BMW hybrid cars Discover the hybrid BMW range and compare new, used, and leasing deals
BMW makes a wide range of saloons, estates, SUVs and sports cars, and the good news for eco-conscious car buyers - or those who simply want to save a few quid on fuel - is that many of them are available as hybrids. The plug-in hybrids are the most efficient choices, but many of the regular petrol and diesel versions of BMW’s cars also feature mild hybrid technology. Read on for the full lowdown on BMW’s various hybrid offerings.
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BMW hybrid range: current models
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
You can buy the 2 Series Active Tourer as a non-hybrid diesel, but every other version of the car is a hybrid of some variety. The petrol engines in the 220i and 223i are both fitted with 48-volt mild hybrid technology that gives them a touch more off-the-mark grunt while making them a little more fuel efficient at the same time. The 225e and 230e, meanwhile, which have 245hp and 326hp respectively, are plug-in hybrids that can run for more than 50 miles on electric-only power, according to official figures, thanks to a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a sizeable 14.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Otherwise, the Active Tourer provides a roomy, high-class cabin, and a surprisingly sprightly driving experience.
BMW 3 Series
You might expect plenty of crossover with powertrains between the 2 Series Active Tourer and the 3 Series, but not so. You see, the entry-level petrol, the 320i, doesn’t get mild hybrid technology, but the 340i high-performance petrol and both the diesels - the 320d and 340d - do get it. However, it’s the 330e plug-in hybrid that’s the star of the efficiency show, with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to supplement its electric motor. It has a shorter electric-only range than the 2 Series Active Tourer, standing at between 34 and 38 miles depending on version. Don’t expect to match the WLTP fuel economy figures of between 166mpg and 217mpg, though, unless you spend most of your time charging it.
BMW 3 Series Touring
You would definitely expect plenty of crossover with powertrains between the 3 Series and 3 Series Touring, and you get it because the engine ranges are absolutely identical. There’s plenty more that’s identical, too: you get the same-plush-feeling tech-filled interior, the same punchy performance, the same precise and engaging handling and the same firm-but-fair ride quality. What’s not identical between saloon and Touring, however, is the practicality on offer. In petrol or diesel form, the Touring offers 500 litres of more accessible and square-shaped space to the saloon’s already generous 480 litres, although if you’re considering the PHEV version, it’s worth remembering that the batteries eat into the boot space quite a bit, dropping to 375 litres in the saloon and 410 litres in the estate.
BMW 5 Series
BMW recently unveiled the all-new eighth-generation 5 Series, and it’ll go on sale alongside an all-electric model known as the i5. If, however, you’re not quite ready to make the jump to all-electric power just yet, then you will have a couple of other options. Initially, one petrol engine will be available in the form of the 520i, and it’ll have a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with a mild-hybrid system to give you 208hp. From early 2024, and you’ll also be able to choose from a couple of plug-in-hybrid versions, the 530e and 550e with an electric-only range of between 50 and 60 miles.
BMW 5 Series Touring
No estate-bodied version of the all-new 5 Series has been announced yet, so for now, we’re still talking about the existing model of 5 Series Touring. Right now, it’s not possible to buy a brand new 5 Series Touring that’s not a hybrid of some description, and all the regular combustion-engined versions - including the 520i, 540i and the 520d diesel - are fitted with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Those after maximum efficiency, however, will want the 530e plug-in hybrid, with its all-electric range of up to 34 miles and its official fuel economy figure of up to 176mpg.
BMW 7 Series
If you don’t fancy the latest BMW 7 Series in all-electric i7 form, then you have a couple of plug-in hybrid options as well. The first of these is the 750e, and this combines a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic gearbox to deliver a combined power output of 489hp, equating to a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.8 seconds, and it’ll go up to 49 miles on electric-only power between charges. The M760e, meanwhile, uses much the same hardware, and has a very similar all-electric range, but it hikes the combined power output to 571hp, which in turn trims the 0-62mph time down to 4.3 seconds. Not slow, then. And like with any 7 Series, you get a roomy, gorgeously trimmed cabin that’s stuffed with tech.
At this point, we take a few steps back down the model range to consider the hybrid versions of BMW’s SUVs. The BMW X1 is the first of them, and once again, most versions have hybrid technology of some sort. For instance of the two petrol variants (the 170hp 20i and the 218hp 23i) and two diesel variants (the 150hp 18d and the 211hp 23d) available, it’s only the entry-level diesel that doesn’t come with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Then there are the 25e and 30e, which are plug-in hybrids that use the same drivetrains we mentioned earlier on when talking about the 2 Series Active Tourer, and to very similar effect in terms of the important numbers. Powertrains aside, the X1 is an excellent car in a variety of other ways with a sophisticated driving experience, a classy cabin and more interior space than you might expect.
Again, you might expect plenty of crossover between the X1 and X2 in terms of the powertrains available, but that’s not the case, largely because the current X2 is based on the previous version of the X1, which was replaced by a new one not so long ago. That means that the regular combustion-engined versions don’t get mild hybrid technology, and the sole plug-in hybrid version - the 25e - has a less powerful version of the powertrain found in its sister car, producing a combined output of 22hp. It won’t go as far on a full charge, either, with a theoretical maximum all-electric range of 32 miles.
The most efficient of the BMW X3 hybrids is the 30e plug-in hybrid that has the same PHEV drivetrain as the one in the 3 Series 330e, although it doesn’t go quite as far on electric-only power with an official range of up to 30 miles. Of the other versions available - three petrol and three diesel in a variety of outputs - it’s only the high-performance X3 M Competition that does without 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Still, with a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine pushing out 510hp, it probably wouldn’t make much difference to the 26mpg fuel economy figure anyway.
BMW has revealed a freshly facelifted version of the X5, and not only have the looks been overhauled but so has the engine range. It’s offered with a selection of 3.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, all of which have a mild hybrid system for an extra dose of both performance and economy. It’s also offered as a plug-in hybrid that’s received a significant overhaul compared to the PHEV X5 it replaces. It uses a 3.0-litre, straight-six petrol engine, combined with an electric motor, to deliver 490hp. That’s a lot more power than you got before, and with a bigger 25.7kWh battery on board, it’ll also go a lot further on electricity: up to 68 miles according to official figures.
While most plug-in hybrids have at least half an eye on fuel efficiency, you’d probably argue that the technology’s use in the XM - BMW’s first M-exclusive car since the M1 of the 1970s - is more about maximising performance. This enormous high-performance SUV combines its electric motor and 25.7kWh battery with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine to give 653hp. Wait a wee while longer, and you’ll be able to go for the Label Red version, which uses the same hardware, but with the wick turned up to 748hp. Still, according to official figures it still allows all-electric driving of up to 55 miles and combined fuel economy of 188mpg.
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