2012 BMW 3-Series: Bigger, Bolder And More Fuel Efficient Page 2

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ActiveHybrid 3 coming next fall

Also coming next year in the fall will be a brand new ActiveHybrid 3 model. Like its ActiveHybrid 5 and ActiveHybrid 7 big brothers, the new ActiveHybrid 3 features a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain that remains sporty yet frugal.

In this case, BMW has combined its N55 straight-six engine with a hybrid-specific eight-speed automatic transmission with integrated electric motor, which for limited periods can increase power by up to 55 horsepower.

Maximum combined output is 335 horsepower, with a maximum combined torque of 330 pound-feet. BMW says performance is similar to its 335i model but with gas mileage of around 36.7 mpg for the European combined cycle.

For BMW’s setup, the electric motor supplies the engine with supplementary driving power and can provide a boost function when more power is required, such as overtaking or accelerating up a hill. It also has an electric only mode that can carry it for 2.5 miles and at speeds of up to 37 mph without any emissions.

Note, during overrun and braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is used to charge the lithium-ion battery stored in the trunk.

Aerodynamics also plays an important part in the 2012 BMW 3-Series’ overall efficiency. On the far left and right of the main ducts situated in the front bumper are small vertical intakes which help create an “Air Curtain”. This new technology improves air flow around the front wheels, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and reducing fuel consumption at higher speeds.

The end result is a very low drag coefficient of just 0.26 cd.

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