BMW would have been an odds-on bet to bring the market its first genuinely sporting hybrid saloon. And to drive the ActiveHybrid 5 is to be reassured that at-the-wheel entertainment is a major part of Munich’s plan for the hybridisation of its model ranges. For that, the applause must come long and loud.
However, diesel-dominated Britain has proved a tricky market for cars such as this.
Despite its performance appeal, the ActiveHybrid 5 isn’t nearly economical enough to make you want to give up a fast diesel saloon.
You could forgive a deficit of a few miles per gallon in return for the verve of its petrol engine, but mid-20s – when a 535d would be in the high 30s – just isn’t tolerable.
Throughout the wider world, there may well be a bigger future for this car, but BMW will need a more economical take on the hybrid to make most British buyers sit up and take notice.