2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Jul 09, 2012
  • New hybrid version of BMW 3 Series Sedan
  • 335 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque
  • 0-60 mph in less than 5.3 seconds
  • 2.5-mile pure electric range
  • Travels up to 45 mph on battery alone


Thanks to ever tightening fuel economy and air pollution regulations in Europe and the U.S., every automaker is seeking new ways to improve mileage and reduce emissions, including BMW. The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3, starting at $50,195 and loaded with technology designed to maximize MPG, will be available in the fall of 2012.

Exterior Features

There are few exterior clues to identify the ActiveHybrid 3 from other 3 Series models. This version has appropriate badges located on the C-pillars and trunk, as well as aerodynamically optimized 18-inch aluminum wheels in a unique Streamline design.

Interior Features

Aside from hybrid-specific displays, the new ActiveHybrid 3's interior matches that of other 3 Series models. When a destination is programmed into the optional navigation system, the software is designed to provide route, topographical, and speed limit data to the ActiveHybrid system so that it can maximize efficiency to the greatest extent.

Optional Features

In addition to a navigation system, the Technology package adds a head-up display, full Apple iPhone integration, BMW Assist telematics service with enhanced Bluetooth, and BMW Apps including streaming Internet radio. A Sport Automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available, as well as an Adaptive M Suspension.

Under the Hood

The rear-wheel-drive 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 combines a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, electric assist motor, and a lithium-ion battery pack. The car can travel at speeds up to 45 mph on battery power alone, or as far as 2.5 miles at an average speed of 20 mph without firing the gasoline engine, according to BMW.

Performance attributes are maintained in the form of 335 combined horsepower, 330 combined lb.-ft. of torque, a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of less than 5.3 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph. All performance claims are made by BMW.

In addition to the hybrid powertrain, the new ActiveHybrid 3 is equipped with low-rolling-resistance tires, automatic engine stop/start, Coasting mode, and a Driving Experience Control system which adjusts throttle, transmission, steering, and stability control settings based on the selection of ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ driving modes. Models with the optional Adaptive M Suspension also benefit from adjustable ride and handling characteristics.

The ECO PRO drive setting maximizes electric-only driving to the extent possible, and in this setting the ActiveHybrid 3's Coasting mode operates at speeds up to 100 mph, disconnecting the engine from the drivetrain and allowing the car to coast without engine braking to increase efficiency. Coasting mode also works in Comfort mode, but only between 37 and 50 mph.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy ratings for the ActiveHybrid 3 were not established as this preview was written.


The new ActiveHybrid 3 includes 6 air bags, traction and stability control, and anti-lock brakes with Cornering Brake Control, Brake Assist, Brake Fade Compensation, Brake Drying, and Start-off Assistant. A Driver Assistance package adds parking sensors, rearview camera, Top and Side View Camera, and blind-spot detection. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and adaptive headlights.
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