Joining the previously revealed 330e medium and 740e large sedan, along with the X5 xDrive40e SUV and the extra-special ‘BMW i’ cars, the 225xe enters as the latest BMW to embrace plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology.
BMW’s eDrive system was initially developed for the i3 hatch and the i8 sports car as a means of adding efficient electric power to the company's models and, in the case of plug-in hybrid models, partnering electricity with small combustion engines.
The 225xe Active Tourer, which we first spied in testing early last year, utilises a powertrain based around the same 1.5 litre petrol engine and electric motor design that features in the BMW i8 coupe.
In the new hatch, however, the petrol engine is moved from the rear to the front, where it drives the front wheels via a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
The petrol engine produces 100kW and 220Nm, while the rear-mounted electric motor and its lithium-ion battery pack adds 65kW and 250Nm to the mix, driving the rear wheels exclusively.
That design means the 225xe Active Tourer can be operated in either front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, depending on the driving mode selected.
There’s also a 15kW generator on-board, which works serves multiple roles: its primary role is in recharging the battery when needed by drawing energy from the petrol engine, but it also works as a stop-start motor and as an additional 15kW and 150Nm power source for brief bursts.
Three modes are available: Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, and Save Battery.
In Auto mode, the car will decide for itself - through a clever application of the satellite navigation system - whether to combine the petrol and electric systems or to use pure electric mode. On its own, the latter promises a drive range of up to 41 kilometres.
Save Battery mode, as its name suggests, works to maintain at least 50 percent of of the battery pack’s capacity and range, lifting engine revs to boost the battery’s charge if it ever drops below that threshold.
The 225xe claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 202km/h. Despite this relatively rapid sprint, BMW claims fuel consumption figures of just 2.0L/100km on Europe’s NEDC test cycle. CO2 emissions are listed at a very low 46g/km.
That’s a solid effort, given the 225xe’s hefty 1660kg weight - 150kg heavier than the regular 225i xDrive model.
The 225xe will enter the European market later this year with a €37,800 price tag (AU$60,175). A wider global launch is still to be confirmed, but CarAdvice has contacted BMW Australia for word on its local potential.
The carmaker’s local arm has, however, confirmed that the larger 330e sedan is under consideration for an Australian launch.