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    There are forms that can only be changed very cautiously, because icons must be immediately recognizable as such. If there is a revolution, then please especially under the sheet metal and in the interior, where Porsche wants to surprise us with a new operating concept and additional assistance systems. #Porsche-911-992 / #2019-Porsche-911-992 / #Porsche-992 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #2019 / #Porsche-911-Turbo / #Porsche-911-Turbo-992 / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-Carrera-992 / #2020 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-992

    An icon at the crossroads: How do innovations like the plug-in hybrid and digitization change the rear-engined classic with the sawing voice and the impossible weight distribution? We have the story - for those who do not want to wait until October 2018.

    Beetle, Mini, Land Rover, 911. All classic without expiration date - or the last Mohicans before the big paradigm shift towards E-Mobility and autonomous driving?

    Probably something of both. Porsche has to take care of the 911 without scare the purists and ignore the signs of the times. "In the 911 there will be no four-cylinder in the medium term," promises chief conductor Oliver Blume. "But we are working on a plug-in variant and will probably use it later." What Blume does not say: Model 992, which debuts at the LA Auto Show in late 2018, is the last of its kind. Because the generation after next generation is already based on the completely new, in all essential elements scalable sports car platform of the future (SAZ), which was developed earlier this year. Lamborghini remains initially out, but Bentley, Audi and probably even Bugatti are considered set in the SAZ network.

    Before the eighth in Zuffenhausen conceived rolls from February 2019 to the dealers, Porsche still wants to tell the story of the 991 to an end.

    The penultimate chapter takes place in March at the Geneva Motor Show, where the winged GT3 RS, which is said to have 520 hp, celebrates its premiere. As part of the racing reunion, a classic event scheduled for September near Paris, Porsche wants to draw the last 991 derivative from the hat in the form of the strictly limited Speedster GT.

    After the 911 T, the Speedster is the second model in the Heritage range. The next 911 generation hears the abbreviation 992 and builds in essential elements on the current series. So it remains at the rear engine - the rumored exchange of boxer and transmission should be completed in 2025 with the so-called Ferrari Fighter (Project 960), the future of course, is still uncertain. Since the duo 996/986, Elfer and Boxster / Cayman share a modular architecture. This constructive approach is in principle, but it is still unclear to what extent the successors of Cayman and Boxster are knitted after the proven pattern and whether Audi is allowed on board. As of December 2017, everything from the big facelift to the radically innovative electric sports car is in the realm of possibility.

    The new 911 is born in uncertain times. As early as next fall, legislators are tightening the exhaust gas standard for gasoline engines with the Otto Particulate Filter (OPF). The measures to comply with the two-stage RDE (Real Drive Emissions) limits cost engine power and money. Quite possibly, that's why Porsche also takes the BMW M-way in the next step and has to provide the expensive water injection. Against the background of the exhaust gas discussion, the classic naturally aspirated engines of GT3 and GT4 inevitably become discontinued models.

    Because at the same time more stringent noise protection regulations threaten, also the intake and exhaust systems must be quieter. A tightening on a broad front brings the upcoming fleet norm of on average only 95 g CO2 / km. But do not worry: the enemy picture of a 911 with four-cylinder boxer without e-module is a chimera, at least in the medium term.

    The graduated start-up of the 992 is based on its predecessor:

    • Carrera 2S and Carrera 4S Coupé, Presentation 10/2018, launch 2/2019;
    • Carrera 2S and 4S Cabriolet, presentation 1/2019, sale from 4/2019;
    • Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 as coupé and convertible, presentation 4/2019, at the dealer 7/2019;
    • 911 Turbo Coupe and Carrera GTS, presentation 9/2019, start of sales 2/2020.

    Together with the new car, a revised engine generation (EA9A2) goes into production.

    The 3.0-liter boxer mobilizes as #MHEV (Mild Hybrid) 15 kW more power and 70 Newton meters more torque, provides additional variability in the mixture preparation and reduces the already hardly measurable particulate matter emission by a factor of 10. The base Carrera 400 PS Strong twin-turbo propellant brings it in the S versions to 450 hp. From 2022 will be increased as part of the facelift again by 20 hp.

    In the GT3 successor it remains at 3.8 liters of displacement, but the first-ever artificially ventilated six-cylinder in the sharpest 911 should increase in the first stage of development from 500 to 550 hp. Spearhead of the series remains the 911 Turbo; he stands with up to 620 bhp / DIN even better in the feed than before. In most cases, a new eight-speed double clutch (8DT 80HL) from ZF will provide the power transmission.

    Inside there's an exciting mixture of classic and modern. Porsche was the only mechanical round instrument to rescue the centrally positioned tachometer into modern times. Although it remains at a total of five clocks, but the two displays on the left and right of the heart rate monitor can be partially configure freely. We know the big touch screen and the panel for the air conditioning from the Panamera. New are the optional head-up display and a long list of comfort and safety features. For example, the adaptive laser light, which illuminates far into the next bend, cleverly avoids reflections and self-glare, selectively illuminates pedestrians and animals, and works its way 700 meters into the darkness wherever it is possible.

    Starting in 2022, the countdown for the 911 #PHEV is underway, but the market launch has not yet been fixed. This model integrates two propulsion concepts: the gasoline rear engine and the electric motor, which turns this 911 into a low-emission 4x4 coupe when needed. The compact E-package consists of four elements: power electronics, lithium-ion battery with 10.8 kWh, Stromer with 70 kW and 310 Nm and a special e-transmission with eight gears, freewheel and recuperation. In total, extrapolated 485 hp and 760 Nm are available. That should be enough to track to (0-62MPH) 0-100 kmh in less than 3.5 seconds and to be 315kph fast.

