BMW: more hybrid engines for 2020

  • Mild-hybrid technology spreads across the range
  • X2 line-up expanded by new plug-in hybrid
  • Raft of other improvements and upgrades, too

BMW is heralding the dawn of a new normal – and the easing of lockdown restrictions around the world – by announcing a vast array of model improvements across its entire range to entice would-be car buyers back to showrooms.

These announcements, which are provisional and give no indication as to which models will definitely come to the UK, follow on from the reveal of the facelifted 5 Series and will continue in early June 2020 when the German giant reveals its new 4 Series Coupe. Believe us, it will be controversial.

Before the internet goes into meltdown about the new 4 Series' divisive looks, let us walk you through the wealth of improvements elsewhere in the range.

Mild-hybrid technology across the range

BMW is no stranger to mild-hybrid tech, using a 48-volt starter-generator unit to not only allow the engine to be switched off when decelerating and consequently saving fuel, but also using the electrical energy and its 11hp output to supplement and reduce the strain on the internal-combustion engine during times of acceleration.

BMW mild-hybrid system

So far that technology has been limited to selected versions of the 3 Series, 5 Series, X1 and X2, but from summer 2020 it will be extended to the 6 Series Gran Turismo and 7 Series luxury saloon, as well as the remainder of the SUV range from X3 to X7.

New six-cylinder diesel for larger BMWs

Fans of BMW’s more expensive models have long-appreciated the smooth and swift, yet economical advantages of its six-cylinder diesel engines.

Now they’re in for even more of a treat, for not only is the new 3.0-litre twin-turbo motor more powerful than before, with the addition of 48v mild-hybrid its even more miserly when it comes to fuel consumption.

Set to be available in two forms, the ‘30d’ version now produces 286hp – an increase of 21hp – and is likely to be found in the 7 Series, as well as the X3, X4, X5 and X6 SUVs. BMW provisionally claims a 5.9-second 0-62mph time for the 730d, yet CO2 emissions are just 123-128g/km, which will make it attractive to company car drivers who don’t want to go the plug-in hybrid route.

Silver-green 2020 BMW 7 Series front three-quarter

Even more impressively is the claim that the same 730d will average 57-60mpg on the combined cycle of the more rigorous WLTP testing method.

Of course, outright fuel economy’s not so critical, the same engine can be had in 340hp form as the ‘40d’ in the 7 Series, X3, X4 and X7, all with xDrive all-wheel drive.

In the 740d xDrive, that provisionally equates to a 0-62mph time of 5.0 seconds, CO2 emissions of 136-142g/km and an average economy of 52-54mpg.

More 2 Series Gran Coupe choice

A pair of twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesels are the big news in BMW’s compact and slinky 2 Series Gran Coupe range with the introduction of the 218d and 220d xDrive models.

With 150hp and 350Nm of torque, the 218d Gran Coupe is no slouch, dealing with the 0-62mph sprint in 8.6 seconds with a six-speed manual gearbox and 8.5 seconds for the eight-speed automatic. Economy is provisionally rated at 62-67mpg.

Grey 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe front three quarter driving

Quicker still is the 220d xDrive Gran Coupe, offering 190hp and 400Nm of torque. The eight-speed auto is standard here, yet despite a sprightly 7.3-second 0-62mph time, BMW’s still claiming provisional averages of 57-62mpg.

Plug-in hybrid for the X2

BMW has already installed its plug-in hybrid technology in the X1 SUV, so it’s no surprise to learn that it’s soon to be available in its sportier sibling, the X2.

Blue 2020 BMW X2 xDrive 25e front three-quarter driving

Badged xDrive25e, a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine driving the front wheels works together with an electric motor for the rears to produce a combined output of 220hp. It’s suitably swift, with a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, but the big story with PHEVs is their overall efficiency.

Blue 2020 BMW X2 xDrive 25e on charge

Provisional figures indicate CO2 emissions of 43g/km and a claimed economy of 282mpg. Naturally, this will be severely pared back when the battery power has run out. Before it does, BMW suggest a range of 35 miles on pure electric driving, although that will drop significantly if it’s driven quickly.

Other upgrades across the BMW range

Additionally, there are a number of further upgrades benefiting several models that we will have the chance to experience when test cars equipped with the relevant technology become available later in 2020.

PHEV versions of the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 will be fitted with eDrive Zone which uses GPS data to locate your position and switch the car automatically to electric-only mode when driving in low-emission zones.

BMW eZone technology

BMW’s Operating System 7 for its multimedia package will be standardised on the 3 Series and become optional on the 1 Series and 2 Series Gran Coupe from summer 2020. It allows for even greater personalisation of the infotainment system as well as the Intelligent Personal Assistant activated by saying ‘Hey, BMW’.

Further improvements see Android Auto smartphone compatibility becoming available, joining the existing Apple CarPlay function.

Due to be an option on 7 Series and 8 Series models is Integral Active Steering which at very low speeds slightly turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts to make it easier to manoeuvre in tight, urban confines.

Parkers will be among the first to drive the upgraded BMWs, so keep this page bookmarked for the latest news and views.

Further reading

>> We look at the best hybrid-powered SUVs

>> We rate the cream of the coupe crop

>> Find out how much your car is worth with a Parkers valuation