2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 – The Road to Berchtesgaden and Steyr

By Christian Stampfer on 2 June 2013
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Delivery at the BMW Welt

Delivery at the BMW Welt

Over the past few years, the Bavarian and Austrian Alps became popular destinations for our editors and our short- and long-term test cars. Berchtesgaden, located in the south-eastern corner of the Bavarian Alps and home to a population of 7,800, is one of the better known locales. The Austrian city of Salzburg is just around the corner and the marvelous mountain panorama makes Berchtesgaden the perfect place to visit. The highlight for car enthusiasts is the Roßfeld-Höhenringstraße, a 16-kilometer long alpine road with an altitude of 1,560 m (5,118 feet) and breathtaking views of the mountain tops

Slightly different but no less exciting is the third-largest city in Upper Austria, Steyr. In the imperial era of the Habsburg monarchy, the city of Steyr and the entire region, with its large iron deposits, were the leading suppliers of weapons. Today, the city is home to more than 38,000 inhabitantsIMG_8011 and the BMW Motoren Werke GmbH, one of the biggest employers in the region, manufactures diesel and petrol engines in Steyr.

For our drive to Berchtesgaden and Steyr, TDD Editor Jonathan Spira and I drove a Liquid Blue Metallic ActiveHybrid 5 that was delivered to us at the BMW Welt as part of BMW’s European Delivery program. The initial plan had been to take delivery of The Diesel Driver´s new long-term test car, a 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 in Azurite Black Metallic, but due to a severe hailstorm in Dingolfing, where the ActiveHybrid 5 was manufactured, the delivery had to be delayed by several days.


Our first drive with the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 took us to Berchtesgaden, roughly 180 km (112 miles) from Munich. It was a grey and rainy Thursday morning as we left the BMW Welt and entered city traffic in Munich. IMG_7709We opted for the easiest and fastest route to Berchtesgaden by first proceeding via the B2R, a ring-road that encircles Munich and is also called the “Mittlerer Ring,” and then continuing via the Innsbrucker Ring to the beginning of the Autobahn A8.  Our destination was the InterContinental Berchtesgaden Resort.

As we drove the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 in city traffic, we promptly noticed its ability to save fuel in every type of driving. Since the Hybrid is able to drive up to 60 km/h (37 mph) in its all-electric mode, it fits perfectly into the stop-and-go traffic found in larger cities. The only showstopper for the electric drive is the driver’s lead foot. Push the gas pedal too hard and the ActiveHybrid 5 immediately turns on the TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder petrol engine and delivers the requested power. To help the driver stay in electric drive mode, BMW added the eDrive information display below the tachometer. Four stages appear in a blue color and inform the driver of his demands on the powerplant.

Once on the Autobahn, however, we did not really need this feature. IMG_7960 What we did welcome was the additional power boost of the electric drive system of 55 hp (40 kW), especially when overtaking slower vehicles. It took one hour and 40 minutes of driving to reach the Austrian border at Piding, where the A8 turns into the Austrian Autobahn A1.

Shortly after we entered Austria, we changed onto the A10 and left the Autobahn at the next exit near Grödig. From there on, we followed the Austrian federal highway B160 and the German B305 to Berchtesgaden.  On the last stretch of our journey we drove up the winding B319, also called Salzbergstraße, a road last driven by us in our first long-term test car, a 2010 BMW 335d, back in 2009.

We covered a distance of 167 km (103 miles) in two hours and saw fuel usage of 10.8 l/100 km (23.5 mpg) with an average speed of 90.8 km/h (56 mph).

Click here to continue to Page 2The Road to Steyr and Virtual Drives

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