    Depending on the driving style, the electric range should be up to 50 kilometers. If you like rushing rather than gliding, you can boost for 20 seconds at the touch of a button or swear all the drive components up in Sport Plus for maximum performance - then the Sport Response Button finally makes sense.

    The #Porsche-911-992 has to be able to do better than its predecessor, has to be faster and more agile, at the same time wilder and more confident, quieter and - in spite of the Otto particle filter - more efficient. The means to an end: less weight, a stiffer body and a new eight-speed #PDK for the more powerful boxer. There's a new infotainment and various assistance systems. First test runs from February 2019 .
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    / X1 #PHEV for China / #BMW-X1-xDrive25Le / #BMW-X1 / #BMW / #BMW-X1-xDrive25Le-F49 / #BMW-F49 / #BMW-X1-xDrive25Le-iPerformance / #BMW-X1-xDrive25Le-iPerformance-F49 /

    At the #2016-Chengdu-Motor-Show BMW and its partner in China, #BMW-Brilliance , announced the debut of the #BMW-X1-xDrive25Le , a longwheelbase plug-in hybrid X1 that will be produced exclusively for the Chinese market. The rest of the world gets its X1 with a 2670mm wheelbase but the Chinese market gets a longer one at 2780mm. No doubt this additional space makes the X1 more suitable for a PHEV with the batteries not taking up too much of the available luggage space.

    The X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance runs on both electricity and fossil fuel, with the petrol engine and electric motor powering the front and rear wheels respectively, with the intelligent energy management system taking care of on-demand power response and energy efficiency maximisation. The conventional 1.5-litre petrol engine that powers the front wheels is mated to a six-speed integrated manual/automatic gearbox and churns out a maximum power output of 136hp with peak torque clocking in at 162lb ft.

    The electric motor that drives the rear wheels produces power up to 95hp and can instantaneously deliver a peak torque of 122lb ft. Thanks to BMW’s proprietary eBoost function, both power systems can provide a peak torque of 284lb ft allowing acceleration from 0-62mph in just 7.4 seconds with a combined fuel consumption as low as 157mpg.

    With an all-electric cruising range of around 37 miles the X1 xDrive25Le has a combined range of nearly 400 miles – impressive when you consider it’s only equipped with a 35-litre fuel tank. Currently BMW has no plans to offer the model in other markets, but it could well be that the technology is transferable to the standard wheelbase X1 in the coming years as it’s a segment where BMW currently doesn’t have a PHEV.
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    The Supercar People Carrier #2016

    Behind the Wheel This month we sample the latest plug-in hybrid, the 225xe, and discover it’s rather good. BMW drops the i8’s drivetrain into the #BMW-2-Series #Active-Tourer for a new plug-in hybrid model and the resulting MPV is probably one of the most exciting ways to ferry the kids about. Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: BMW.

    BMW has been doing eco-motors for a lot longer than most. Back in 1983 it created an E28 525e, the ‘e’ standing for ‘eta’. Taking an M20 straight-six and fitting a different crank for a longer stroke, the 525e focused on fuel-saving over power. Obviously, this being the 1980s, we’re probably talking about the difference between 20mpg and 22mpg, but the point remains valid.

    However, it was in 2000 that the company really focused on improving its fleet-wide green credentials, with Munich working on the #EfficientDynamics (ED) suite of ecological technologies. By 2007, the first cars with ED standards were launched and today all BMWs use the measures. It was only a year later when the ActiveHybrids appeared, BMWs with mild electrification to eke out their fuel reserves. Clever and unobtrusive tech, indeed, but really a company with BMW’s engineering genius could do better. Cue the i-brand. Stunning the world with the i3 batteryelectric city car and the absolutely incredible i8 plugin hybrid ( #PHEV ) supercar, these two vehicles weren’t just vanity projects designed to show what electric heights BMW could scale: they also heralded the wider electrification of the mainstream range. The models subsequently chosen for #BMW-PHEV treatment show Munich’s crafty intelligence. First up was the mighty X5, a sales phenomenon and a vehicle that could only benefit from an official 85.6mpg and 77g/km of CO² emissions as the xDrive40e. Then BMW announced the gadget-laden 7 Series will be hybridised, although we won’t actually see the 740e (badge TBC) until later this year. Finally, the absolute essence of Munich, the 3 Series, was graced with the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrolelectric drivetrain of the X5, albeit slightly detuned for the 330e to 252hp and 310lb ft.

    We drove the 330e on the same launch event as this car, the 225xe Active Tourer, which completes a wave of four plug-in vehicles in the space of nine months. Clearly, #BMW felt that, for family buyers who liked the idea of a PHEV but were against an SUV like the X5, then the 2 Series MPV would be a more acceptable choice. What’s most intriguing is that the 225xe has the i8’s drivetrain… Oh, all right, that’s not strictly true; there are differences. For a start, it has been flipped through 180 degrees compared to the i8, so in the 225xe the petrol engine drives the front axle while the electric motor controls the rear; and, yes, that means the 2 Series PHEV can be a front-, rear- and ultimately four-wheel drive BMW, hence the ‘x’ in its model name.

