The latest generation of the BMW 3 Series Sedan
boasts excellent fuel economy, especially the 328i and Canada-exclusive 320i with their turbo 4-cylinder engines. However, the German brand isn’t stopping there, and will introduce the 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 this fall.
Crowning the 3 Series Sedan
lineup, the ActiveHybrid 3 will be the most powerful version of the bunch, and the thriftiest around town. Its combined fuel economy rating of 7.lL/100km matches that of the base, 181-hp 320i. It will also be the most expensive 3 Series Bimmer shy of an M3 with an MSRP of $58,300.
Turbo six meets electric motor
The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 relies on the 335i’s N55 engine, a single-turbo 3.0L inline-6 that punches out 300 hp. The electric motor produces 55 hp and 155 lb-ft of instant torque; together, they deliver a combined output of 335 hp and 330 lb-ft through the rear wheels. An 8-speed automatic transmission with wheel-mounted paddle shifters manages the whole shebang.
A lithium-ion battery pack is located in the trunk, reducing its capacity from 480 litres to 390. The battery allows the ActiveHybrid 3 to run on electric power alone at speeds up to 75 km/h, or up to four kilometres at a constant speed of 35 km/h.
The hybrid system adds about 225 lbs to the weight of the car, which offsets the increased output. As such, the ActiveHybrid 3 hits 100 km/h in a claimed 5.5 seconds, a tick slower than the rear-drive 335i automatic.
Fuel economy gain, if only around town
Since all 3 Series Sedan models get fuel-saving tricks such as automatic start/stop, brake energy regeneration and an ECO PRO drive mode, the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will have a hard time impressing the new-car shopper with its official fuel economy ratings.
Both the 335i and the ActiveHybrid 3 consume 5.9L/100km on the highway; however, the hybrid model is more efficient around town with an 8.0L/100km rating versus the automatic 335i’s 9.1. As for the slower 320i, it’s rated at 8.6/5.2 city/highway.
Same feature content as 335i
While hybrids usually offer more equipment to soften the blow of the higher price, the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 gets the same feature content as the 335i. That includes, among others, a heated steering wheel, a 40/20/40 split folding rear seat, front sport seats, adaptive headlights, auto-adjusting high beams, a power sunroof, Dakota leather upholstery, heated front seats and a nine-speaker sound system with USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.
And just like the 328i and 335i, you can also choose between three trim lines: Modern, Luxury and Sport, which each boast their own colour and finish combinations. Premium and M Sport packages are also available, as well as plenty of standalone options.
Fast, efficient and probably rare, the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 promises reduced fuel consumption around town. At more than $58K, however, that comes at a price.
|Crowning the 3 Series Sedan lineup, the ActiveHybrid 3 will be the most powerful version of the bunch, and the thriftiest around town.(Photo: BMW)