The latest 5-series update was more than just a tweaking of the car’s sheetmetal and powertrains. BMW has introduced a regenerative braking system, for the first ever on a non-hybrid vehicle, for its update of the 5-series saloon. Unlike petrol-electric hybrids, BMW’s system is used to re-charge the battery thanks to a special alternator that helps to reduce emissions and fuel consumption levels

Labelled Brake Energy Regeneration, the technology is part of BMW’s wider effort to increase performance of its vehicles in an efficient manner. In addition to the intelligent alternator, the system also includes a high-capacity, fast charge battery that can be fully charged under braking.

The system will eventually make its way across more models over the next 12 months, and will be joined by even more efficient advances down the track. Some of these include low-rolling resistance tyres, start-stop systems that switch the engine off when the car is stationary in traffic, electrically powered air-conditioning and engine cooling systems as well as electric power-steering.