    Furthermore, the 225xe doesn’t have the twospeed reduction gear for the electric motor, instead making do with a single-speed item like the i3, while the system’s overall output is scaled back from the i8’s 362hp/421lb ft muscle. Instead, the 1.5-litre turbocharged triple delivers 136hp and 162lb ft (it’s the engine from the MINI Cooper) while its electric motor adds 88hp and 122lb ft.

    Unlike other BMW PHEVs, here the overall peak numbers are the sum of their parts. With both motors the 225xe kicks out 224hp and 284lb ft – rudely healthy data for a compact MPV. Coupled to all-wheel drive traction and a kerb weight of 1660kg (heavy, but not ludicrously so), the 225xe is rapid: 0-62mph takes 6.7 seconds and the top speed is 126mph. And it feels every bit as punchy as that on the roads, the 2 Series dispatching questionable overtakes with ease. The three-pot motor is a gem, too, making a great noise in this application, if not quite up to the melody it makes in the i8.

    From the inside there’s little to distinguish that this is a Hybrid version of the 2 Series Active Tourer, although the underfloor boot space is less generous than in a conventionally-powered version.

    The fuel economy is pretty impressive, too, although it needs to be couched in terms of reality, rather than on-paper stats. The 141.2mpg economy with 46g/km CO² are figures attainable only by citybased users who spend maybe 80 or 90 per cent of their time commuting on electric power alone, with the odd weekend out-of-town jaunt. Use the petrol engine regularly and those figures will inevitably tumble. So let us give you both sides of the coin: on a 50-mile route, overall it returned 54.3mpg at an average of 28.9mph, which is excellent for a powerful, tall, petrol-drinking, four-wheel drive MPV like this, but just 38 per cent of its quoted average; however, for the first 12.5 miles of the trip, through some of Munich’s stickiest traffic, it majored on the electric motor and delivered an utterly remarkable 149.6mpg instead.

    If you do use the electric motor a lot (in the Max eDrive mode), then you have a range of 26 miles and a limited top speed of 78mph, slightly higher than other BMW PHEVs. It is, of course, so much quieter and smoother when whipping about town in zero-emissions running than any other 2 Series would be, so it’s a shame that the ride is overly firm and the tyres emit a loud rumble. We will concede the 225xe we drove was on winter rubber, so maybe it’ll be less noisey on regular tyres.

    Yet that stiff ride translates into the sort of handling that shames any comparable-sized MPV going. Based on front-wheel drive architecture it may be, but the 225xe is unquestionably a BMW in its dynamic makeup. Lift the throttle mid-bend and it will cleanly tuck its nose in as the tail goes light, while the steering is (by the standards of its rivals) great. The six-speed Steptronic automatic is flawless and the brakes – still required to do two jobs, namely harvesting kinetic energy and stopping the car – feel a little better modulated than those on the 330e. In short, while it might not be an i8 in a stovepipe hat, it feels like a little of the dihedral-doored sports car’s DNA has rubbed off onto the sensible Active Tourer.

    So it’s yet another hugely impressive PHEV from BMW, with the main two stumbling blocks being the ride and its price. If you can live with the former (and many will), the 225xe starts at £35,155 excluding the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant… which reduces to £2500 from 1 March. That means the 2 AT PHEV currently costs at least £30,155, rising to £32,655 in spring, compared to the 225i xDrive’s £32,010 ticket. That doesn’t exactly make this 2 Series Active Tourer cheap but it remains a practical, spacious family car that might just be the answer to rising fuel costs for many urbanites. And as it really has no direct rivals (go on, name another premium AWD electric MPV) then BMW’s long-running obsession with eco-vehicles looks like it is finally paying off handsomely.

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-225xe-Active-Tourer / #BMW-225xe / #BMW-225xe-F45 / #BMW-F45 / #BMW-225xe-Active-Tourer-F45 /

    ENGINE: 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol with synchronous electric motor, six-speed #Steptronic auto (petrol) plus reduction gear (electric), four-wheel drive

    MAX POWER: Petrol: 136hp @ 4400rpm; electric: 88hp @ 4000rpm; combined peak output 224hp

    MAX TORQUE: Petrol 162lb ft @ 1250-4300rpm; electric 122lb ft @ 0-3000rpm; combined peak output 284lb ft

    0-62MPH: 6.7 seconds

    TOP SPEED: 126mph

    ECONOMY: 141.2mpg

    EMISSIONS: 46g/km

    PRICE: From £30,155 including government’s £5000 grant (until March 1, see copy)
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    A Viable Option? #2016

    The new #BMW-X5-40e #BMW-F15 costs the same as a xDrive40d model but which makes more sense to buy? #BMW-UK has pitched the #Hybrid-X5-40e right into the section of the 4x4 market occupied by the X5 40d… but is the part-petrol, part-electric machine a real alternative? Words: Bob Harper. Photography: BMW.

    So here it is, the first of what will be four full plug-in hybrid models that #BMW will be launching in the UK this year. The X5 is the first to get the #PHEV treatment but following closely on its heels will be the 330e (that you can read about on ), the 220xe and the 740e and no doubt when the new Five and Six are eventually announced both of those cars’ architecture will have been designed to allow full use of BMW’s drivetrain of choice.

    We’ve already had ‘ActiveHybrid’ versions of the 3, 5 and 7 Series but the next generation of BMW Hybrids are far more advanced than those and promise greater electric ranges and are less compromised in day-to-day use than its previous efforts. The real question that needs answering is whether one of these hybrids, and specifically this X5 we have here today, will actually suit your motoring needs? I would suggest that you’d need to sit down with a large piece of paper that will end up being covered in hastily squiggled figures to try and work out whether a hybrid or one of BMW’s already excellent diesel versions makes most sense for your specific needs.

