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BMW Brilliance 5-series New Energy Vehicle (2011) first picture

Published: 07 April 2011

BMW has presented the first official picture of its BMW Brilliance 5-series New Energy Vehicle, a hybrid long-wheelbase 5-series which will debut at the 2011 Shanghai motor show.

BMW's brilliant New Energy Vehicle? How do you know? BMW bias!

No, BMW Brilliance 5-series New Energy Vehicle. BMW Brilliance Automotive is the manufacturing joint venture between BMW and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings. BMW Brilliance produce cars for the China market at its plant in Shenyang. Hence the long-wheelbase 5-series bodystyle, popular in China for owners who want the 'ultimate driving machine', but prefer to be driven. 

BMW Brilliance 5-series New Energy Vehicle - the lowdown

5-series familiar from the outside, the big news with this prototype is the plug-in hybrid powertrain. There's a 215bhp turbocharged straight-six petrol engine coupled with a 70kW electric motor. It's a parallel hybrid drivetrain, allowing for pure EV driving as well as petrol-electric propulsion. In electric mode BMW claim the New Energy Vehicle can cruise at 37mph, for a range of 43 miles. Significantly better than BMW's current X6 and 7-series ActiveHybrid models, which can manage a maximum of 1.6 miles in the X6.

When the petrol engine is doing the work with hybrid support, the minimum additional range is claimed as 249 miles. BMW says these stats fit the driving profile of Chinese buyers in the premium segment.

The hybrid's battery pack is mounted in the boot, and can be recharged via mains power. More details on the battery pack and charging are expected when the car is unveiled in Shanghai.

BMW 5-series New Energy Vehicle - the latest BMW electric project in China.

BMW has previous form with EVs in China. Working with Tongji University in Shanghai, BMW produced a pure EV 5-series research vehicle for the 2010 Beijing motor show. This year, BMW's Project I team also bought their Mini E trial programme to China, with owners trialling the two-seat electric Minis in Shenzhen and Beijing. BMW have also extended field trials of its ActiveE electric 1-series coupe prototype to China. Collaborative research is being supported by energy providers in Shenzhen and Beijing, as well as the China Automotive Technology and Research Corporation (CATARC).

It looks like a production car - when will we see the 5-series hybrid in showrooms?

BMW Brilliance Automotive plans to further develop the hybrid drive and offer the car for sale in China in 2013.