BMW said that the hybrid version of the 2012 BMW 3-Series will be displayed at the upcoming 2012 Detroit Auto Show together with the other models in the 3-Series range, the new M5 and the i EV concepts. The 3 Series had actually made its global debut last September at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show but it didn’t have the gas-electric version yet. In Detroit, the four-cylinder engines mark their return in 3-Series cars for the U.S.
BMW will also introduce the highest gas mileage ever to be seen in a 3-Series. It offers 36 mpg on the European test cycles.
The car delivers a 40-kw (55-hp) electric motor positioned between the ActiveHybrid 3's 300-hp twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine and the standard eight-speed auto box. In electric-only mode, it could accelerate to 37 mph and it is capable of cruising at 100 mph. The same engine is used but it’s still about 12.5% more efficient than the 335i. The ActiveHybrid 3 will start selling in the global market on Feb. 11.
In the BMW 3 ActiveHybrid, further development has been done to the advanced-design power electronics. Apart from ensuring the operational synergy of the petrol and electric motors with absolute respect to the current driving situation, proactive and anticipatory driving situation analysis is also supported for added energy management efficiency. This is accomplished by linking the power electronics to the optional navigation system Professional.
Upon activation of destination guidance, the electronics interprets data regarding approaching alterations in external conditions and/or driver requirements. From this data assessment, depending on navigational data quality, optimal vehicular adaptations can be prepared in advance, including the anticipatory management of all powertrain systems and on-board electronics. These are all efficiently regulated to maximise the remaining available energy.
Route topography and speed limits are a couple of factors that influence the management of powertrain operation. For instance, if a downhill path is anticipated, the BMW 3 ActiveHybrid can prepare all the high-voltage battery's electrical energy to supply additional driving power, because battery recharging can just take place during the predicted descent, without any fuel consumption.
During more prolonged downhill drives, the electric motor can function as a generator and recharge the battery while maintaining speed. Management of the operating strategy can also be done as much as necessary such that the battery charging is optimised especially as the destination approaches, ensuring an increased “last lap” electric driving range.
The BMW 3 ActiveHybrid’s powertrain components’ operating statuses can be clearly seen on model-specific displays in both the instrument panel and Control Display. Along with the displays for energy flow and recuperation, beside the rev counter, there is a boost effect gauge showing what the electric motor provides when the car is accelerating.
A model-specific menu in the iDrive operating system shows various important readings, including the charge level of the lithium-ion high-voltage battery and the power sharing between the petrol and electric motors while travelling. Fuel consumption history is also accessible, and this shows what has been consumed in the last 15 minutes as well as the electric motor usage.