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PHOTO CAPTION: BMW ActiveHybrids on display at 2012 NAIAS. Photo courtesy of Conceptcarz.

BMW Hybrids Combine Mileage and Muscle

Jim Motavalli reviews BMW's latest hybrid performance car, the ActiveHybrid 3.

Published: 16-Jan-2012

The hybrid race has gotten more competitive. I’ve long wanted to see cheaper ones, and Toyota has finally answered my prayers with a 53-mpg PriusC for less than $19,000. That will be a tough act to beat. But the field is wide, and there’s a case to be made for something completely different — hybrids with both muscle and mileage.

BMW, which has long claimed that diesel was the answer to the world’s environmental problems, has finally bowed to the inevitable and is starting to electrify. It debuted an all-new sixth-generation 3-Series, and added an ActiveHybrid 3 to complement the ActiveHybrid 5, both of which are on display at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

From BMW’s perspective, hybrids are an opportunity to give buyers a diesel level of fuel economy without sacrificing performance. The ActiveHybrid 3, for instance, offers the acceleration of the 335i with the mpg of the 328i.

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