May 24th, 2010 by Dean Hightower
BMW has announced that it will build hybrid versions of its iconic 3-Series and 5-Series cars. The BMW 5-Series hybrid will be the first to market, potentially on sale within the next year, according to Inside Line. The 3-Series hybrid will follow, probably not far behind.
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told shareholders at BMW’s annual meeting that a production version of the 5-Series ActiveHybrid will be released soon.
“As early as next year, the new 5-Series will also be available as a full hybrid,” Reithofer said. “We are anticipating the hybridization of further models, such as the 3-Series.”
The BMW 3-Series is the brand’s most popular vehicle. More than half of all BMWs sold in March 2010 were from the 3-Series, according to BMW Blog. BMW has already worked out any kinks that might have been in the the ActiveHybrid system with the X6 and 7-Series hybrids, so the reason for the 3-Series hybrid coming after the 5 probably has to do with price. If BMW can sell enough of the other hybrid models before the 3-Series ActiveHybrid goes on sale, it may be able to reduce the extra cost that the hybrid technology will add.
BMW is not the only luxury brand focusing on hybrids. Mercedes-Benz has announced that the next generation of the S-Class will be hybrid only.