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2015 BMW ActiveHybrid 3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/17/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is now available with a new 18-inch wheel design, Oyster Dakota leather, and brushed aluminum trim in the Luxury Line. Sport Line cars can now be optioned with Beige Dakota Leather and dark burl walnut wood trim. M Sport models are now available with Fineline anthracite wood trim, and the M Sport brakes can now be combined with 18-inch or 19-inch wheels. Enhanced Bluetooth with smartphone integration is now a stand-alone option. Two 18-inch wheel designs are now available as individual options and no longer require a line selection.


Vehicle Summary

The 2015 ActiveHybrid 3 is the hybrid variant of the 3 Series. The car is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter hybrid I-6 with a total system output of 335 hp paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is good for a powerful car at 25/33 mpg city/highway. It has an electric-only range of around 2.5 miles.


The 2015 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 doesn’t sacrifice performance in the name of fuel economy — the car has plenty of power on tap for passing and merging. It also drives like a conventional gas-powered vehicle and the well-executed brake energy regeneration system is hardly noticeable. Cargo space is slightly smaller than in a gas- or diesel-powered 3 Series but the hybrid retains the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, so it’s still relatively practical. The NHTSA gave the 2015 ActiveHybrid 3 a five-star overall safety rating out of a possible five stars.

What We Think

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 retains much of the 3 Series’ performance and handling without sacrificing fuel economy. In a 2013 First Drive we said that the car is able to “burn rubber and hustle past redline in every gear” and that drivers can maximize gas mileage using Eco Pro mode. However, the car’s price $51,650 including destination—a $6,400 premium over the gas-powered 335i—means that you won't recoup the difference over the 335i in gas savings anytime soon.

You’ll Like

  • Great performance and handling
  • Packaging of battery doesn’t delete split-folding rear seats
  • Surprisingly good fuel economy

You Won’t Like

  • Trunk is slightly smaller
  • Expensive
  • Engine stop-start system is unrefined

Key Competitors

  • Lexus ES 300h
  • Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid
  • Infiniti Q50 Hybrid


2 star


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