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Frankfurt show: BMW expands eDrive range

Get Active: BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer 225e derives its hybrid tech from the all-electric i3 city hatch.

BMW’s front-drive hatch and 3 Series next in line for plug-in hybrid system


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4 Sep 2015

BMW has released details of two more plug-in hybrids that are set to join the brand’s European range later in the year – the 225e and the 330e which will be formally unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show later this month.

The 330e had its global reveal at the recent launch of the updated 3 Series line in May, while the 225e was seen wearing camouflage at the BMW Group Innovation Days, held at its 473-hectare Miramas proving grounds in southern France in July.

BMW Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto that the 330e may arrive in Australia in 2016, but the future is less certain for the plug-in 2 Series Active Tourer.

“There is no plans to bring the 225e to Australia at this stage,” Ms Fletcher said. “The 330e is of interest to us, though. If it were to be confirmed, it would not be here this year.”

The local launch of the updated 3 Series line-up will be held next month.

A new addition to the Active Tourer line, the 225e will utilise the same chassis, MacPherson front/multilink rear suspension and five-door arrangement as the rest of the range.

Powered by a combination of a twin-turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that sends 100kW and 385Nm to the front axle and a 65kW electric motor on the rear axle, BMW claims the 225e will consume just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, while emitting just 49 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

It will zip to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds, before topping out at 202km/h. It has a claimed electric-only range of “up to” 41km, and a top speed in electric mode of 125km/h.

A 7.7kWh lithium-ion battery array is hidden away under the 225e’s rear seat, which sits 30mm higher than other Active Tourer models. Luggage capacity is undiminished at 400 litres with the seats up and 1350 with the seats down.

The battery can be charged in three hours and fifteen minutes from a 240-volt wall socket, or in an hour less using BMW’s iWallbox. The car also recharges itself via regenerative braking and via a clever starter motor/generator combo.

The driver can select from three different electric modes, along with three more familiar driving modes. Auto eDrive allows the car to be driven at up to 80km/h on battery power alone, right up to where the battery capacity dips below seven per cent.

A max eDrive mode will allow the 225 to cruise at up to 125km/h without petrol power. The engine will kick in if the driver pushes the throttle past a kick-down point. A battery-save mode, meanwhile, allows the driver to save 50 per cent of the battery’s charge for later in the journey.

Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro modes are also available.

The 225 runs what BMW calls its Electrified xDrive system, providing all-wheel-drive at speeds of up to 125km/h without the need for a driveshaft to connect the two axles.

Meanwhile, the 330e follows a similar path, but with some key differences. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 134kW and 290Nm combines with a similarly sized 65kW electric motor, but all of the power and torque is directed only to the rear wheels. The system’s combined output is rated at 185kW.

It will do 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 225km/h. Its electric range is minutely shorter at 40km, and its combined fuel consumption figure is the same at 2.1L/100km. Its carbon dioxide output of 49g/km is also the same as the Active Tourer.

The battery array is rated at a slightly smaller 7.6kWh, and resides under the boot floor. Boot capacity is slightly reduced at 370 litres, but the sedan retains a split-fold rear seat. Fuel tank capacity is reduced to 41 litres, but BMW claims a theoretical range of 600km.

Charging times are the same as the 225e, as are the multiple in-cabin driving modes.

The two cars join the i8 sportscar, i3 REX hatch, X5 xDrive40e SUV and the forthcoming 740e sedan in BMW’s plug-in range.

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