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Car and Driver: Details Emerge on Next-Generation BMW 5-series Plug-In Hybrid

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In somewhat unsurprising news, we have learned that BMW will continue to expand its lineup of plug-in hybrids to include the next-generation 5-series sedan. While the current model is available with a hybrid powertrain centered around the company’s inline six-cylinder engine, the next one will team its electric components with a four-cylinder engine and a large battery back that allows for at least 30 miles of range.

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It’s the same system that BMW currently offers in the X5 xDrive40e, where it makes 308 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. The hybridized version of the next-generation 5 could even be offered with two power levels of the same basic powertrain, as the familiar four-banger and the electric motor offer enough scalability to allow for a noticeable power gap between different versions.

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A less likely scenario would see a version of the 5-series hybrid that’s fitted with a three-cylinder as its internal-combustion engine, as seen in the i8 sports car. And our sources have virtually ruled out another six-cylinder hybrid. The hybridized four is quiet and powerful, and it delivers inherent fuel-efficiency benefits that the six simply can’t.

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The next 5-series won’t hit the market before 2017, and the hybridized derivatives—which will compete with offerings from Audi, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz—may take even longer. So there is plenty of time for BMW to fine-tune its lineup. Looking forward, we are curious whether BMW’s hybrid strategy will eventually include diesel-electrics, to achieve even greater efficiency. And we wonder when we will see the first hybrid from BMW’s high-performance M division—that can’t be very far off at all.

-YAbs-0ImIUY

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