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Published Date: 28/12/2015

Which BMW PHEV is for you?

Alternative fuel vehicles are one of the fastest-growing vehicle types at the moment - and BMW has you covered.

Whereas most brands offer a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) on a token model, with BMW the technology is available across the range - but with such a wide choice, which is the model for you?

The 3 Series is probably the car people associate most with the BMW range, and PHEV technology is available in the shape of the 330e. This uses a 2-litre petrol engine, capable of delivering up to 181hp by itself, with an 87hp electric motor. Combined system output is 248hp and more then 300lbft of torque, so despite being a little heavier to account for the battery and motor, the 330e will still hit 60mph in around 6 seconds.

Which BMW PHEV is for you?

The battery can be fully recharged in 3 hours from a domestic power supply (less with a wallbox charger) and is good for driving the car on its own at speeds of up to 50mph with a range of up to 25 miles. With an emissions rating of 44g/km, the 330e is the cleanest BMW other than the all-electric i3.

While the 3 Series is almost the essence of BMW, a medium-sized saloon doesn't suit all tastes and if you're looking for something smaller but still capable of moving the family about, there's the 225xe Active Tourer.

This uses similar technology, only the smaller 1.5-litre petrol engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor drives the rear ones - making the 225xe a four wheel drive car when both are in action.

With 220hp from both engines combined, the 225xe manages to reach 60mph in less than 7 seconds and there's still 400 litres of luggage space despite the additional space required by the batteries and motor.

If space is what you need, there's the X5 xDrive40e. Again, this mixes petrol and electric, with a 242hp, 2-litre petrol engine and a 111hp electric motor, combining to make 309hp, but unlike the 225xe it's four-wheel drive in any drive mode.

The X5 hits the 60mph mark in the same time the 225xe manages - 6.8s - and can run in electric-only mode for up to 19 miles. This makes for an emissions rating of 77g/km, but the X5 is the roomiest BMW PHEV, with 500 litres of load space with all seats in place and up to 1720 litres with the rear seats down.

All three cars use BMW eDrive, which offers pure electric driving (Max eDrive) at speeds of up to 75mph, battery conservation (Save Battery) to allow the car to charge the battery - when approaching a city from the motorway, for example - or a mix of both electric and petrol modes (Auto eDrive).

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