BMW 3 Series

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BMW ActiveHybrid 3

Road Test

BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid driven

Driven October 2012

Additional Info

If you've unlimited patience and a paralysed right ankle, it's possible to get some excellent consumption from this car. But you won't, so don't kid yourself.

This hybrid system is being rolled out across the 3, 5 and 7-Series. It features the 335i's 306bhp turbo petrol and 8spd 'box, plus an electric motor handing out even more torque. It goes like some notional 337i.

It's smooth and quiet in town. You run on silent e-power alone for some of the crawliest urban crawl, and even when the petrol engine does start it's far quieter than a diesel. When you do get moving, the transmission lets the engine work its best. In Sport, it reads your mind far more effectively than the hesitation-prone Porsche hybrids, but when I was enjoying the car I got 20mpg. In Eco-Pro, it makes the accelerator pedal so flaccid that you don't notice any hesitation because the world's ambling along so gently anyway.

It's a stupendously expensive (+£5,700 versus a 335i) way to improve economy and CO2 in the tests. Hybrids used to be a way to make people love you. But this is a tax dodge, and, these days, people hate you for that.

Paul Horrell

The numbers
2979cc, 6cyl plus e-motor, RWD, 340bhp, 47.9mpg, 139g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 5.3secs, 155mph, 1730kg

The verdict
A well-integrated powertrain makes a car that's fast but seldom economical. Not worth the expense.

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