BMW could be accused of slightly gratuitous badging on the exterior of the ActiveHybrid 5, but there’s surprisingly little inside to remind you of what you’re driving. Aside from ‘ActiveHybrid’ kickplates on the sills and a badge on the cupholder, this is a familiar 5 Series cabin. Which makes it a very agreeable place to be.
Standard specification is quite generous; you get heated Dakota leather, BMW’s Professional multimedia sat-nav system and a 10.2in full-colour display screen thrown in, for example. Material quality and fit and finish are very good, too. Better still, the inclusion of the hybrid gubbins under the skin hasn’t compromised passenger space or ergonomic success.
While that lithium ion battery pack eats up a little usable boot length and prevents the rear seats from folding, its impact seems entirely acceptable given how much boot space you lose in a Lexus LS600h, for example. There’s plenty of room here for large cases, golf clubs and bulky cargo.
The car’s ‘black panel’ instruments are standard 5 Series fare, with one exception: directly beneath the revcounter, where you’d normally find a petrol range indicator, there’s a battery condition indicator.
If you want to know whether the electrical propulsion system is charging, discharging or inactive at any given time, however, the ‘Hybrid’ mode on the car’s centrally mounted control display is of more use.