The 2013 model year brings the launch of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, a hybrid version of the 3 Series sedan. The five-seat sedan can operate at speeds up to 47 mph on electric power alone. It also retains performance qualities that BMW is known for, with acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, according to the automaker. Competitors include the Infiniti M35h and Lexus GS 450h hybrids. It hits dealerships in fall 2012.
Subtle styling cues differentiate the ActiveHybrid 3 from the regular 3 Series. There are logos on the rear roof pillars, adaptive xenon headlights, galvanized slats in the twin-kidney grille and matte chrome tailpipes. The sedan comes with standard 18-inch alloy wheels. InteriorDifferences in the cabin are similarly minimal. The ActiveHybrid 3 features a standard 8.8-inch iDrive screen with a navigation system. Most options from the regular 3 Series sedan carry over to the ActiveHybrid 3. Some of those options include heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display and a premium stereo.
Under the Hood
The ActiveHybrid 3's hybrid drivetrain consists of a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission with an integrated electric motor that makes 55 hp and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 335 hp and 330 pounds-feet of torque. The battery is located between the rear wheel arches in the trunk, resulting in a little less cargo space than the regular 3 Series. The rear-seat does continue to have standard split-folding.
A unique feature of the hybrid powertrain is that when it's in pure Eco Pro (electric only) mode, the car can be driven for up to 2.5 miles at speeds up to 47 mph. The electric motor can provide a power boost when accelerating, and the gas engine can shut down when coasting at speeds up to 100 mph. Also standard is stop/start fuel-saving technology, which automatically shuts the engine off at stop lights, restarting when needed.
The hybrid's Driving Experience Control includes an Eco Pro mode in addition to Comfort and Sport modes. Eco Pro promotes fuel efficiency by increasing the time spent in the car's all-electric mode.
Safety features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags, knee airbags and side curtain airbags. Optional features include parking sensors, parallel parking assist, a backup camera, the Surround View system, adaptive headlights, speed limit information, a lane departure warning system and night vision with pedestrian detection.