    I have to hold my hands up and say that I approached the test of this new kid on the block with a fair amount of cynicism – a diesel X5 is a wonderful machine to drive and own and with the hybrid’s limited range and perhaps less than stellar real-world economy figures I was finding it a difficult concept that someone would actually prefer to invest in the 40e than a 40d. First impressions are certainly good however – the X5 40e in M Sport trim we have here retains the big 4x4’s handsome good looks and is still an imposing piece of kit. It’s not likely your neighbours will notice it’s a hybrid either unless they catch you charging it or clock the small 40e script on the front doors or the subtle eDrive logo sitting on the X5’s rump.

    Once I’ve clambered up into the X5, made myself comfortable and adjusted mirrors and seat to my satisfaction, I make the school boy error of assuming I’ve managed to break the X5 as pressing the starter button doesn’t elicit any sort of engine starting noises from under the bonnet. The dash pod glows nicely and I soon realise that the X5 is ‘running’ and that all I need to do if release the electronic handbrake.

    Moving off with nary a whisper from the drivetrain is always a slightly uncanny feeling, but it’s one you soon become accustomed to in the X5. Once you’re rolling it’s not an entirely noise-free environment as a certain amount of road noise and tyre roar do eventually permeate the cabin as the speed rises. Trundling around the Berkshire sub-suburban roads where speeds are generally pretty low sees the four-cylinder twin-turbo slumbering, letting the electric motor and batteries take the strain until the speed rises to around 42mph and then the internal combustion side of the equation joins the party. We seem to use the word ‘seamless’ to describe so many things these days, but it really is the right description of the way the engine kicks in and out – if I hadn’t caught the movement of the rev counter needle out of the corner of my eye I really wouldn’t have realised the engine had kicked in.

    After around 20 minutes of driving, not desperately fast, not intentionally slowly, simply keeping pace with the rest of the traffic on the road, the X5 is indicating a pretty staggering 73.9mpg. This rises and falls pretty rapidly depending on whether the four-cylinder is in play or not, and we must bear in mind that the battery was fully charged before departure, but it’s the sort of figure a diesel X5 could only dream about. The flip side of the coin is that when you use all the performance the economy plummets dramatically, but it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot of performance on offer if you use the combined might of the twin-scroll turbo four and the electric motor. Together they offer up 313hp (identical to the X5 40d’s output) and 332lb ft of torque (considerably down on the 40d’s 465lb ft) and if you ask it to, the 40e will really fly, taking you by surprise as this isn’t the sort of forward momentum you’re conditioned to expect in a car that has eco credentials. You’ll need to use the upper end of the rev-range in the 40e to enjoy the best it has to offer, but that’s no hardship as it does sound pretty good when revved hard. So, put simply, it’s pretty enjoyable to punt along, whether looking to eke every last bit of charge from the battery in the quest for ever-better economy figures, or when giving it a good old fashioned pasting.

    But how does the X5 40e seemingly manage to offer the best of both worlds? As mentioned it uses the fourcylinder turbocharged engine (in a 245hp state of tune) allied to a synchronous electric motor (offering 113hp and 184lb ft of torque) that’s housed within the eight-speed automatic transmission. It has an all-electric range of between 14 and 19 miles and that latter figure is actually the distance market research has shown to be the average journey by X5 owners. BMW UK has put together some figures for what it expects potential owners will achieve under certain driving conditions and these may well help you decide on whether or not it’s going to be suitable for your needs.

    In an urban commuting environment with journeys of up to 15 miles, BMW reckons you should be able to achieve 94mpg, running almost exclusively on electric power. For an owner using their X5 for trips of between 30 and 40 miles a day including commuting BMW expects returns in the mid-40s, typically 43-47mpg (better than you’d get with a diesel-powered X5) but over longer journeys (over 125 miles) the 40e is expected to return between 26 and 27mpg, making it less economical than a diesel model. All these figures assume you’re starting off with a fully charged battery pack, too, but as the X5 only takes two and a half hours to charge on a BMW i Wallbox (and three and a half from a standard 13amp socket) this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.

    However, it’s worth considering that fuel economy isn’t the be all and end all when considering one’s overall motoring cost. For instance, the difference between running a car that does 30mpg compared to one that does 40mpg is only around £380 a year if you do 10k miles per year. If one assumes the 40e returns the former and the 40d the latter you’d need to factor in road tax (free for the 77g/km 40e) while the 157g/km 40d would cost you £180… bringing the overall cost difference to just £200. So it’s as near as makes no difference. What makes a huge difference is if you intend on running one of these as a company car as the chasm in Benefit in Kind rates are significantly larger. An X5 40e will cost a 40 per cent tax payer a little over £3000 in tax whereas a 40d will be getting on for double that figure… and surely that’s a pretty large chunk of cash unless your surname’s Abramovich.

