Go­ing like a rocket

A 3-se­ries BMW hy­brid is both green and pow­er­ful, writes Peter Barn­well

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

WE turn the spot­light on the car world’s new­est and bright­est stars as we ask the ques­tions to which you want the an­swers.

What is it?

This is the 3-Se­ries BMW hy­brid for want of a bet­ter term. This car is a high-per­for­mance sedan of­fer­ing su­per fuel econ­omy. It’s also crammed with lux­ury kit. Shop it against the 335i – you will be really sur­prised.

How much?

Goes for $97,700 but there are plenty of op­tions to hike that as well as four op­tion packs, Sportline, Mod­ern, Lux­ury andMS­port.

What are com­peti­tors?

Not many really. Benz has some BlueEfficiency models but none goes as far as the Bim­mer Ac­tiveHy­brid. Same from Audi, though they do have some fuel-econ­omy kings.

What’s un­der the bon­net?

There’s a 3.0-litre turbo straight six petrol en­gine mated to a 40kW elec­tric boost en­gine lo­cated be­tween the eight-speed auto trans­mis­sion and the en­gine proper. Drive still goes to the rear wheels. A lithium ion bat­tery ab­sorbs re­gen­er­a­tive elec­tric en­ergy har­vested when brak­ing or de­cel­er­at­ing.

The com­bined out­put of elec­tric and petrol en­gines is 250kW/450Nm.

How does it go?

Like a rocket. Puts away a 0-100km/h sprint in a tidy 5.3 sec­onds of­fer­ing strong ac­cel­er­a­tion at all speeds merely by push­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor.

Han­dling is sharp too.

Is it eco­nom­i­cal?

Sur­pris­ingly so, rated at 5.9-litres/ 100km. It’s sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the petrol-only 335i and we reckon you could do bet­ter.

Is it green?

Yes, min­imises car­bon pro­duc­tion due to low fuel con­sump­tion.

Is it safe?

High fives. But many driver as­sis­tance features are op­tional.

Is it com­fort­able?

Yes, leather sports seats, heads up dis­play, drive ex­pe­ri­ence con­trol with Eco-Pro, Com­fort and Sport modes, elec­tronic diff lock, elec­tric power steer­ing, rain and dusk sen­sors, cruise con­trol with brak­ing, pre­mium au­dio and much more.

What’s it like to drive?

Su­per im­pres­sive. Of­fers per­for­mance on par with the 335i with the econ­omy of the 320 four banger. Has ex­cel­lent dy­nam­ics, pow­er­ful brakes, great en­gine sound.

Is it value for money?

At just un­der 100k, good value against pos­si­ble com­peti­tors. A tech­nol­ogy show­piece.

Would we buy one?

In a flash.

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