Archive for October, 2016|Monthly archive page

surprisingly good hybrid

In BMW on October 2, 2016 at 9:28 am

2-series-frontIn a few months time my 3 Series lease will be over, and I’ve started looking for an alternative.

One of my customers has pointed out that there are massive tax advantages for those of us who can choose a hybrid BMW.

So right I toying with a car that looks ugly next to a Zafira, but sweet against a diesel 3 series Touring.

Okay, it looks darned ugly but I’d be saving around £250 a month in tax with something like this so in my eyes it’s started to look quite sweet!


Here’s the inside, which is pretty much the same colour scheme as as my current car.  However the inside benefits from a raft of improvements introduced in the last few years.

The best of these is a VAG style direction indicator between the rev counter and the speedo. Those of you used to seeing the central screen blank out when the phone rings will appreciate the fact your not left guessing which way to go at the next junction.

This “luxury version” here had lovely sculpted seas which seemed much better than ones I’m used to. Other than that the other fancy gadget is a controller which gives three options with the hybrid’s electric motor.

I’m intrigued by the various on line reports on this car, which either commend it as a “driver’s car’ or suggest it’s rather numb.  To me it seemed surprisingly good for a vehicle weighing in at over 1700kg.

The best bit though is the surreal experience of whizzing along in virtual silence as the 1500cc petrol engine makes no contribution to forward movement.

Then as your speed increases, or an incline gets in the way there’s a seamless integration as the little Mini engine chimes in.  I honestly wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been watching the rev counter hit 2000 revs.

Later on my test drive as the battery depleted a heavy right foot brought out a lovely three cylinder thrum, and a gentle chime from the dashboard as the 70 mph speed warning reminded me to slow down.

That’s a nice touch, as modern cars are so quiet it’s easy to be running a bit quicker than planned.


Looking at this side view it’s pretty clear this particular BMW takes up less space than the rather long 3 series. It also seemed a tad narrower, which makes the boot a better shape, but some 20% smaller than I’m used to.


In addition there’s that thick recharging lead getting in the way of your work clobber.

There are few questions hanging before I choose this car.

  1. How economical is this alleged 148 mpg in the real world?
  2. Can I replicate the 60 mpg I got on Friday?
  3. Will the boss really let me walk away from the default diesel power unit?
  4. Can I readjust my work strategy to cope with less space in the back?

I’ll let you know when I’ve decided?