Cars > BMW > BMW Activehybrid 3 2013

By Ketan Patel


BMW Activehybrid 3 2013 Review

Fact of the matter is, when it comes to achieving fuel efficiency the market is divided into two camps. The European carmakers – especially German ones – focus more on improved fuel efficiency with diesel engines, whereas the North American and Asian markets feel that hybrids are the answer. Whichever it is, European carmakers decided to take part in the growing hybrid market lately by offering hybrid alternatives to their sedans.

Such is the case with BMW and the BMW Activehybrid 3 2013, the latest Bavarian gas/electrical sedan based on the 3-Series. This particular model is equipped with a 3.0 liter turbocharged engine developing 300 horsepower, mated with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The system used in the 3-series hybrid is the same as the one in the Activehybrid 5 and 7, meaning that the torque convertor in the gearbox has been replaced by an electric motor developing 54 horsepower.

Combined, the electric and gasoline engines deliver 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. That's a 35 horsepower and 32 torque increase when compared to the normal BMW 335i, but considering the fact that the hybrid system adds nearly 300 pounds to the sedan's weight, they both remain pretty much the same in terms of performance. In fact, the Activehybrid 3 is 0.1 seconds slower than the BMW 335i 2013, but to be honest we're more interested in fuel efficiency.

Well, apparently the hybrid is indeed a bit more economical than its gasoline-only siblings, but it's nothing to write home about. It achieves 33 mpg highway and 25 mpg city, whereas the 328i covers 23 / 34 mpg highway and city respectively. Overall, the 3-serieshybrid is clearly no Prius, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it?

Trim levels include the $1,400 Luxury, $1,400 Modern, $1,700 Sport Lines and the $3,200M Sport. Speaking of pricing, the BMW Activehybrid 3 2013 will set you back $50,195 including the $895 destination fee, so it's basically $6,500 more expensive than the BMW 335i 2013. I suppose that extra cash will be recovered in time by driving more economical, at least on paper.

Availability-wise the hybrid is expected to hit the US market this fall. As for Europeans, theActivehybrid 3 is expected to hit dealerships by the end of the month.

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The quintessential sport sedan combines with cutting-edge hybrid technology for a new dimension to The Ultimate Driving Machine TM

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 6, 2012…. The all-new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 brings cutting-edge hybrid technology to the quintessential sport sedan for a new take on The Ultimate Driving Machine TM.  The ActiveHybrid 3 blends BMW’s TwinPower Turbo 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder and
8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with an electric motor powered by a high-voltage battery. Together the inline 6 and electric motor combine for 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 13 percent and 11 percent respectively. In addition to the boost available for the internal combustion engine, the electric motor is capable of powering the ActiveHybrid 3 emissions free for speeds up to 45 mph (70 km/h) for distances up to 2.5 miles (four kilometers). The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will arrive in US showrooms this fall at an MSRP of $50,195 including destination and handling.

Electric motor and eight-speed automatic transmission share the same housing.

BMW expanding the availability of its intelligent hybrid drive technology with its next ActiveHybrid production model. Again, a gasoline engine is combined with an electric motor to enhance both efficiency and the brand’s hallmark driving pleasure.

In the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo in-line six engine is coupled with an electric motor and an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission which sends combined power of 335 hp to the rear wheels. The BMW ActiveHybrid 3’s synchronous electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion high-voltage battery housed under the luggage compartment between the wheel arches. The latest-generation BMW ActiveHybrid technology also adds precisely controlled – and extremely efficient – energy management to the mix.

The result is an extremely well-integrated overall system which convincingly showcases the benefits of BMW ActiveHybrid technology out on the road.

Powerful and efficient: the award-winning BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the second hybrid model from BMW – after the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 – to use an in-line 6-cylinder engine in its powertrain. Also featured in the BMW 335i, this engine develops maximum output of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm and maximum torque of 300 lb-ft between 1,200 and 5,000 rpm. It has gained wide recognition as offering outstanding driving enjoyment and efficiency.

It has already won the international “Engine of the Year” award two years in a row. The six-cylinder powerplant’s BMW TwinPower Turbo technology comprises a twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing. This technology package improves throttle response and revving ability as well as refinement and efficiency, while an aluminum crankcase also optimizes weight.

