BMW Active Hybrid 3 Review
Life's wonder

Story and photos by Azfar Hashim
31 Dec 2012

A hybrid 3 Series sounds awkward, but BMW thinks otherwise

Introduction, Exterior

They’re a precariously rum lot, these engineers behind the whole ActiveHybrid range.

We have to thank Toyota for their pursuit of green motoring. With their extensive research and aggressive product list, it spurred most auto manufacturer to follow suit, developing their very own hybrid technology.

Then, we also have to thanks Lexus. For they were freaky (in a good way) enough to make hybrids unworldly fast; that, ladies and gents, also pushed the limitations of hybrid technology in cars.

And now there’s BMW to look at. They’re a precariously rum lot, these engineers behind the whole ActiveHybrid range. If it takes engineers to develop hybrids, then obviously it took superb freaks to actually build a turbocharged hybrid… that’s frugal at the same time.

BMW is on a roll. First, the ActiveHybrid 5; then, the 7 Series went through the same treatment. And now, meet the ActiveHybrid 3.

This is quite an important car for BMW. Firstly, it completes the 3 Series range (until the new M3 arrives, that is). Secondly, it’s an alternative to the other more predictable hybrid you can find in the market. Thirdly, it’s the only hybrid in its class – none from Audi (A4), Mercedes-Benz (C-Class), Lexus (IS) or even Volvo (S60). Lastly, it’s oh-so-damn fast for a hybrid.

Before we proceed with all the typical new car review formalities, let’s begin with the ActiveHybrid 3’s aesthetics.

For the exterior, the differences between this and the ‘regular’ 3 Series are rather subtle. The first give away are the ‘ActiveHybrid 3’ badges adorning the C-pillars and boot. The second indication are those unique, ActiveHybrid-only 18-inch alloys wrapped in runflat 225/45 R-18 Continental ContiSportContact rubbers – some might opine its design remind you of those from a decade ago…

The front bumper is different as well. Simply take a glimpse at the foglamp’s housing and you should be able to notice a far more stylish take here compared to the 335i’s.  Then to make things more dramatic, a pair of exhaust tips peeks out of the rear bumper – should be good enough to scare off tailgaters.

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Engine Capacity 2979cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 6
Power 302bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 1200rpm
Power to Weight 174.6 bhp per ton


Acceleration 5.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR
Steering Electric


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4624 x 1811 x 1429) mm
Wheelbase 2810 mm
Kerb Weight 1730 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 57 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs