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BMW iPerformance

BMW X5 XDrive40e iPerformance being charged.

BMW X5 XDrive40e iPerformance

Fifty or even thirty years ago, if you’d asked anybody to describe what they thought some of the more desirable BMWs of the late twenty-teens (or whatever they are going to call this decade), a lot of people would have described something with a big powerful engine that ran on premium petrol.  Hardly anybody, except maybe a few visionaries, would have picked that BMW would have turned to hybrid technology, blending electric motors and petrol engines to create the iPerformance series.

In all of the offerings in the BMW iPerformance range, you’ll find one of the German marque’s finely tuned petrol engines that have been carefully honed to consume as little fuel as possible while maximising performance.  You’ll also find a plug-in electric motor that can be recharged at one of the many charging stations that are springing up around Australia or at home.  These engines can work alone – especially the electric engine around the city – or together when a bit of extra oomph is needed.

BMW 330e iPerformance sedan around town

BMW 330e iPerformance sedan

At the time of writing (early 2018), BMW has got four iPerformance models on the Australian market, although we’re sure to see this range expanded as the years go by and hybrid and/or electric motoring becomes more widespread and as technologies improve. Currently, discerning buyers who want the combination of luxury and sustainability in a highly desirable package can choose from the 3-series iPerformance sedan, the 5-series iPerformance sedan, the 7-series iPerformance sedan and the X5 iPerformance SUV.

The BMW 3-series iPerformance sedan is also known as the BMW 330e iPerformance, with the e on the model name indicating an electric/hybrid motor.  It shares its overall styling and features with the other mid-size sedans in the 3-series range, but the key difference is in the engine (and, of course, the eDrive and BMW i Blue badging placed discreetly but proudly on the exterior).  The engines in question are a 2-L 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 185 kW of power and 420 Nm of torque – perfect for the situations where the petrol motor will typically be used, such as during overtaking manoeuvres, and it’s got a respectable enough 0–100 km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds.  The electric motor can produce 65 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque, and it has a range of     km before it needs to be recharged.  The test fuel consumption figures for this hybrid engine is 2.1 L/100 km, although we all know that those are figures from the lab and the real world usually demands a bit more fuel thanks to crosswinds and the like. The engines come coupled up to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and you’ve got the option of selecting your driving style through the eDrive (choose from Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Battery Save) and the Drive Mode selctor so that the electric motor, the petrol motor and the gear shifts happen in the way that you want them to – or you can use the paddle shifters.   The charging cable for the BMW iPerformance 330e comes with the vehicle (it’s 5 m long) and one of the distinctive safety features is the little auditory warning for pedestrians (electric motors are practically silent).

The BMW iPerformance 330e sedan has all the other superb features that you’d find inside a 3-series sedan in the Sport Line (and describing these would probably require a whole separate review.  Some of the more notable features include the souped-up infotainment system that includes navigation, an8.8-inch display screen and masses of memory for audio files; BMW’s Driver Assistant package (approach control warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning and light city braking) and the Head-up display; dual-zone air conditioning; and active safety features that include not just the stability package (traction control, cornering braking control, ABS brakes and braking assist) but also the attentiveness assistant.  Nineteen-inch alloy wheels come as standard.

If you want something a bit larger than the smallish medium 3-series BMW iPerformance, then the 5-series iPerformance sedan (aka the BMW 530e) might be more up your street.  This larger sedan shares the same petrol engine as the 330e (2 L, 4 cylinders, 185 kW and 420 Nm of torque) and the same electric motor (83 kW and 250 Nm).  With the larger body, the 0–100 km/h time is a shade slower at 6.2 seconds (not that you’d really notice the difference) and the combined fuel consumption figure is 2.3 L/100 km.  Again, the eDrive selector allows you to adjust how the electric and petrol motors interplay, and there’s an acoustic pedestrian warning system.

Key features on the BMW iPerformance 530e sedan that set it apart from its smaller sibling (apart from the size, which seems to apply to the navigation system’s screen size – 10.25 inches – as well as the overall body size) include the improved Driving Assistant Plus, which adds cross-traffic warnings and crossroads warnings to what you’ll find in the 330e; a grand total of four 12-V sockets in the cabin, active cruise control and ambient lighting for the interior that has 11 settings. LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, Bluetooth prep and heated seats with lumbar support for driver and front passenger also sound pretty attractive.

Things really go up to the next level with the 7-series iPerformance sedan (740e), which comes with three trim levels (Standard, Exclusive and M Sport).  The petrol engine inside this very, very classy large sedan might look the same at first glance – 2 L and 4 cylinders – but it has been tweaked, refined and tuned so that its maximum power output is 240 kW and its torque curve peaks at 500 Nm for a 0–100 sprint time of 5.4 seconds.  Coupled to the standard BMW iPerformance electric motor (83 kW and 250 Nm), it manages a combined fuel consumption figure of 2.2 L/100 km. Like the other BMW iPerformance models, it’s got 8-speed automatic transmission and the eDrive adjustment as well as Drive Mode selection, and the audio warning for pedestrians.

BMW 740e iPerformance sedan: luxury in a hybrid form

BMW 740e iPerformance sedan

Driving the BMW iPerformance 740i is likely to be fun thanks to the sweet adaptive 2-axle suspension that can be manually raised at low speeds and will self-level at high speeds.  Combine that with the 7-series’ comprehensive stability package and all the driver aids (the Driver Assistant Plus package described above) and you’ve got something that’s smooth and easy to drive around town or out on the open road.  It’s got parking assistance so it can park itself and all the cameras (360-degrees, top and 3D); however, unlike all the other 7-series models, it doesn’t have the remote parking function, which is possibly a pity but in my mind, it’s worth forgoing for the advantages of a hybrid engine in the body of a large luxury sedan.  The 740e doesn’t just have 4-zone climate control but it also has the Ambient Air function that subtly scents the cabin (three scents to choose from). Navigation, Bluetooth integration, gesture control and a lovely 16-speaker surround sound system are just a few of the infotainment features.

If you want to go off-road or if you just want the higher stance of an SUV, the X5 iPerformance SUV (aka X5 xDrive40e iPerformance) gives you all the bonuses of BMW’s X5 series plus the iPerformance hybrid drive.  The petrol-powered part of this equation features a 2-L 4-cylinder motor that produces 230 kW of power and 450 Nm of torque, while the electric motor (and the transmission and eDrive mode selection) are the same as what you’ll find across the BMW iPerformance range.  Depending on what you want to do and what’s most important to you, these can produce either a test fuel consumption figure of 3.3 L/100 km or a 6.8-s 0–100 km/h sprint time. XDrive means that this is a full-time four-paw.

In this hybrid SUV, you’ve got all the features of the others in the X5 range, such as leather upholstery, a navigation system with a 10.25-inch display, dual-zone climate control, the standard Driving Assistant safety package, dynamic stability control, a power socket each for all five passengers, Bluetooth connectivity for two smartphones and voice control.  It’s also got some added extras such as hill descent control, a 360-degree camera, head-up display, 20-inch wheels and adaptive headlights.

Bought new, all BMW iPerformance models come with a 5-year subscription to the eDrive app, which helps you find the nearest public charging station and to estimate the range of your electric motor – all very handy!

Current model series include:

  • BMW 330e iPerformance sedan
  • BMW 530e iPerformance sedan
  • BMW 740e iPerformance sedan
  • BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance

For any more information on the BMW iPerformance, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of BMW dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!