BMW 3-Series Hybrid Comes With -- A Turbo 6?
The 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 is bound to be serious fun to drive, but why no turbo 4 instead?
Again, it appears the Germans still don't understand hybrids, or the market to which one must appeal in order to sell more than a few hundred of them a year. (Not coincidentally, that's how many of the discontinued ActiveHybrid X6 moved off dealer lots). Or perhaps, because the 4-cylinder was downgraded by the Environmental Protection Agency in March -- it's now rated at the same 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway as the six -- our concerns simply won't matter.
Whatever the reasons, the first hybrid 3 Series promises lots of technology and fast fun: 335 total horsepower, driveshaft decoupling that lets the car coast at up to 100 mph with the engine shut off, and up to 2.5 miles and 45 mph on electric power alone. An enhanced "Eco Pro" mode further optimizes the powertrain and 8-speed automatic transmission for more all-electric driving.
A very interesting feature is BMW's plan to link the powertrain computers to the optional navigation system, whereby changes in elevation, traffic, speed limits and other road conditions will allow the car to predict when it should spend more time charging the lithium-ion battery -- or simply let the juice out. There's no doubt this car promises to be quick -- diesel-quick even, thanks to the electric motor's torque -- like the short-lived 2009 335d.
But what's the point of dropping a larger engine in a hybrid? The regular 328i has been so praised that customers are already forgetting the car doesn't come with a six. BMW hasn't released any mileage estimates, but we can't help but wonder how much more efficient this car could be if paired to the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder of the base car.
Price: $50,195 with destination.
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