These are the first pictures of the BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid. Our spies spotted the frugal saloon winter testing in Scandinavia looking remarkably similar to the standard model.
Visually, the 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid differs only slightly from the conventionally-powered 3 Series with the addition of a charging socket, which can be seen hidden by the light disguise on the flanks of the car.
The new model is expected to adopt the same powertrain setup which is found in the X5 eDrive Plug-in Hybrid, launched last December. A four-cylinder petrol engine – expected to be the 245bhp 2.0 turbo from the 328i – and a 95bhp electric motor is likely to provide the power.
Although unofficial, it is expected that the 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid will emit less than 90g/km of CO2 and return roughly 74mpg. Performance is also expected to be not far adrift of the standard car, with a 0-62mph time of around 7.0 seconds. The model should also have an all-electric range of around 20 miles, although this figure is yet to be confirmed.
Despite the almost showroom ready look of this prototype Plug-in Hybrid, a concept version isn’t expected to be revealed until early 2015. When it arrives, it’s likely to demand a substantial premium over the 3 Series ActiveHybrid priced from £40,680.