Electric motor: eager power delivery, compact design.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3’s synchronous electric motor develops a maximum output of 55 hp. As well as supporting all-electric operation around town, it can also provide a performance-boosting function for more powerful acceleration. In either case, the drive power is supplied instantly and without lag. Like all electric motors, this one develops its full torque – of 155 lb-ft – from a standing start.

The electric motor is compactly integrated within the housing of the eight-speed automatic transmission, and is connected to the transmission by a clutch. Its operating temperature is controlled by the cooling system of the internal combustion engine. Thanks among other things to its high internal efficiency and low weight, the eight-speed automatic transmission contributes to the efficiency of the powertrain as a whole.

With its eight speeds, it combines a wide gear range with close ratio spacing. It also allows more use to be made of top gear, for a fuel-efficient, low-rpm driving style. The direct downshift capability and exceptionally short shift times can support very sporty driving, too. Throughout, the high-performance transmission controller ensures that gear changes are always closely matched to the driver’s demands and the driving situation.

Optionally, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 can be supplied with a quick-shifting sports automatic transmission, whose dynamic characteristics are emphasized by a customized selector lever and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts.

Lithium-ion high-voltage battery housed underneath the boot.

The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion high-voltage battery, which was developed specifically for the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. The battery is encased in a special high-strength housing and positioned between the wheel arches in the trunk. This provides optimal protection for the battery and helps to ensure a well-balanced weight distribution. The battery cooling system is integrated into the air conditioning cooling circuit. The battery comprises 96 cells and has an effective energy capacity of 675 Wh.

In addition to its conventional 14V electrical system, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is also equipped with a high-voltage electrical system with 317 volts. Linked by a voltage transformer, these two systems provide maximum electrical power throughout the operating range, for improved performance and comfort. Both the electric motor and the air conditioning compressor are powered exclusively by the lithium-ion high-voltage battery, via the high-voltage electrical system. This allows the desired interior climate to be maintained even when the internal combustion engine is not running – i.e. when the car is at a standstill, operating purely on electric power or in coasting mode.

Full-hybrid capabilities for zero tailpipe emissions, boost function for extra-dynamic performance.

Up to a speed of 45 mph (75 km/h), the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 can operate in all-electric mode for zero emissions when coasting and in city traffic. Fully charged, the lithium-ion high-voltage battery provides an all-electric driving range of up to 2.5 miles (four kilometer) at an average speed of about 20 mph (35 km/h).

The internal combustion engine is only started when the driver requires more power; it is then engaged automatically. Its performance can be boosted by the electric motor to provide extra power when accelerating. Maximum combined power is 335 hp, with maximum torque of 330 lb-ft). Under combined ICE/electric power, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 delivers a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 5.3 seconds. The Sedan’s governed top speed is 155 mph (250 km/h) when equipped with performance tires.

Hybrid-specific auto start-stop function and coasting mode.

The specially designed hybrid auto start-stop function ensures that comfort is not affected even when the vehicle is stopped in traffic for longer periods – because the automatic climate control and the on-board electrical system are powered by the lithium-ion high-voltage battery. On moving off again, when the driver releases the brake, the vehicle will restart on either the electric motor alone or the electric motor and the engine, depending on the high-voltage battery’s current charge level and on how much power the driver wants or needs.

ECO PRO mode, which can be activated via the Driving Experience Control switch, supports a particularly fuel-efficient driving style in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and makes more frequent use of all-electric mode. ECO PRO mode modifies the characteristics of the powertrain, including the transmission, while the electrically powered convenience functions are programmed for optimal energy efficiency.

Coasting mode, a new development for the BMW ActiveHybrid models, boosts efficiency by shutting the internal combustion engine down not only when the vehicle is stationary, or when driving in town.

Coasting mode switches off the petrol engine and disconnects it from the driveshaft. From this point on, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 coasts soundlessly, with zero emissions and with no engine braking effect. The efficiency improvements are further enhanced by reduced rolling resistance tires.

In ECO PRO mode, the coasting function is available at any speed up to 100 mph (160 km/h), while in Comfort mode it operates between 37 and 50 mph (60 and 80 km/h) when the brakes are applied lightly. In Sport and Sport+ mode the coasting function is not available.