    There are some compromises in running the Hybrid 4x4, particularly if you wanted to spec a third row of seats in your X5, as this simply isn’t available in the 40e. Boot space is somewhat compromised too, and while it still has a virtually flat load bay its capacity is down to 500 litres (the 40d has 650) with the seats up, while maximum carrying capacity is down to 1720 for the 40e compared the 1870 for the non-hybrid models. Overall though I was impressed with the 40e and were my monthly company car allowance somewhat larger and I was interested in a large 4x4 it would undoubtedly be on my short list. I would be able to get virtually all the way to the office in pure electric mode, charge it for a couple of hours and return home in the same manner. The car’s energy management system would help here too. As well as the expected Drive Performance Control switch to toggle between Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport modes there’s a separate eDrive switch that allows you to tailor the use of the batteries to best effect. The default mode is ‘Auto eDrive’ which allows for electric driving up to around 40mph and focuses on the best efficiency. ‘Max eDrive’ will see the X5 running purely on electric power up to speeds of 75mph and the four-cylinder will only be awoken from its slumber should you either exceed that speed or use kick down. The last mode is ‘Save Battery’ which allows you to effectively shut off the electric motor to save the battery for when you get to an urban area later in your journey, and this would be ideal for me to switch off the electric side of the equation when I’m on the (mostly) open roads of Kent, reverting to battery power for the last congested slog into London. And if you use the satellite navigation system the car basically works all this out for you.

    It certainly won’t be for everyone, but the 40e’s combination of low running costs (depending on your driving needs), low company car tax and the fact that it’s actually a hoot to drive quickly when the mood happens to take you makes BMW’s first full hybrid a bit of a winner if you ask me. My only fear is that BMW won’t be able to make them fast enough…

    Interior of the 40e shares the same handsome architecture as other X5s.

    eDrive lets you make the most of hybrid modes; boot is smaller than regular X5 and there’s no seven-seat option.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-X5-xDrive40e-M-Sport / #BMW-X5-F15 / #BMW-X5 / #BMW-X5-xDrive40e-M-Sport-F15 / #BMW-X5-xDrive40e-F15 /

    DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with synchronous electric motor, eight-speed #Steptronic automatic, four-wheel drive

    MAX POWER: 245hp at 5000-6500rpm (petrol), 113hp at 3170rpm (electric motor)

    MAX TORQUE: 258lb ft at 1250-4800rpm (petrol), 184lb ft @ 0rpm (electric motor)
    0-62MPH: 6.8 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 130mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 85.6mpg
    CO2 EMISSIONS: 77g/km
    PRICE (OTR): £56,705
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    Electric Dreams? Sampling BMW’s all-new hybrid #BMW-3-Series , the 330e, and it’s a lot better than we were expecting. BMW’s electrifying expansion of its mainstream range continues and this is the most crucial model yet: the 330e. But do we feel a spark when driving it? Time to find out… Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: / #BMW / #BMW-F30 / #BMW-330e-F30 / #BMW-330e / #2016 / #BMW-F30/2 /

    I remember my first encounter with a BMW 330d. It was a post-face-lift E46 Saloon, a dark grey SE that I had to pick up from BMW UK’s former headquarters in Bracknell and drive back to Gloucester on a typically grimy British winter evening. At the time, I was young and hot-headed, a staunch diesel naysayer. And I certainly wasn’t alone in my opinion; despite the fledgling years of common-rail injection bringing significant and rapid improvements to old Rudolf’s compression engine, to many the 330d was an inferior alternative to a 330i – BMW’s classic, compact, straight-six petrol heartland.

    You probably know what’s coming next. I’d barely got to Swindon and the turning for the A419 (which cuts off the M4/M5 interchange by running along the fringes of the Cotswolds) before I realised that petrol’s game was up. So phenomenal was the 204hp turbodiesel that it wholly converted me to a ‘dervangelist’ in the space of about 70 miles. The four-door Three demolished the distance with disdain as it scythed through the cold, dark night at well in excess of 40mpg. It really did appear to be all things to all men.

    Of course, BMW has been doing diesel for a lot longer than that 330d of 2004, with a lineage stretching right back to the E28 524td of 1982. But it was that M57 D30 six-pot engine, seen first in the E39 530d in 1998 and then expanding into the 3 Series and other model lines, that started the seachange within the marque that saw diesels become by far the preferred choice for the majority of BMW buyers; well, in this country and Europe, at least. Presumably, BMW is hoping for a similar moment of enlightenment for its customers with this new 330e. Like the difficulty Munich encountered in getting the public to accept a ‘d’-suffix at the end of the model number instead of an ‘i’, now ‘e’ is the latest fashion and it’s the letter that supposedly makes the most eco-sense in the wake of Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ shame. Ironic, really, that diesel’s future looks under threat from petrol once more, albeit petrol with the assistance of electricity.

    That’s right, the 330e is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV. This is BMW’s i-brand know-how continuing to encroach into the marque’s core model offerings, the outlandish i3 and i8’s presence in showrooms bolstered by the likes of the X5 xDrive40e, the forthcoming BMW 740e and the 225xe Active Tourer we’ll be bringing you a review of next month. The 330e actually shares a lot of hardware with the X5 PHEV, as it has the same longitudinally-mounted 2.0-litre four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo petrol engine up front with the electric motor sandwiched into the glorious eightspeed automatic transmission, but it doesn’t get 340e badging, as its drivetrain is less powerful than the X5’s (252hp and 310lb ft, compared to 313hp and 332lb ft) and it’s also rear-wheel drive, where the SUV has traction at all corners.

    Lighter than the X5 by more than 600kg, though, the 330e is in another league in terms of its performance, be that against the clock or with regards to its energy usage. BMW quotes a rapid 6.1-second 0-62mph time and a 140mph top speed for the 330e, but it’s the official economy and CO² emissions that cause jaws to hit the floor. The 3 Series PHEV doesn’t just eclipse the X5 40e, it also embarrasses its 330i and 330d siblings; obliterating them with 148.7mpg and just 44g/km CO². Even upgrading to larger alloys only causes slight deteriorations, to 134.5mpg and 49g/km, so any way you cut it, these are truly exceptional, road tax-free returns.

