As the next generation BMW 3 Series is getting closer to its world debut at the end of this year, the Munich-based automaker has already begun testing a hybrid drivetrain for their best seller vehicle. An F30 3 Series with the usual hybrid warning stickers was spotted during some test trials in Munich.
The test mule features some of the specially designed wheel for hybrid vehicles, but interesting enough, it is equipped with dual exhaust pipes typically reserved for twin-turbo six-cylinder models.
Back in May 2010, at the annual shareholders meeting in Munich, BMW’s CEO Norbert Reithofer told the audience that the technology found in the upcoming 5 Series Hybrid will be inherited by a 3 Series model as well. “As early as next year, the new BMW 5-series will also be available as a full hybrid,” he said. “And we are anticipating the hybridisation of further models series, such as the BMW 3-series”, said Reithofer.
Reithofer said demand from Japan was one of the main reasons for BMW pursuing hybrid technology. “Sales of hybrid vehicles [in Japan] have skyrocketed,” he said. “If you don’t have a hybrid in your portfolio, soon you might not be selling any cars in Japan at all.” The move is clearly a sales based decision, but at the same time, a new hybrid will fit well in BMW’s plans to reduce CO2 emission by 25 percent before 2020.
A recent analysis of the 2012 BMW 3 Series by our own Hugo Becker mentioned the following: “What will interesting is will BMW avail themselves of two other options that the 8HP provides, an eight speed dual clutch gearbox and a hybrid drivetrain (an electric motor nose on the transmission and additional batteries). If a hybrid is done – and we expect it will be, it should be on the 328i and stop/start technology would be included with it”
The hybrid version of the new 3 Series is expected to be launched sometimes in 2013 and most likely will be available in the U.S. as well.[Photo: Car and Driver ]