As part of a comprehensive range refresh, BMW has launched its iPerformance division in the UK, with five model variants offered under the new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) banner.
Announced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, iPerformance is the brand that sits between non-electrified models and the now famous BMW iCars division. These include the 225xe Active Tourer, 330e saloon, X5 xDrive 40e – already available to order – and the new 740e and 740Le xDrive saloons.
On the outside, the iPerformance cars look almost exactly the same as their petrol and diesel stable-mates, which is why the likes of BMW’s i3 REX and the i8 – both PHEVs – haven’t been brought in as they are specially designed models in their own right.
The 225xe Active Tourer family MPV, 330e compact executive saloon, X5 40e SUV and 740e luxury saloons differ only in the fact that eDrive badges re displayed on the C-pillars, there is a charging socket flap on each model on the front wing, and there are occasionally i badges dotted about too. An iPerformance styling pack can be specified though at no extra cost which includes blue highlights in the grille and blue alloy wheel hubs.
Internally, again there are a few eDrive badges around the cabin, but the main change comes in the shape of the eDrive menus in the infotainment system which allow the driver to tailor the car’s electric drive performance to suit.
All iPerformance models use electric motors and batteries developed as part of the development of i3 and i8 models, combined with efficient petrol engines. These are 2.0 litre turbocharged units in all iPerformance models with the exception of the 225xe, which uses a 1.5 litre engine.
Prices for the new 740e and 740Le xDrive models start at £68,330 and £74,880 respectively, with official fuel consumption figures stated at 134.5 and 113 MPG, and emissions at 9 and 56 g/km CO2. The more attainable 225xe and 330e start at £32,655 and £31,435 respectively, or the i3 REX is available for £29,630.
Equipment is improved across a large proportion of the rest of the range too, with the iDrive infotainment system added to the 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, X5 and X6 ranges. Incorporated into the BMW Professional media system, the iDrive improves connectivity, features simpler menus and system navigation, and has added RAM for computer performance. Enhanced Bluetooth, wireless charging, WiFi hotspot and an extra USB socket can be specified in the Professional Navigation set-up.