Grabbing its bit of the green spotlight in Geneva, the new BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid represents the latest evolution of the automaker's gas/electric powertrain technology specifically executed to meet "the requirements made of a dynamic sedan in the upper midrange segment." It also provides a pretty good look at what we can expect to see in a production 5 Series variant at some point in the reasonably near future.

Fine-tuning the approach already in use on the X6 ActiveHybrid and ActiveHybrid 7 Series, the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid pairs the firm's 3.0-liter, inline-six gasoline engine with a 52-horsepower (40 Kw) electric motor/generator positioned between it and the car's eight-speed automatic transmission. While not indicating the specific chemistry used by the car's bespoke battery pack, BMW did say it resides in a special high-strength case near the rear axle to ensure the optimum placement in terms of balance and safety. The system allows the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid to operate in any combination of gas/electric power modes, including pure EV for zero-emission city motoring. It will reportedly reduce the vehicle's average fuel consumption and emissions by more than 10 percent compared to a conventional 5 Series model.

In addition to the computer-controlled automatic clutch that couples/decouples the engine/motor combo, an auto start/stop function and regenerative braking circuitry, the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid employs a variety of more advanced efficiency enhancing tricks that more intelligently manage its overall energy requirements. For openers, the high-voltage battery pack also is used to power all of the elements in the car's on-board network, including its remote-controlled auxiliary climate control system that pre-cools the interior when the car has been parked. Even more intriguing, the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid has the ability to extend its operating range by actually "thinking ahead," using a variety of real-time data inputs from it on-board systems.

The key to the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid's milege-maxing intelligence lies in its ability to evaluate all significant data that might impact overall economy on any given trip. Those parameters include everything from outside temperature and signals from its electronic chassis management and driver-assist systems to actual routing data saved in the car's satellite navigation system. The pertinent information is collected, analyzed and then applied to all individual systems to ensure the optimum use of energy under all driving conditions.

>2010 Geneva Auto Show: 2011 Porsche Cayenne
>2010 Geneva Auto Show: Honda 3R-C Concept

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