you use more throttle, and not until then. It's a bit perplexing
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      03-04-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve-p View Post
The battery charge doesn't just come from regenerative braking - it actually charges the battery anyway using the engine if it's running. For example, when starting from cold with the battery depleted (from the end of the previous journey), the battery is fully charged within about five minutes or so. This doesn't seem particularly efficient, although it's how trains work so maybe it's better than it sounds

Electric power does make quite a difference to journey MPG. On my commute to work, which is four miles urban and then eight miles fast rural roads, it does 28-30 MPG (adjusted from indicated figure). Because the engine is cold, it's using petrol for nearly all of the urban part, and after that I'm doing 60-70 anyway. On the way home though, battery power is sufficient for nearly all of the four miles urban at the end, giving 35-37 MPG for the journey. I guess what the hybrid part does is introduce a much greater variability to the MPG for any given journey. If I lived half a mile closer to work my MPG for the homeward journey would exceed 40.

Economy aside (as I was expecting about 30 anyway despite the grand claims), my other beefs are with the 8 speed auto. In comfort mode, cruising behind someone at 50, flooring the accelerator to overtake does not do what I would expect. There's a delay of maybe a second before anything at all happens. Then it drops down some gears, then some more. It's maybe 1.5-2 seconds before you get full acceleration, which doesn't seem right to me? It's not really conducive to safe overtaking. Then there's Sport mode, which doesn't do it for me either. Why, with an 8 speed box, would you ever want it to be doing 2500 RPM at 30 on almost no throttle at all in town? Why not do what AMG/Jaguar etc do, which is still be doing 1250 RPM, but downshift as soon as you use more throttle, and not until then. It's a bit perplexing
Interesting comments.

The problem with charging the battery from the engine as you drive, it is still using energy from the petrol. Give or take a bit of loss for energy conversion, there can't be much gain if any from that part. It is the regeneration side, where you recover wasted energy and convert back to useful battery power.

So it costs you in the morning to charge the battery, for the boost on the way back home.

Don't understand the gearbox behaviour, whether it is something to do with the hybrid software I've no idea, but my 535i is alive in normal and comfort mode, no delays in getting going from any speed. But I don't have the latest eco-pro mode, so you will be running different software anyway.

Incidentally my touring reads about 31mpg after two way trips of 12 miles each from cold. Conditions are quite easy, and about 8 miles in each leg is cruising at 60mph.

Mine just potters around at about 1,100rpm at 30mph.

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      03-11-2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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Fuel Efficiency

I have recently done two 200 mile return journeys to Birmingham from London. The journey computer has shown a maximum of 38.5mpg for a non-stop late evening trip at average speed of 70 mph. I cannot get any closer to 44 mpg. This was with careful, economic driving in ECO PRO mode using the eco route on the sat nav. So I followed all the rules to squeeze the maximum out of it.

The acceleration lag is also a tad annoying. When I need to accelerate quickly, I now tap the mode selector up twice. It accelerates better, but I still take the time to press a button. I have also tried using the paddle shift. This puts it in sports mode straight away, but I feel that the car jerks a bit when it drops a gear before accelerating.

In sports mode it is awesome though. I generally drive without extra passengers, so the extra weight shouldn't make a great difference in handling.

The "modes" on the Active Hybrid only tweak the gear box, not the suspension, so corners and still a bit bouncy.
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      03-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #11
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I have recently done two 200 mile return journeys to Birmingham from London. The journey computer has shown a maximum of 38.5mpg for a non-stop late evening trip at average speed of 70 mph. I cannot get any closer to 44 mpg. This was with careful, economic driving in ECO PRO mode using the eco route on the sat nav. So I followed all the rules to squeeze the maximum out of it.

The acceleration lag is also a tad annoying. When I need to accelerate quickly, I now tap the mode selector up twice. It accelerates better, but I still take the time to press a button. I have also tried using the paddle shift. This puts it in sports mode straight away, but I feel that the car jerks a bit when it drops a gear before accelerating.

In sports mode it is awesome though. I generally drive without extra passengers, so the extra weight shouldn't make a great difference in handling.

The "modes" on the Active Hybrid only tweak the gear box, not the suspension, so corners and still a bit bouncy.
I'd say 38.5mpg is a very good figure, if it is near to the actual figure. The only way I believe you will get near to 44mpg is slow down and drive less than 60mph.

When you say using the paddles put you in sport, is the Hybrid different to standard F10 models? As if you do it, in say comfort mode, it should revert back to D after a few seconds, if you don't touch the paddles after a couple of changes.

I gather your Hybrid hasn't any active suspension options, but steering should still weight/firm up a bit if you have the 'chassis' option in iDrive and you check it.

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      04-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #12
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This is my best journey so far which was 4 miles urban with fairly heavy traffic. Not too bad
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