The Washington Post

Nuts & Bolts: 2013 BMW Active Hybrid 3

Bottom line: The 2013 BMW Active Hybrid 3 is a bona fide full gas-electric hybrid. At the moment, however, it is for people more concerned about prestige than they are about fuel economy and reduced tailpipe emissions.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three. The car is an absolute joy to drive.

Head-turning quotient: Superior. I live part time in New York City and environs, where parking attendants aren’t easily smitten by luxury metal. But the attendants went nuts over the Active Hybrid 3. I could’ve charged them for the privilege of parking it.

Body style/layout: This is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car with four side doors and a traditional notch-back trunk. It is a member of the famed BMW 3-Series and is available in three iterations — Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport. It’s an “entry-level” luxury car, which translates here to nominally starting under $50,000.

Drive system: The car is equipped with a 3-liter, 24-valve in-line six-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing. The gasoline engine works in tandem with an electric motor powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery. Together, the systems produce 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed — repeat, eight-speed — automatic.

The electric system handles most of the work in low-speed, low-load conditions, such as city driving. The gasoline engine takes over on the highway and in heavy-load driving. The two systems work together seamlessly.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity is 14 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 15 gallons of gasoline (premium unleaded is required).

Mileage: My real-world mileage was 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Speed is consumptive. Next time, I will slow down and save.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; front-rear parking proximity warning system; a post-collision safety system; driver and front-passenger head-restraint whiplash protection; high-intensity-discharge headlamps; side and head air bags; and a rearview camera.

Price: The 2013 BMW Active Hybrid 3 sedan starts at $49,650, with a dealer’s invoice price of $45,680. Price as tested is $57,525, including $6,950 in options (onboard navigation; blind-side and lane-departure warning systems with active mitigation, such as a vibrating steering wheel; premium sound system; and other items) and a $925 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $52,925.

Warren Brown is a columnist who writes about autos for The Washington Post.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans