Detroit 2012: BMW Wants to Show You its Ultimate Hybrid Machines

BMW’s Detroit Auto Show presentation was predictably focused on speed this afternoon, but the automaker didn’t stray from its new EfficientDynamics moniker, and released two hybrids alongside two petrol-powered wonders.

To keep its Ultimate Driving Machine motto going strong, the automaker has released two quick offerings, starting with a new 3 Series sedan.

The new model is both larger and lighter than the one it replaces–by about 3.7 inches and 88 pounds–and will continue to offer the turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine that brought the last model such acclaim. That model, the 335i, will be the mid-level specification; the base model will come with a 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder gasoline engine pumping out about 240 horsepower. It’s certain that the car will gain an iconic M3 variant, but no official plans have been announced as of yet.

To make things a bit more economical, the optional automatic transmission gains two more gears (for a total of eight), and a smattering of EfficientDynamics tweaks, including stop-start technology.

If that economy isn’t enough, however, BMW promises a new hybrid variant, dubbed the ActiveHybrid 3. The ActiveHybrid 3 uses the turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine from the 335i, coupled to a compact electric motor and the same eight-speed automatic from the stock 3 Series. Total output is 335 horsepower, 332 pound-feet of torque, and an estimated 37 miles to the gallon. BMW also announced an ActiveHybrid 5 model, which uses the same drivetrain under the hood of the F10 5 Series.

For those who find the idea of an ActiveHybrid 5 a bit slow, however, the company was happy to announce that its upcoming F10 M5 sport sedan will gain a six-speed manual transmission. Gone is the drama of the previous generation M5–when owners were unhappy with the car’s seven-speed sequential manual transmission until BMW offered a six-speed stick. The car will be available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and both are well-equipped to handle the fury under the hood. That fury is a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine, which makes 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque.

For more on the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Detroit Show homepage.

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