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BMW South Africa’s going-green effort has been enhanced with the addition of two new hybrid models in the 3 Series and 7 Series ranges.
Like the ActiveHybrid 5, the ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 7 employ petrol-electric drivetrains offering reduced fuel consumption and emissions. But, as in the hybrid 5 Series, these savings come at a price.
Employing the same petrol-electric combo as the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, the ActiveHybrid 3 uses BMW’s familiar TwinPower Turbo three-litre 225kW engine (the same used in the 335i) coupled with an electric motor, lithium-ion battery and an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends combined power of 250kW and 450Nm to the rear wheels.
Charging of the high-performance battery primarily takes place during coasting or braking, the electric motor performing the role of a generator, feeding energy into the high-voltage battery. However, under acceleration the electric motor takes on a power-boost function.
The ActiveHybrid 3, which sells for R625 000, sips fuel like a small hatchback (at a claimed 5.9 litres per 100km with low emissions of 139g/km of C02) but goes like a sports sedan with its brisk 0-100km/h time of 5.3 seconds. This compares with 5.5 seconds, 7.2 litres per 100km and 169g/km for the 335i, which sells for R80 000 less.
The car stands out visually, with door sill strips bearing “ActiveHybrid 3” lettering, an aluminium plate on the gearshift lever knob with the same ID, and a bespoke engine cover. In addition, all three Sport, Modern and Luxury lines as well as the M Sport package are available for the ActiveHybrid 3.
The hybrid 7 Series is based on the 740i and uses the same 235kW/450Nm 3 litre TwinPower petrol engine, but coupled with an electric motor the maximum outputs are boosted to 260kW and 500Nm. Quoted figures for the ActiveHybrid 7 are 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds, 158g/km and 6.8 litres per 100km, which is quite remarkable considering this limo’s size. The ActiveHybrid 7 retails for R1 037 749, around R57 000 more than the 740i. All BMW’s hybrid models employ fuel-saving start-stop and brake energy regeneration functions. - Star Motoring