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2015 BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid

Hybrids and plug-ins are becoming big business these days and even the generally performance-oriented big dogs are getting in on the action. Spy photographers just recently snapped these photos of a modified 3 Series during some cold-weather testing.

If the “Hybrid Test Vehicle” sticker on the driver’s door didn’t spell it out well enough, the hint of an electric charging port door just aft of the left, front tire should provide a hint to what BMW ’s working on. BMW’s iconic 3 Series is going electric. At least just partially.

Not much is know about the powertrain of this test mule, but we’d suspect it’s a similar set up to what BMW was testing with in the X5 eDrive . It featured a turbocharged four-cylinder paired to a 95-horsepower electric motor and advanced Li-ion batter back. The combo was good for a 0-60 time of less than seven seconds and an all-electric range of roughly 20 miles. Fuel consumption is said to average 62 mpg when both systems work simultaneously.

That gas engine, electric motor-combination would likely result in more impressive performance numbers in the lighter, smaller 3 Series. Pure speculation through educated guessing have us figuring the BMW 3 eDrive could achieve closer to 25 miles of all-electric driving and an increased overall fuel efficiency of 65 mpg. The X5’s all-electric top speed is 75 mph, but with less wind resistance, the 3 would likely reach closer to 80 or 90 mph.

Only time will tell as BMW develops this and it i-line vehicles, like the upcoming i3 and smokin’ hot i8.

Click pas the jump for info on the standard BMW 3 Series sedans

Spy Shots

February 5, 2014 - First Testing Session

BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid
BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid
BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid

February 12, 2014 - BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid Goes For Another Testing Session

BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid
BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid
BMW 3 Series Plug-In Hybrid

There’s really not much to see on this test mule except the telltale "Hybrid Test Vehicle" sticker and charging port the BMW cleverly tried to hide. Other than that, this is you run-of-the-mill 3er doing its thing in that white, cold, slushy stuff.

2013 BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series Sedan

The 3 Series has long been a benchmark in the automotive world for hitting the sweet spot of performance luxury in a four-door saloon. The 3’s broad range of cars takes the 3 Series from well-balanced, moderately-powered four-door car to wildly and outrageously-fun track monster that is the M3.

Prices range from $32,750 for the standard 320i up to $45,400 for the 335i xDrive. Jumping to the M-lineup of 3 Series puts you in another league of cars altogether as an M3 will set you back roughly $60,000.

Competitors

2013 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

We’re on the fence about listing the Tesla Model S as a competitor to a potential BMW 3 Series hybrid, namely because the Model S is an all-electric vehicle. It’s outright performance, however, is what sets the Tesla Tesla apart from other hybrid for EV vehicles. It can burn rubber and make lap times more appropriate to gasoline-drinking sports cars.

2014 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain is more in line with that the 3 Series most likely has lurking under its white hood. The Volt has a traditional gasoline-powered engine that basically acts as a range extender when the on-board battery power is fully depleted. Putting the Volt even more in line with competing with the 3 Series is its price. A new Volt will set you back $34,185, whereas the Tesla costs quite a bit more at $69,900.



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