What do you get when you mix premium family hatchback motoring and plug in hybrid technology? The new BMW 225xe Active Tourer. BMW has recently ramped up its plug in hybrid production and now the MINI based Active Tourer is getting in on the act.
Petrol power combines with battery power to deliver a smooth, effortless and unremarkable – in a good way, driving experience. The only thing out of the ordinary with the five seat hatchback is that users can plug a charge cable into a charging point! Otherwise the 225xe is a simple and easy car to use daily. You don’t have to be a green energy nerd to use and enjoy the machine as most of the geeky stuff is done for you. The bonus is that as the ‘x’ in the name implies that this Active Tourer is four-wheel drive. The petrol engine powers the front wheels while the motor turns the rear wheels. An effortless six speed automatic gearbox makes life very easy behind the wheel.
While the car looks smart it is hardly a pin up but you can impress the kids by saying it is a close relative of a supercar. The 225xe has a lot in common with the stunning BMW i8 as it uses the same bits and pieces like a three cylinder engine and electric motor – its just they’re positioned in different places.
So what power does the 225xe have? The 1.5 litre three cylinder engine pushes out 134hp/220nm and the electric motor 87hp. Now we know it’s not simple addition when getting the combined power as there are losses along the way, but the 225xe has a combined output of 221hp and 385nm… that’s healthy. Potentially you can get a fuel consumption figure as low as 141mpg with a CO2 figure of just 46g/km. BMW quotes up to 41 kilometres of electric only operational range – enough to do most daily school runs. The battery pack is under the rear seat and the boot only loses a bit of space down 68 litres to a still useful 400 litres.
Three electric drive modes are available Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery. You can get very geeky with how you use these modes. Ultimately your driving style will dictate how the hybrid uses its power and how economical it is also.
Charging takes a lot less time than an electric vehicle as the battery pack is much smaller so expect a little over three and a quarter hours using a three pin plug and an hour less at a proper EV terminal or home charge point. Charging with a cable is the current reality and in wet weather or mucky conditions it is no fun having to hook up a car or detangle a cable when the boot is full. The plug flap is on the nearside wing. We are still some time away from mass induction charging becoming the norm – but when it comes we will look back at the times we had to connect a cable to a socket.
Overall fuel range is only okay if you do high mileage. I would have liked a larger fuel tank but 225xe gets a trick new 36 litre only fuel tank. In city and town stop start driving range shouldn’t be an issue as you’ll be in EV mode more often.
Is 225xe a mad thing to go? In theory yes, it’s a quick machine but I never felt the urge to press on – an old saying my Dad used that meant “would you please floor it!”. 0-100kph takes under 7 seconds but again I had no desire to wear out the tyres. 225xe is heavier than the standard Active Tourer but it does get four wheel drive traction that offers better traction in wintery weather.
There are two specifications available with 225xe namely Sport and Luxury. On the road prices start from €42,790 net of grants and VRT relief. Our test car started from €50,520 but had a few options like metallic paint, Driver comfort pack, Technology pack and the BMW Navigation Plus package that brought the total to €58,736 but then with €2.5K VRT relief and the SEAI grant of €5K the net cost came to €51,236.
The BMW 225xe I liked it, but didn’t love it.