    Naturally, the cynics out there will be gearing up to take the 330e’s case apart immediately, citing the fact no #PHEV can ever get near its stratospheric on-paper boasts. And, if our test drive figures are anything to go by, they’ve got plenty of ammunition. On a flat, urban/extra-urban route in and around Munich, where the temperature was seven degrees centigrade, we covered 79 miles at an average of 34.4mph and got back 62.8mpg, with 7.0kWh/62.5 miles of battery use at the same time. That’s 42 per cent of what the 330e is supposedly capable of.

    However, let’s reassess. BMW legally has to quote the NEDC figures and everyone associated with the automotive industry now knows that these bear little resemblance to reality, with the data for PHEVs particularly skewed. Furthermore, BMW maintains many of its customers worldwide only commute 19 miles a day. So, with plenty of access to charging points at home and places of work, such owners could use the 330e’s fully electric range of 25 miles day in, day out, and never touch the fossil fuel in the tank. Also, on the same route, despite it now being a four-cylinder motor, the 330i would probably have failed to surpass 30mpg and even a 330d wouldn’t have got close to the 330e’s returns. Thus, we’re inclined to label the hybrid Three as an economical success story.

    So, if we accept the electrification has, like the E46 330d did back in 2004, given all drivers the best of both worlds – economy and power – then we have to satisfy two further questions: how does the 330e drive, and has the integration of the electric motor and battery affected the car’s practicality?

    On the latter score, there’s a reduction in boot space of 110 litres to 370 litres in total – a result of the lithium-ion battery being mounted under the cargo area’s floor. However, it remains a large, wellshaped space and there’s a neat little pocket to the left-hand side in which owners can store the baggedup charging cable when it’s not in use.

    BMW has also decided not to equip the 330e with any distinctive signifiers, like flatfaced aero alloys or blue exterior trim, for example, which will easily mark it out. Only the boot badge, ‘eDrive’ logos on the C-pillars and the electric charging port on the nearside front wing differentiates it from a 330d. To all intents and purposes, from the outside the clever hybrid is just another 3 Series, which will be of appeal to potential customers.

    Inside, a few extra hybrid-related screens are available in the instrument cluster and iDrive display, there’s a read-out for the battery’s charge level, while blue stitching and mesh-effect cloth trim are specific to the 330e. There’s also the eDrive button, which – like the X5 and i8 – cycles between Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save. The first of these lets the car choose between electric, hybrid and petrol power as required, Max eDrive locks the Three into full electric mode (if the battery’s up to it) and Save favours the 2.0-litre four and brake recuperation to hold or replenish the battery’s charge.

    No matter which of these modes it’s in, the 330e drives in a supremely confident and composed manner, although its 1665kg bulk does rob it of the final degree of dynamic sharpness. However, the ride is fabulous, noise suppression is superb at all times and when it’s running in zero-emissions EV mode, it is so much quieter than either a 330i or 330d could ever hope to be. The steering is fantastic and the 330e’s body control is also top drawer, although the brakes have a slightly two-stage feel to them thanks to their energy-harvesting duties, while the 2.0-litre engine – always smooth and free-revving – isn’t one of BMW’s most charismatic units. The better news is that, whether it’s using only one of its motors or both in unison, the 330e feels extremely rapid; it’s simply that it prefers being driven just within itself, rather than being thrashed right up to the ragged edge. If that really bothers you, you’ll need a 335d, 340i or an M3 instead.

    Personally speaking, I’ve not been won over in such an alarmingly easy fashion by the 330e of 2016 as I was by the 330d 12 years ago, although this is probably the most comprehensively rounded #BMW-PHEV yet, i8 included. It’s a fine car that will absolutely meet the needs of a large proportion of 3 Series buyers, be they private or business users. There’s one more ace up the 330e’s sleeve and that’s a starting price of £28,935, including the government’s £5000 grant, as an SE; from 1 March, that grant reduces to £2500, increasing the 330e’s entry point to £31,435. But as an auto 330i starts from £34,690 (Luxury spec) and the cheapest 330d costs £37,800, you can see just how competitively BMW has priced this PHEV.

    Whatever we think of the slightly fuzzy dynamics, the fact of the matter is that the 330e is a stunning integration of electric drive into BMW’s single most important model. Does the 3 Series PHEV bring the curtain down on diesel’s short era of dominance, then? Not quite, but it’s increasingly looking like the beginning of the end for ‘d’. The future is clearly going to belong to ‘e’.

    Interior is basically as per all other F30 Threes bar the additional read-outs on the iDrive screen and the car’s ability to do 120km/h without bothering the petrol engine!

    Whether it’s using only one of its motors or both in unison, the 330e feels extremely rapid.

    Hybrid drivetrain includes an electric motor within the gearbox casing and a battery pack under the boot floor which does make the boot 110 litres smaller.


    DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four petrol with synchronous electric motor, eight-speed #Steptronic auto, rear-wheel drive
    MAX POWER: Petrol 184hp at 5000-6500rpm; electric 88hp at 2500rpm; combined peak output 252hp
    MAX TORQUE: Petrol 214lb ft at 1350-4250rpm; electric 184lb ft at 0-2500rpm; combined peak output 310lb ft, 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 140mph
    EMISSIONS: 44g/km
    PRICE: From £28,935, including government’s £5000 grant (until 1 March)

    Charging point hidden behind flap on left front wing; it’ll take a full charge in three hours from a standard domestic setup, two and a half hours from a #BMW-i-Wallbox .
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    The #2016 #BMW-7-Series range expands / #UK / #BMW-740d-xDrive / #BMW-740d / #BMW-740d-xDrive-G11 / #BMW-740d-G11 / #BMW-G11

    This month sees the introduction of three brandnew models to the 7 Series range with the debut of the 740d xDrive, 740Ld xDrive and the only petrol-powered model currently available in the UK, the 750i.

    The BMW 750i is powered by the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that offers up 449hp and 479lb ft of torque, endowing it with a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds yet a very reasonable combined economy of 34.9mpg. Prices start at £76,320 for the SE and rise to £79,970 for the M Sport.

    No doubt the 740d xDrive versions will be far more popular in our diesel-dominated market and all models are powered by the 320hp/502lb ft version of the 3.0-litre engine. The standard wheelbase machine completes the 0-62mph dash in 5.2 seconds and returns 55.4mpg while the Ld model’s figures are 5.3 seconds and 54.3mpg. Prices start at £72,060 for the 740d xDrive SE and rise to £79,675 for the 740Ld xDrive M Sport.

    These models will be joined in 2016 by the fourth and fifth #PHEV s in the #BMW line-up, the #BMW-740e-G11 and the #BMW-740Le-xDrive-G12 , with pricing for these being announced closer to their market launch.
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    BMW’s #2015-Frankfurt-Motor-Show Highlights #2015

    While other manufacturers were making a big noise at Frankfurt with super- and hyper-car reveals and futuristic concepts BMW quietly went about its business of showing off its latest range, many of which hadn’t been seen in public before. The Seven was obviously of big interest and it seemed like most people seeing the car for the first time were keen to jump in and check out some of the technology on offer, not least the new gesture control system. It was quite amusing to stand outside the car and watch as a variety of hand signals were attempted with varying degrees of success accompanied by looks of consternation or joy on peoples’ faces depending on whether they had been successful or not.

    Perhaps the most important car in the BMW hall though was the one that many onlookers didn’t really pay much attention too – the new face-lifted 3 Series – as it looks so similar to the pre-face-lift machine! There was plenty of interest in the new addition to the range though, the 330e plug-in hybrid (PHEV), that uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine along with an electric motor for a combined output of 252hp and 310lb ft of torque. This is enough to propel the 330e from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds before hitting its 140mph top speed. Depending on the wheel and tyre combination its economy on the official (and it has to be said wholly unrepresentative) test cycle ranges from 134.5-148.7mpg while emissions are an environmentally friendly 44-49g/km. When running on a fully charged battery the 330e can manage up to 25 miles on electric power alone which could make it a very attractive choice for commuters when it goes on sale in the UK next year.

    The 3 Series wasn’t the only machine to spawn a PHEV version though as BMW also gave a debut to the #BMW-220xe Active Tourer. This uses the 1.5-litre threecylinder petrol unit to drive the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rear wheels and together the two power units are capable of delivering peak figures of 224hp and 284lb ft of torque which endows the 220xe with a pretty sprightly 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds. Like the 330e it also posts some impressive, if unlikely in the real world, economy and emissions figures of 134.5 mpg and 46g/km of CO2, and like the #BMW-330e it should be able to travel up to 25 miles on purely electric power. The New X1 was also being given its world debut, and while there was no PHEV version – yet – we did glimpse the M Sport styling kit for the car for the first time which does give it a beefier look.

    Overall it was a relatively subdued show for BMW, and on the press day of the show most of the journalists who attended were too busy tweeting about BMW’s poor Chairman, #Harald-Krüger , who unfortunately appeared to have a dizzy spell and stumbled to the floor right in the middle of the #BMW Press conference – cue plenty of “BMW Chairman Collapses on stage” headlines. Fortunately he recovered shortly after and it was reported he’d been feeling unwell before the press conference but felt the show must go on. Next on the show calendar will be Tokyo… where there will no doubt be another glut of #PHEV s to look at!
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    2015 #BMW-X5-xDrive40e-F15 / #BMW-F15 / #BMW-X5-F15

    BMW is now transferring its hybrid technology from the i cars into the regular range. The first to go ‘plug-in’ is the X5 xDrive40e – does it make a valid anti-diesel case? Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: BMW.

    If the future-shock i8 could speak, we reckon it might be smugly quoting Darth Vader: “Now the circle is complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.” And who would it be addressing in such haughty tones? Why, BMW itself, of course. Because, following the stunning success of the fledgling i brand launched just four years ago, the tricks BMW has learned regarding plugin hybrid technology are filtering back into the ‘core’ brand – and the first series production model to benefit is the X5.

    There’s no surprises there; since it was launched in 1999, an incredible 1.5 million X5s have been built at Spartanburg in the US. So as a hugely successful model in its own right, it’s the sensible choice for Munich to electrify first. BMW calls this ‘when xDrive meets eDrive’.

    The X5 xDrive40e, to give it the proper nomenclature that fits in with the rest of BMW’s badging, is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV. The format is fairly simple – up front is the familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four, here making 245hp and 258lb ft of torque, in the middle is an eightspeed automatic gearbox and drive to all four corners, and underneath the boot floor is the eDrive lithiumion battery pack. The synchronous electric motor itself, rated at 113hp and 184lb, is sequestered away in casing of the automatic transmission.

