Currently reading: BMW range expands with three new plug-in hybrids
New hybrid variants of the 2 Series, 3 Series and 7 Series will go on sale in the UK early next year

Three new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid BMW models will launch in the next year, as the 225xe, 330e and 740e join the X5 xDrive40e and sleek i8 to provide BMW with a five-strong range of plug-in hybrids.

The 225xe Active Tourer draws on the plug-in hybrid technology developed for the i8 sports car to offer the choice between front, rear or four-wheel drive, depending on the driving conditions.

A 134bhp front-mounted turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The combustion engine is supported by an 88bhp electric motor mounted within the rear axle, driving the rear wheels via a fixed-ratio gearbox.

The 225xe can travel up to 25 miles on electric power alone. At a constant cruise over longer distances, it is programmed to run in front-wheel drive, with power provided exclusively by the petrol engine at speeds of up to 126mph in order to preserve the energy reserves of its 7.7kWh lithium ion battery.

Under acceleration, the combustion and electric motor pool their resources to provide a combined system output of 221bhp and 284lb ft, as well as four-wheel drive, in hybrid mode. A 0-62mph time of 6.7sec is claimed, along with CO2 emissions of 46g/km and fuel consumption of up to 141.2mpg. The 225xe is priced at £35,005, and will go on sale next March.

Further along the model line-up, the larger rear-wheel drive 330e saloon relies on a detuned version of the plug-in petrol-electric driveline used by the X5 xDrive40e. It uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor mounted within the gearbox to provide combined outputs of 248bhp and 310lb ft along with 148.7mpg claimed combined economy and 44g/km of CO2 emissions. The lithium ion battery provides an electric-only range of 25 miles. It is priced from £33,935, with first customer deliveries planned for April 2016.

The flagship of BMW’s new plug-in hybrid line-up is the 740e. Available in standard and long-wheelbase body styles with rear-wheel drive (740e and 740Le) or in long-wheelbase form with four-wheel drive (740Le xDrive), it also draws on the plug-in hybrid system used by the X5 xDrive40e. Claimed figures for the 740e are 321bhp, 369lb ft, 134.5mpg and 49g/km, plus a 25-mile electric-only range. The 7 Series hybrid will go on sale in the summer.

BMW has also said it will introduce more hybrid variants in the coming year.

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spqr 4 September 2015

Petrol Electric Hybrids

From what I can gather on the subject of hybrids it seems that because Diesel engines work better at lower engine revolutions and thus generally lower engine speeds and electric motors also work better and for longer (on battery power) at lower speeds the advantages of the two systems almost cancel each other out. But the car with a diesel/electric hybrid system should *in theory) have good fuel efficiency. Petrol engines are better at higher engine revolutions and higher engine speeds so the petrol motor works in better harmony with the electric motor so at lower speeds the electric motor gives instant acceleration and as the speed increases the petrol engines adds its high rev power to the equation. Of course, as bol says, if manufacturers are only going to give these cars an electric range that is just enough to pass the EU test it is all a bit pointless as the car has to lug about a heavy battery pack and electric motor for the odd occasion it can be used. Unfortunately as battery technology and charging technology runs into the buffer imposed by the laws of thermodynamics it is unlikely that electric battery cars will ever become as convenient to use as an internal combustion (ICE) driven car as it will always take far too long to charge up. Hybrids should therefore fill the gap by having a "quick charge" petrol tank that fuels the engine that can also charge the batteries as you drive. Installing these hybrid power trains in conventional (steel) cars seems to be foolish as the car is already heavy and then you add a very heavy hybrid power train to make it even heavier. I have just made the choice between a BMW 5 ActiveHybrid and a conventional ICE 5 Series and bought the ICE car because the hybrid was far too heavy which affected the steering, handling and economy in the real world. The boot is also very small due to batteries being in the boot space as the car was never designed to be a hybrid. The best idea would be a carbon fibre body shell like the i8 or i3 so the car is very light then the heavy hybrid power train does not have to move an anachronistic heavy ICE design around. It sounds as though BMW are partly on the way to the future though as the new 7 Series does have a partial carbon fibre body shell to go with the hybrid system.
BenC30 4 September 2015


I'd rather have a BMW i3.
bol 4 September 2015


Essentially the minimum electric range they can get away with to meet the emissions target and tax band. Where's your ambition gone BMW?
Gerhard 13 November 2015

Ambition? It is obvious that

Ambition? It is obvious that greater electric range than this requires a much bigger battery -this then impacts on the space, weight and cost of the vehicle. It is important to maintain the usability and familiarity of this vehicle for regular customers, while keeping the price sensible. Furthermore, the idea is to meet the regulations and reduce the corporate fuel economy, not to create a new Tesla automobile.