Even in coasting mode, all safety and comfort functions remain fully operational. When the combustion engine is shut down at a standstill, as well as during all-electric operation and in coasting mode, the electrically powered stationary climate control continues to maintain a pleasant interior climate. The stationary climate control can also be used to cool the interior before getting into the vehicle.

Intelligent energy management with proactive analysis of the driving situation.

In the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, the advanced-design power electronics have been developed a stage further. In addition to coordinating the operation of the internal combustion engine and electric motor based on the current driving situation, they also support proactive, forward-thinking analysis of the driving situation for even more efficient energy management. To achieve this, the power electronics can be linked up to the optional navigation system. When a destination has been input and route guidance is active, the electronics can then access and analyze data that can take advantage of an upcoming change in external conditions or driver requirements. Based on this analysis, and subject to the quality of the navigation data, the vehicle can be prepared in advance for imminent requirements so that all powertrain systems and the onboard electronics can be managed appropriately and in such a way as to make the most efficient possible use of the available energy.

Factors that may cause a change in powertrain operating strategy include the topography of the route and speed limits. For example, if the system knows that a downhill stretch is coming up soon, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 can wait to recharge its battery and invest all the high-voltage battery’s electrical energy in providing supplementary driving power, since the battery will be recharged during the forthcoming descent at no cost in terms of fuel consumption.

On longer downhill sections the electric motor’s generator function, too, can be enlisted to recharge the high-voltage battery with no loss of speed. The operating strategy can also be managed so as to achieve, as far as possible, optimal charging of the high-voltage battery when nearing the end of the journey, thereby increasing the electric driving range on the “last lap”.

The operating status of the powertrain components is shown in intuitive, model-specific displays in the instrument cluster and in the Control Display of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. As well as the energy flow and energy recuperation display, these include a further gauge next to the rev counter which shows the boost effect being provided by the electric motor during acceleration.

A model-specific menu in the iDrive operating system provides a variety of information – for example on the lithium-ion high-voltage battery’s charge level and the power sharing between the internal combustion engine and the electric motor in the course of a journey. A fuel consumption history can also be displayed, which not only shows fuel consumption history for the previous
15 minutes and the extent to which the electric motor of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 has been used.

Typical BMW 3 Series: highest standards of driving dynamics and comfort.

The chassis specifications of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 include a double-pivot strut-type front suspension and five-arm rear suspension, as well as the Electric Power Steering with Servotronic.

Adaptive M Suspension is available, while the Dynamic Stability Control system, which stabilizes the vehicle by applying braking pressure and reducing engine power, also incorporates functions such as Dynamic Traction Control, the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Brake Assist, Fading Compensation, a Brake Drying function and Start-Off Assistant.

In addition to ECO PRO mode, the standard Driving Experience Control switch also offers SPORT+, SPORT and COMFORT set-ups.

These different modes allow the driver to alter the accelerator response characteristics, engine response, power steering characteristics, DSC settings, shift characteristics of the automatic transmission and, if the vehicle is equipped with Adaptive M Suspension, the damping characteristics as well.

Model lettering on the C-pillars and on the rear.

Viewed from the side, the hint of a wedge shape underlines the sporty, forward-surging character of a typical 3 Series Sedan. Its silhouette radiates a fine sense of balance, reflecting the even distribution of weight between the front and rear wheels.

Extra flaring around the rear wheel arches emphasizes the presence of rear wheel drive. High-quality details, such as the particularly tight line of the Hofmeister kink at the base of the C-pillar and the door openers recessed into the side swage lines, reinforce the Sedan’s premium character. The modern look of the ActiveHybrid 3 is underlined by standard satin-finish window surrounds and BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow features in the side graphic. The hybrid variant can also be identified by the “ActiveHybrid 3” lettering on its C-pillars.

The powerfully formed rear end, with its dominant horizontal lines, likewise accentuates the sporting credentials of the Sedan, while the L-shaped LED rear lights ensure the car is instantly recognizable at night. Identifying features of the hybrid model include additional “ActiveHybrid 3” lettering on the trunk lid and matt chrome exhaust tailpipes integrated into the far left and right of the rear apron. In addition, 18-inch Streamline light-alloy wheels with optimized aerodynamic properties are available exclusively for this model.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 can also be ordered with the Sport, Modern or Luxury lines as well as the M Sport line.

