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MSRP: $49,650 - $49,650
Invoice: $45,680 - $45,680
MPG: 25 City / 33 Hwy

2013 BMW 3-Series Hybrid Review

Automotive critics say that while the all-new 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is masterfully engineered, it falls short of their expectations for a hybrid car.

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Unlike many hybrid cars, reviewers are thrilled by the ActiveHybrid 3’s power. They are also pleased with the ActiveHybrid 3’s athletic handling and precise steering, saying that its driving dynamics are quite similar to the non-hybrid BMW 3-Series. While journalists agrees that BMW has created a hybrid car that’s a thrill to drive, the ActiveHybrid 3’s 25/33 mpg city/highway fuel economy falls short of their expectations. They note that the non-hybrid BMW 335i offers just as much performance, costs thousands less and earns fuel economy estimates that are nearly as good.

Most test drivers haven’t said much about the BMW ActiveHybrid 3’s interior. However, that’s likely because it’s quite similar to the non-hybrid BMW 3-Series, which was redesigned last year. A few unique qualities do stand out to reviewers, though. They appreciate that, unlike many hybrid cars, you can expand cargo space in the 2013 ActiveHybrid 3 with fully-functional split-folding rear seats. Reviewers also like that the optional navigation system works with the hybrid powertrain to maximize fuel efficiency. Program a destination in, and it can analyze elevation changes along the route and conserve electric power for uphill climbs. Standard features are typical for the class, and include BMW’s iDrive system, a USB port and Bluetooth phone connectivity. A variety of option packages and standalone options can add features like heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel, navigation, leather upholstery and forward-collision warning and blind-spot monitoring systems.

  • "It might have one of the best-integrated hybrid systems in the world, but with no significant performance advantage and a negligible fuel economy improvement, there's simply no compelling reason to buy it." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The ActiveHybrid 3 is an impressively engineered car boasting a state-of-the-art driveline that, if BMW's figures are to be believed, will net you the sort of fuel economy usually associated with much more compact and less well-equipped cars." -- AutoWeek 
  • "With the extra coin required, we'd have thought better economy numbers would be a part of the deal. BMW could have achieved them by instead coupling its turbocharged four to the hybrid technology." -- Car and Driver 
  • "You'd probably have to go some distance to recoup the extra $6,500 that it costs over the stock 335i sedan, but that's not such a huge sum for a car that provides more performance, better economy and the diversion of multiple driving modes. Looks a lot better than a Prius, too." -- Edmunds 

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Other Cars to Consider

If you’re let down by the ActiveHybrid 3’s fuel economy, consider the Chevrolet Volt. While the Volt can’t match the ActiveHybrid 3 in terms of performance, reviewers appreciate the Volt’s unique, high-tech powertrain and composed handling.

Though it costs a little more, the Infiniti M Hybrid offers better fuel economy, a more powerful engine and more interior space. Test drivers also like the M Hybrid’s user-friendly tech features and high-quality interior materials.

Compare the 3-Series Hybrid, Volt and M Hybrid »

Details: 2013 BMW 3-Series Hybrid

The 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 seats five and has rear-wheel drive. A 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine and an electric motor are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Only one trim is available, though the ActiveHybrid 3 is available with a number of options, as well as packages which add interior technology features and upgraded interior materials. The ActiveHybrid 3 is all-new for 2013 and shares its platform with the BMW 3-Series sedan.

Review Last Updated: 5/19/14

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