BMW 225xe iPerformance review

One of very few hybrid MPVs you can buy right now, the BMW 225xe is well worth a look

£34,485 - £36,735
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Four-wheel drive capability
  • 25-mile electric range
  • Luxurious interior

Cons

  • No seven-seat version
  • Vague steering feel
  • Can get expensive

The BMW 225xe iPerformance Active Tourer was the first plug-in hybrid MPV to go on sale. And even now, it has very few direct – or indirect – rivals. The Toyota Prius+ is a seven-seat MPV, but is a hybrid rather than a plug-in. The 225xe doesn’t look that different to the other models in the range – only the badges and a charging flap on the front wing give it away.

It’s all-but-identical inside, too, and BMW has also managed to retain most of the space and practicality of the petrol and diesel 2 Series Active Tourer by positioning the battery pack under the rear seats. The rear passengers sit a little higher as a result, but there’s still plenty of room inside, along with a 400-litre boot.

The big differences between the 225xe and the other Active Tourers are under the metal, where you’ll find a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a battery pack. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Active Tourer basically uses the same system as BMW’s i8 supercar.

In this model, it’s a detuned version producing a combined total of 221bhp. But it’s still enough to get the 225xe from 0-62mph in a decidedly sporty 6.7 seconds. However, it’s the other vital statistics that are likely to appeal to buyers. Combined fuel economy of 113mpg and CO2 emissions of 57g/km make this one of the cheapest people carriers to run – although, as with any plug-in hybrid, you’ll only get close to that economy on a regular diet of short trips and regular charging. That said, if you’re a company-car user, you’ll appreciate the 13% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability, no matter how you drive it.

And whatever sort of user you are, you’ll enjoy driving it around town. There, it’s really relaxing, as the near-silent electric mode allows up to 25 miles of zero-emissions driving. The light steering is a big help, too, although the downside is that it feels rather vague on more challenging roads.

And with just three hours needed for a full charge from a standard domestic socket, it’s not hard to keep the car fully charged. You can easily charge it overnight and come back to it the next morning fully charged and ready for the next commute.


What’s also clear is that the 225xe, like all 2 Series Active Tourers, is a very safe car. The five-star Euro NCAP score for crash safety should provide plenty of reassurance for customers. However, the results of our 2018 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey were a little more worrying, as the 2 Series was rated below average and BMW finished well down the table of manufacturers. In fact, just five other makers scored worse ratings, which was something of a comedown after 2017, when the company came ninth out of 27 manufacturers in the owner satisfaction survey.

Where the 2 Series is rather more impressive is the sheer amount of choice in the Active Tourer line-up. BMW couldn’t be more different from the makers who sell their hybrids as one-off models in their ranges. With the 225xe, there are plenty of trim levels to choose from, and even the cheapest Sport has 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and DAB radio. Beyond that are the Luxury and M Sport models, each with an appropriate selection of extra kit to suit the name of the trim level.

It’s yet another reason to consider this model if you’re thinking of an alternative-fuel car. Overall, its combination of decent space, good quality and sharp handling with a decent electric range and very good fuel economy makes this hybrid MPV a compelling and attractive proposition.

For a more detailed look at the BMW 225xe, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.