Next month's Shanghai Motor Show will host the debut of a new BMW: the 5-Series "New Energy Vehicle," a plug-in hybrid that BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer is "from China for China."
Early word of the New Energy Vehicle first emerged from unofficial channels in January, but Reithofer confirmed the car in a speech this week. We don't expect the car, built around the long-wheelbase version of the 5-Series, and featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain, to be sold in the U.S., but a variant of the technology might be. We've already spotted the ActiveHybrid 5 in testing, and BMW has plans for a hybrid 3-Series as well, so it's likely that all of these cars will be related in technology, if not in name.
Reithofer was otherwise cryptic about the New Energy Vehicle, adding only a corporate-speak line that it will "benefit from the strength and excellent reputation of the BMW brand."
With the New York Auto Show set to kick off around the same time as the Shanghai show (they actually overlap) there's a chance we'll see the production 5-Series ActiveHybrid we expected at Geneva at the same time the Chinese get their New Energy Vehicle.
The ActiveHybrid 5 Concept (pictured) was first shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, equipped with a six-cylinder gasoline engine and a mild hybrid solution aiming for 10 percent reductions in fuel consumption and emissions.