What Is It?
BMW iPerformance is a way of having driving fun and curtailing emissions at the same time. It’s the company’s collective name for its plug-in hybrids, which are in the spotlight at the 2017 New York Auto Show.
The iPerformance lineup starts off with the 2017 BMW 330e, following the usual plug-in hybrid formula of a gasoline engine working with an electric motor. The combined output is a healthy 248 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque going to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
In electric-only mode, the lithium-ion battery pack (rechargeable in under 3 hours with a 240-volt fast charger) can help propel the car up to 75 mph — or go easier and a range of 14 miles is possible. It’s also possible to use just the combustion engine and save the battery’s power for later in the journey.
The cleverness doesn’t end there. To use the car’s power as efficiently as possible, the heating/air conditioning system is regulated carefully, and the navigation system can collect information and manage the responses of the electric motor and gasoline engine. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 71.
There’s not much of a space penalty for the extra hybrid components. The regular 3 Series sedan’s trunk space measures a generous 17 cu ft., while the 330e can still offer 13 cu ft.
The 2018 BMW 530e is part of the wider 5 Series troop whose latest generation debuted for the 2017 model year. It uses the same hardware and systems as the 330e but offers the option of all-wheel drive. It also comes with more gadgetry and safety features as standard. Top speed in electric mode is 56 mph, and although there are no official consumption or range figures yet, a 14-mile all-electric range seems feasible.
Big luxury comes in the form of the 2017 BMW 740e xDrive. Even though this is a flagship sedan, it still uses a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. With the electric motor, output is 322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much for a well-stocked, all-wheel-drive 7 Series, but this generation uses an ingenious mix of lightweight materials in its construction. This car also has an electric-only range of 14 miles and can reach 87 mph on battery power alone. The EPA calculates fuel use at 64 MPGe.
Catering to the midsize premium crossover crowd, the 2017 BMW X5 xDrive40e moves to the tune of 308 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Using just the battery, this 5-seater (the regular X5 offers a third row) can hit 75 mph or cover 14 miles. The EPA puts gas consumption at 56 mpg MPGe.
The 330e starts at $45,095.
We’re looking at $52,395 for the 530e in rear-drive form or $54,695 for the xDrive version.
The 740e xDrive starts at $91,695.
And the X5 xDrive40e is priced from $64,195.
When Can You Get It?
The 330e, 740e xDrive and X5 xDrive40e are available right now. The 2018 530e is due in the spring.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The BMW iPerformance range is quite wide for a premium manufacturer, and each vehicle means having useful power to accompany the luxury appointments while still going easy on the gas.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e — The plug-in hybrid version of this archetypal luxury sedan achieves 58 MPGe combined.
2017 Tesla Model S — Luxurious, tech-rich and doesn’t use any gasoline at all.
2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid — A premium midsize crossover with driving talents to challenge BMW and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Achieves 46 MPGe.