BMW 330e and 225xe plug-in hybrids revealed ahead of Frankfurt auto show

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BMW is well on its way of offering its eDrive plug-in hybrid option on every model in its lineup. Having already shown the fuel-efficient versions of its X5 and 7-Series, the German automaker has now given us our first look at its upcoming 2-Series Active Tourer and 3-Series plug-in hybrids. They make their official world debut on September 15 at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show and will be available for sale next year.

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Right now only the 3-Series plug-in is headed to the United States. It's badged a 330e, meaning its positioning falls somewhere between the current 328i and 340i. Its plug-in hybrid drivetrain consists of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine working in conjunction with an electric motor integrated with the vehicle’s eight-speed automatic transmission, and drive is to the rear wheels only.

Specifications for the United States are yet to be announced but for Europe the 330e has a peak output of 248 horsepower. This should be enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in about 6.0 seconds and a top speed of approximately 140 mph. On electric power alone, the car’s top speed is limited to 75 mph and its range is about 25 miles. On a full charge of its lithium-ion battery plus a full tank of gas, the car should be able to travel approximately 373 miles.

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2016 BMW 330e

2016 BMW 330e

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The 2-Series Active Tourer-based model is badged a 225xe, with the letter “x” in the name indicating that the car features all-wheel drive. But we’re not talking about BMW’s xDrive mechanical all-wheel-drive system. Instead, the all-wheel-drive system is a ‘through-the-road’ hybrid setup where an internal combustion engine is used to power the front axle and an electric motor powers the rear.

The general layout of the plug-in hybrid system in the 225xe is similar to the setup in the i8 sports car, only it’s flipped in reverse. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed automatic and is used to power the front wheels while an electric motor powers the rear pair.

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The 225xe has a peak output of 221 hp, which is enough to accelerate it to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. The top speed, meanwhile, comes in at 126 mph. On electric power alone the top speed is 78 mph and the range should be about 25 miles also.

2016 BMW 330e and 225xe plug-in hybrids

2016 BMW 330e and 225xe plug-in hybrids

Enlarge Photo

In BMW’s plug-in hybrids, sophisticated energy management systems ensure the combustion engine and electric motor work together to maximum effect in all driving situations. Their operating strategy is based on the vehicle starting up on electric power only and running in this mode during low load situations. Under greater acceleration and at higher speeds, however, the combustion engine also joins the action. There's even a boost function where both power sources run at their maximum.

Other BMWs making their official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show will be the new 7-Series (including the 740e plug-in hybrid variant), the new X1, the M4 GTS concept, the M6 GT3 race car, and an M6 equipped with the car’s latest Competition Package. To see what else will be at the show, head to our dedicated hub.

 
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