It's no secret that BMW is preparing a hybrid version of its latest generation [F10] 5-Series sedan as the Bavarian automaker teased the model at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid study. And even though the prototype model seen in our latest spy pictures carries the 535i badge, the "Hybrid Test Vehicle" label on the boot pretty much explains everything.
Being a test mule, the prototype doesn't feature any of the (few) unique styling cues of the concept model, such as the LED strips, different front apron and special alloy wheels, but we assume these details will make it into the production car.
Underneath the body work, we expect to see a similar setup to the concept vehicle, which made use of BMW's straight-six gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology (same as the one found in the 535i), an eight-speed automatic transmission, and an electric drive capable of delivering up to 54HP (40kW). Given that the 3.0-liter turbo is rated in the U.S. at 300 hp, the combined system output should be around the 340 hp mark.
According to BMW, the hybrid powertrain reduces both fuel consumption and emissions by more than 10 per cent over the conventional version, while it also allows all-electric, zero-emission motoring at low speeds.
The production version of the 5-Series Hybrid could be introduced at a major international car show as early as next year with sales most likely to follow in 2012.