BMW introduces new 340-hp ActiveHybrid 3

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Though today's gasoline-powered automobiles are less polluting and more efficient than before, gasoline-electric hybrids still garner popularity. That's because hybrids are significantly more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts, while maintaining similar levels of power output and responsiveness.

Like the 5 Series and 7 Series, BMW has now made a hybrid version of its 3 Series sedan called the ActiveHybrid 3. It uses the same 3.0-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder engine as the gasoline-powered BMW 335i sedan, but the hybrid integrates a 55 horsepower electric motor as well. The engine comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that routes torque to the rear wheels, while power for the ActiveHybrid 3's electric motor is supplied by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery located under the luggage area.

Total system output for the gasoline-electric hybrid is rated at 340 horsepower and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is claimed to be 5.3 seconds. These performance numbers compare well with the 300-horsepower and 5.4-second zero to 100-km/h acceleration time afforded by the 335i, yet the ActiveHybrid 3 boasts a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy.

In comparison to its gasoline-powered counterpart, the ActiveHybrid 3's combined city/highway fuel economy is rated at 5.9 litres/100 km, while the 335i manages 8.1 litres/100 km. Additionally, the ActiveHybrid 3 achieves an emissions rating of 139 g CO2/km in the EU (European Union) test cycle.

Like other full hybrids, the ActiveHybrid 3 can operate in all-electric mode and does so at speeds of up to 75 km/h and for a total driving range of four kilometres. The gasoline engine is also switched off at coasting speeds of up to 160 km/h while the ActiveHybrid 3 is in its ECO PRO setting. While coasting, the vehicle's electric motor acts as a generator to feed energy into the high-voltage battery. However, when the vehicle is undergoing hard acceleration, the electric motor takes on a boost function to provide the hybrid with extra thrust.

Like other hybrids that have come before, BMW's ActiveHybrid 3 features a start-stop function that shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. The engine restarts when the brake pedal is lifted.

The ActiveHybrid 3 can be outfitted in 18-inch Streamline light-alloy wheels that display "... exceptional aerodynamic efficiency," says BMW in a press release.

The new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will be built in Munich, Germany alongside other 3 Series models. Once the ActiveHybrid 3 makes its market introduction, it will extend the appeal of the 3 Series, a vehicle that has long been regarded as the benchmark in the compact premium class.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hybrid, HEV, Sport Sedan, BMW, 2013, ActiveHybrid 3, $40,000 - $49,999, $50,000 - $74,999,

Organizations: BMW

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