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High performance and economical is not something you hear together when you are talking about cars. Well, BMW offers three varieties of hybrid cars offering the same exciting top performance and quality which we associate with the BMW brand, along with reduction in fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

When the first hybrid cars came out, I guess the design and styling was not what the car manufacturers had in mind – they simply looked horrendous. Thankfully that’s changing now as we can see from the range of sexy designs being launched annually. The BMW ActiveHybrid models across their popular 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series range are among the best looking hybrids available in the market now.

3 Series ActiveHybrid Sedan

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 is the World’s first BMW full hybrid compact executive saloon and available as a Sport, Luxury or M Sport model. Prices for the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 in the UK starts from £42,145.

As for the technical specs, the ActiveHybrid 3 is powered by a Turbo six cylinder 3 litre (2979cc) VALVETRONIC with Double-VANOS direct injection, in-line petrol engine with a max output of 306hp (let me catch my breath). The engine is mated with BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission. The car stores and draws power when required from a lithium-ion high-performance battery. The electric engine comes on for silent urban driving for approx 1-2 miles with a maximum speed of 37mph. It also automatically recognises when the car is going up a gradient and the boost functions comes on automatically to support the combustion engine. The car also charges by itself when it is going downhill.

5 Series ActiveHybrid

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5 powertrain is very similar to that of the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. I have always had a soft spot for the 5 Series models - neither too small nor too large. Just the right size. The ActiveHybrid 5 is significantly more economical and with reduced CO2 emissions. Prices in the UK start from £47,790.

7 Series ActiveHybrid

The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is squarely aimed at those with a taste for luxury but also want to do their bit for the environment. The car is powered by a 3 litre TwinPower Turbo V8 engine. The car features a 0.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. You have the choice of several options to personalise your BMW ActiveHybrid 7 including a choice of paint finishes and extensive range of alloy wheels.

M Sport package

Pictured is the optional 20" M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design for the M Sport model. Prices for the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 start from £66,200.

There are actually several hybrid cars offered by other manufacturers available in the market and many of them cheaper than the BMW models. However, they simply cannot match the performance of the BMW ActiveHybrid models. And when it comes to design and styling, the BMW cars are heads above the competition.

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid is the perfect dream car for me - an eco friendly high-performance sports car. It features a passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and BMW eDrive technology that enables it to be driven on electric power alone.

Here are some pics from Frankfurt:

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