    Next year, the xDrive40e will be followed by a 340e and a 740e, both of which will use the same drivetrain in differing states of tune and then more ‘regular’ BMWs are likely to follow suit. Talking of power, the X5 PHEV is another of those hybrids where the peak system output figures are not the sum of their parts. At most, the xDrive40e delivers 313hp and 332lb ft of torque; the first figure is comparable with an xDrive40d but the latter is down 133lb ft on the diesel’s 465lb ft maximum.

    Nevertheless, some of the numbers connected to the X5 PHEV make for mind-boggling reading. It weighs the best part of 2.3 tonnes but can apparently return up to 85.6mpg combined economy while emitting just 77g/km CO². And yet despite being ‘only’ a four-cylinder vehicle, it will hit 62mph from rest in 6.8 seconds. Top speed is an electronically limited 130mph, in Auto eDrive mode.

    Ah yes, the ‘modes’. Like every X5, the PHEV still has the Driving Experience Control switch to change the car through Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro settings. But just aft of that is a new button, labelled ‘eDrive’. Here, there are another three options: Auto eDrive, in which the car shuffles power between the various hybrid sources according to driving demands; Max eDrive, which keeps the X5 electric-only (unless there’s no battery power left or you depress the throttle into kick-down); and Save, which either maintains the battery at or juices it up to 50 per cent charge by using the petrol engine and brake recuperation. Set the sat nav and the X5 will even work out whether it’s in a built-up area or not, switching between electrified modes autonomously. Handily, you can over-ride that at any time by pressing the eDrive button.

    All of the on-board technology works like an absolute dream, naturally. With a brimmed battery and Max eDrive selected, step-off acceleration is silent and suitably brisk. The electric motor, ZF auto and xDrive traction all shift the bulky X5 without any drama at all. You can go up to 19 miles at speeds up to 75mph without ever once troubling the petrol motor, which will be more than enough for suburban commuters, and it’ll take around three hours to replenish the battery via a 230-volt mains socket or optional BMW i-Wallbox.

    But in Auto eDrive, the way the X5 switches the petrol on and off as required is seriously spooky. There’s no shudder as it kicks into action, and the only way you’ll tell it has cut off is watching the rev counter suddenly die away while it coasts. Silky smooth doesn’t even cover it – the drivetrain is pure liquid and much quieter than any BMW diesel. The handling is fine, the extra bulk of the #eDrive kit not ruining the X5’s poise, while refinement levels are generally high. The engine only gets noisy at about 4500rpm and tyre noise is marked, but the xDrive40e cruises serenely.

    What a shame, then, that the ride is questionable. On the typically excellent German roads around Munich, too often the secondary ride was weirdly busy. There were also a few occasions where the car rose up on tiptoes, as if the dampers were struggling to control the body. Odd, because self-levelling rear air suspension is standard fit on the X5 PHEV. The SUV was never out-and-out uncomfortable, but we’ll need to reserve final judgement on the ride until we’ve driven it in the UK.

    There are very few indicators that differentiate the xDrive40e. Discreet ‘eDrive’ boot badging and the door-mounted model inscription aside, there’s the charging point on the front nearside wing and trapezoidal tailpipes to clock. Inside, it’s the eDrive button, blue illumination in the dashboard and some extra electric-related screens in the iDrive. It’s otherwise as luxurious and pleasing on the eye in there as any other X5 – albeit the battery under the boot floor means no seven-seat option. Cargo capacity stands at 500 to 1720 litres, though, so there is a benefit to that.

    The biggest problem for the X5 xDrive40e is the NEDC (New European Driving Cyclefuel) consumption test. A quirk of its setup means that BMW is forced to quote those stratospheric eco-stats, when officials on hand at the launch freely admitted that only a handful of owners could ever hope to achieve anything like those levels. The minute you rely on the petrol engine, the #BMW-X5 dips to much more real-world figures; we saw around 35mpg on a mixed Autobahn/country roads run and that’s not a number that’s going to get buyers flocking to showrooms. Prices are yet to be confirmed ahead of its November on-sale date but BMW says it will be ‘broadly comparable’ to the xDrive40d. Which actually means ‘in the £51,000 ballpark’. It can be fitted with all the options you would find on a normal X5, bar those rear seats, and will be backed up by the 360 Electric customer support package as found with the i3 and i8.

    Diesel is currently being demonised as the dark side of the force and plug-in hybrids such as this X5 get more impressive by the day. But the firm ride, lack of a seven-seat option and less-than-spectacular realworld economy figures mean we’re not 100 per cent convinced by the xDrive40e, certainly not when compared to the brilliance of the 40d. You can be sure, though, that future #BMW hybrids will be the masters of diesel. Darth i8 will be pleased.

    TECH DATA #BMW-X5-xDrive40e #2015

    DRIVETRAIN: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol with synchronous electric motor, eight-speed #Steptronic automatic, four-wheel drive.
    MAX POWER: 245hp at 5000-6500rpm (petrol), 113hp at 3170rpm (electric motor)
    MAX TORQUE: 258lb ft at 1250-4800rpm (petrol), 184lb ft @ 0rpm (electric motor)
    0-62MPH: 6.8 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 130mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 85.6mpg
    CO2 EMISSIONS: 77g/km
    PRICE: Circa £51,000

    The #PHEV X5’s cockpit is reassuringly familiar with just the eDrive button showing the car’s eco credentials. iDrive screen can show the car’s different drive modes demonstrating when it’s charging or how much eDrive you’ve used.
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