BMW does a lot of different things with branding. At the Geneva auto show next month, it will introduce a new sub-brand called iPerformance. It already has the M division that focuses on high performance cars. Two years ago, it started the i division, which currently has two models, the i3 battery electric sedan and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe. The i3 is also available with a 2 cylinder range extender engine called the REx.
A lot of research and development has gone into the i cars. In addition to things like battery packs, electric motors, and power management systems, BMW has also developed new manufacturing techniques that use carbon fiber components to save weight in the chassis. Now it wants to leverage all that knowledge and apply it to its more traditional product line. The company says it will offer a plug-in hybrid version of every production car soon. They will all carry the iPerformance designation.
The first car to wear the new branding is the plug-in hybrid version of the 7 Series sedan. It will have a twin turbocharged four cylinder engine coupled to an electric motor. Together, they combine for 326 hp. Three version will be offered — the 740e, the 740Le and the 740Lex with all wheel drive. The first two have an all electric range of 25 miles. The awd car is slightly less than that at 23 miles.
What is astonishing is that all three versions need only 2.3 liters or less of fuel to travel 100 kilometers while emitting just 49 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. That equates to more than 100 miles per gallon! Yes, its true; the numbers furnished by BMW are for the very generous European test cycle. EPA numbers are usually far less. So divide the numbers in half. That is still more than 50 mpg for a large luxury sedan. That is flat out amazing.
The BMW iPerformance brand will begin officially in July of this year. Look for iPerformance labeling on the 3 Series plug-in hybrid to follow with an iPerformance plug-in version of the 5 Series sedan slated for later this year.