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But it can run oon elec­tric power only up to a speed of 75km/h. With a full charge and ke­keep­ing to a speed of 35km/3 h, it has a range ofo up to 4km, which is not very far.fa

THE STATS

The bat­tery pack and other hy­brid com­po­nents add 135kg to the weight and boot space is re­duced by 90 litres, but the split-fold rear seat re­mains.

The car ac­cel­er­ates from 0-100km/h in 5.3 sec­onds and fuel con­sump­tion is 5.9 litres/100km, down from 7.2 litres/100km.

THE COM­PE­TI­TION

THE DRIVE

No slouch: BMW’s Ac­tiveHy­brid 3 does 0-100km/h in 5.3 sec­onds.

To re­duce fuel con­sump­tion the sys­tem shuts down at traf­fic lights as well as when brak­ing or cruis­ing up to a speed of 160km/h.

The Lexus GS450h and soon-to-be-launched In­finiti M35h spring to mind as ri­vals. Nei­ther are slouches ei­ther, but Beemer has the edge with 0-100km/h tak­ing 5.3 sec­onds. The Lexus and In­finiti do it in 5.5.

Make no mis­take, this car is first and fore­most a 335i, with twin tur­bos and plenty of mumbo. Punch the ac­cel­er­a­tor and it takes off. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is stri­dent, the engine note im­pres­sive and it’s an ex­cit­ing car to drive. The Hy­brid is all this and more. To make the most of the hy­brid sys­tem you must first put the car into Eco Pro mode, one of sev­eral drive modes avail­able. In this mode the car makes more fre­quent use of full elec­tric mode for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. The rev counter arearea (pic­tured) in­in­cludes dis­plays show­ing the amount of boost be­ing pro­vided by ththe elec­tric mo­tor, as well as en­ergy flow aand en­ergy re­cap­tured dur­ing brak­ing. Driv­ing in Eco Pro mode in Ger­many re­cently we felt the engine turn off fre­quently at traf­fic lights, as well as when lift­ing off the ac­cel­er­a­tor or just driv­ing slowly with a light ap­pli­ca­tion of the throt­tle.

The re­sult af­ter about 120km of driv­ing was 8.2 litres/100km, not out­stand­ing but we weren’t re­ally try­ing. Oth­ers got in the low 6s.

Eco Pro is de­signed to work in tan­dem with the car’s satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, look­ing ahead to see where it can de­ac­ti­vate the petrol engine to save fuel.

VER­DICT

Civic duty or de­vi­ous mar­ket­ing ploy? It’s an in­trigu­ing way to en­tice peo­ple to buy and drive more hy­brids, in ef­fect giv­ing them a 335i but with a top up in per­for­mance.

The twin turbo 335i has an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion as a driver’s car. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what the pub­lic makes of this one.

The Ac­tiveHy­brid 3 joins the Ac­tiveHy­brid 5 here in Oc­to­ber. The price is expected to be less than $100,000.

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