In autumn 2012 a sensational new model will join the BMW 3 Series. In the new ActiveHybrid 3 – the world’s first hybrid at the premium end of the sports sedan class – the innovative BMW ActiveHybrid powertrain technology and the sporty personality of the BMW 3 Series meet and merge with highly dynamic and efficient results. The combination of the 6-cylinder engine and electric drive produce unrivalled driving enjoyment, combined with even better fuel consumption and emissions figures, and further intensify the sporty yet fuel-efficient driving experience that lies at the heart of the new BMW 3 Series. The gains in both performance and efficiency are a textbook example of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy in action. Following the BMW ActiveHybrid 7, BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and BMW ActiveHybrid 5, the new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the fourth production model in which a model-specific intelligent combination of internal combustion engine and electric drive provides extra performance while at the same time significantly slashing fuel consumption and emissions. In the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, ActiveHybrid technology has for the first time been integrated into the vehicle architecture right from the start. Amongst other things, this meant that a lot of space was saved.
The powertrain of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is closely tailored to the sporty personality of the new BMW 3 Series. It features the 225 kW/ 300 hp inline 6-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology (N55) and a hybrid-specific eight-speed automatic transmission with integrated electric motor which for limited periods can increase power by up to 40 kW/ 55 hp. Maximum combined output is 250 kW/ 335 hp, with a maximum combined torque of 330 lb-ft. This high-powered, high-performance combination nevertheless returns extremely low fuel consumption. Average consumption in the EU test cycle is less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers (36.7 mpg). That means the ActiveHybrid technology in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 offers fuel savings of more than 12.5 percent compared with equally powerful conventionally driven BMW sports sedans.
The electric motor supplies the 6-cylinder engine with supplementary driving power and can provide a boost function when extra-dynamic performance is required. This adds a further edge to the driving experience in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. BMW ActiveHybrid technology also allows the vehicle to run solely on electric power. In this zero-emission, virtually soundless driving mode, the vehicle can cover a distance of between 2 to 2.5 miles (around three to four kilometers). Top speeds in all-electric mode range from 37 mph (60 km/h) under load to 100 mph (160 km/h) on overrun (coasting). When the driver applies more throttle, the internal combustion engine is engaged automatically, then disengaged on overrun. During overrun and braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is used to charge the battery. This is the same principle as the Brake Energy Regeneration function on the regular models, although on the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 the amount of energy recuperated by the electric motor is many times greater.
Efficient and seamless integration between the internal combustion engine and electric motor is ensured by the central power electronics, which provide intelligent, proactive energy management to further improve overall system efficiency. In terms of utility and interior adaptability, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 shows no significant differences from the other models in the series, since its high-voltage battery is integrated under the floor of the trunk. With trunk space of 390 liters (DIN) and unrestricted through-loading functionality, there are no concessions on the car’s high standards of comfort and convenience. Drivability too is on a par with that of a BMW 335i.