Subtle design cues in the interior.

In common with its BMW 3 Series siblings, the interior of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is characterized by its driver-focused cockpit design and impressive spaciousness. However, the hybrid model also contains a selection of bespoke touches, including “ActiveHybrid 3” lettering on the front door sills and on the gear lever knob in the center console.

The BMW 3 Series hybrid model also stands apart from all the other variants of the Sedan with its specific engine cover.

The rev counter area includes graphics detailing the electric motor’s boost function as well as the energy flow and recuperation display, which is why the instrument cluster of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 also comes as standard with a 6.5-inch screen for extended display capability.

In addition to the optionally available navigation system, numerous other vehicle, entertainment and communications functions can be operated via the iDrive system, whose Control Display is integrated harmoniously into the instrument panel.

Comprehensive safety specification.

The body structure of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 meets highest standards of strength and intelligent lightweight design. Like all BMW’s it has an extremely stiff passenger cell. Intelligent use of higher-strength multi-phase steels and hot-stamped ultra-high-tensile steel helps give the safety passenger cell maximum rigidity, combined with relatively low weight. The new 3 Series was recently designated a “Best Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its outstanding passenger protection.

In a collision, high-strength load-bearing structures and large deformation zones help to keep impact forces away from the passenger cell and also from the hybrid drive components. Standard safety features on the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 also include front and side airbags, side curtain head airbags for both rows of seats, three-point inertia-reel belts on all seats, front seat belt force limiters, belt latch tensioners and active head restraints, as well as ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear.

The hybrid components are likewise protected by a comprehensive safety package. All elements of the high-voltage electrical system are protected by extensive insulation and specially designed connectors. The hybrid-related safety features protecting the lithium-ion high-voltage battery and the power electronics are integrated into the top-class comprehensive active and passive safety system featured on all BMW 3 Series models.

Functionality remains virtually uncompromised.

Since the lithium-ion high-performance battery is packaged under the trunk, the load capacity of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is reduced only marginally compared with other BMW 3 Series Sedan models. The battery is encased in a special housing and is fitted in a protected position between the wheel arches, which also offers optimal security in a crash.

This space-saving integration under the boot allows for a completely level load floor and means the rear seat backrests with optional 40:20:40 split-folding remain fully functional. The positioning of the high-voltage battery near to the rear axle also contributes to the balanced weight distribution of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3.

Climate control with individual controls and stationary function as standard.

The dual-zone automatic climate control fitted as standard in the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 allows the ventilation and temperature to be controlled individually both for the driver and front passenger and in the rear. This system comprises, among other features, comfort air vents, additional outlets in the B-pillars and a separate control unit on the rear face of the center console.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 sources the energy for its electric air conditioning compressor from the lithium-ion high-voltage battery. The standard stationary climate control function allows the on-board temperature to be controlled even when the combustion engine is switched off. In order to cool the interior in advance, the system can also be activated from outside the car several minutes before the start of a journey by using the car key.

The optionally available navigation system includes hard disk storage for maps and music collections. It is operated using the iDrive operating system which, in addition to the Controller with direct menu control buttons on the center console, also comes with an 8.8-inch monitor integrated into the instrument panel. The iDrive system is also used to operate a host of vehicle, communications and entertainment functions.

Exclusive options for tailor-made comfort, extensive range of BMW ConnectedDrive features.

The selection of BMW ConnectedDrive systems available as an option for the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 includes Park Distance Control, rear-view camera, Top and Side View, Active Blind Spot Detection all as part of the Driver Assistance Package. Driver Assistance Plus adds Lane Departure Warning with Forward Collision Warning and Speed Limit Info. Adaptive Headlights and High Beam Assistant.

The available Technology Package includes Navigation, Head-up Display, Online Information Systems, Smartphone Integration, BMW Assist with enhanced Bluetooth and USB port, BMW Apps and Real Time Traffic Info.

Innovative technologies allow both the integration of an Apple iPhone (or other smartphones) and music players and apps. Among other features, the BMW Apps option enables Apple iPhone owners to receive web radio stations and view Facebook and Twitter posts on the on-board monitor while stationary. It also facilitates easy access and control of streaming services like Pandora and MOG and, soon, Stitcher as well.

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 will be available in US BMW Centers this fall.

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