Can a car be rewarding to drive and efficient? BMW certainly thinks so. But what BMW electric and plug-in hybrid cars are available now, and what’s coming soon?
Here are the main highlights of BMW’s plug-in models:
The BMW i3 is the brand’s only pure electric car at the moment, although that’s due to change soon (see below). The i3 is one of the lightest EVs, it’s rear-wheel drive, and there’s the instantly available 100% torque of the electric powertrain, meaning that this is one of the best all-electric driver’s cars – especially in i3s form. The i3 used to be available as an all-electric model and also as a range-extender, but the range-extender model was taken off sale when the new WLTP economy and emissions test was introduced. The electric driving range for the latest BMW i3 120Ah is 182-188 miles. Since April 2020, drivers of the all-electric BMW i3 pay zero Benefit in Kind company car tax.
The BMW i8 has the looks and driving experience of a supercar, yet you’re likely to enjoy an average of 40-50mpg from the plug-in hybrid powertrain. However there’s one important thing to know about the BMW i8: production has now ceased. If you want a new or nearly-new i8, you’d better be quick.
The new BMW 3 Series has the handling of a Touring Car, yet it also has the amazing ride quality of a BMW 5 Series. The BMW 330e has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, combining a 2-litre petrol engine with a battery and electric motor, to deliver an official combined WLTP fuel economy figure of 200mpg and emissions of just 37 g/km CO2. Plug-in hybrids have had a bad press due to company car drivers buying them for low Benefit in Kind tax and never charging them, resulting in poor real-life fuel economy and emissions. However the one big advantage of the BMW 330e is that it’s still economical at motorway speeds when using the petrol engine. And if you use a plug-in hybrid as it should be used, on electric power for short journeys (it has an electric driving range of up to 36 miles), then you could easily enjoy over 100mpg. Benefit in Kind company car tax for the BMW 330e is just 10% – compared to 28% or 29% for an equivalent diesel car. And it gets even better: very soon, and for the first time, you’ll be able to buy a BMW 3 Series Touring with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The BMW X5 xDrive45e is a plug-in hybrid yet it has an official all-electric range of 54 miles. This should allow many trips to be completed using just electric power, resulting in zero tailpipe emissions, however if the petrol engine has to be used for longer journeys, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s an incredibly smooth 6-cylinder, 3-litre unit. Benefit in Kind company car tax for the BMW X5 xDrive45e is just 6%.
The BMW 5 Series, the big brother to the 3 Series, is designed to deliver maximum comfort over lots of motorway miles. The plug-in hybrid BMW 530e has the benefit that you can drive on electric power for journeys up to 32 miles, but there’s also huge performance from the petrol-electric powertrain. Benefit in Kind company car tax for the BMW 530e is 10-12%.
The BMW 7 Series aims to offer ultimate luxury but also retain the BMW genes of being a driver’s car. In 745e form, it also adds the capability of zero tailpipe emission driving into the mix – as well as an official fuel economy figure of 100mpg.
The BMW 225xe M Sport Active Tourer aims to combine a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a family-friendly body style and a BMW driving experience. With an official 28-mile electric driving range, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer has CO2 emissions of 52g/km and fuel economy of 113mpg.
The BMW X1 xDrive25e and the BMW X2 xDrive25e feature plug-in hybrid technology with an electric-only range of up to 35 miles, fuel consumption of 134.5-148.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 48-43 g/km. The BMW X1 xDrive25e is priced from £38,200 and is available to order now. The BMW X2 xDrive25e will be available from summer 2020.
The new BMW X3 xDrive30e has an all-electric range of up to 34 miles and offers combined economy of 128.4-117.7mpg along with CO2 emissions of 49g/km. You can order one now.
The electric BMW iX3 SUV is due in 2020, offering the practicality of a BMW X3 with an all-electric powertrain.
If you’re looking for the driving experience of the BMW 330e, but with a pure electric rather than a plug-in hybrid powertrain, then the BMW i4 is the car to wait for. Due in 2021, it promises an electric range of 373 miles.