BMW 225xe hybrid engines, drive & performance

If you think hybrids are slow, the BMW 225xe will make you think again

The headline is that the 225xe shares its engine, electric motor and battery pack with the BMW i8 sports car, but they’re not so highly tuned in this car. Instead of serving up 357bhp, the combined output of the 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor in the 225xe is 221bhp.

Still, that’s plenty for an MPV, and enough to get this hybrid 2 Series from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds. That’s much quicker than alternative cars, such as the Toyota Prius+ and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. However, most of the time you won’t be trying to sprint off the lights in the 225xe.

Instead, you’ll be getting up to speed quietly and smoothly, finding out that this is a great car around town – eager and responsive. Even on an open road, way from the urban jungle, you won’t have any complaints about the car’s performance.

BMW 225xe hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

The 225xe is available in a variety of trim levels, but they all have the same powertrain: a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a battery and electric motors that give it four-wheel drive.

Together, they produce a total of 137bhp, which allows this hybrid to dash off the 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds – similar to the MINI Cooper S hot hatchback. In fact, it means this is the quickest MPV on the market.

It makes for an easy drive around town, and our only disappointment is that the 225xe can feel slow to react when you put your foot down – it takes time for the engine to kick in when you want flat-out acceleration.

Handling

Around town, this a very easy car to drive, thanks to the quick responses of the electric motor. However, city streets do show up one of its few shortcomings: its firm-ish ride. That's down to a fairly stiff suspension set-up and you feel the benefits when you hit some corners out of town. Thanks to well controlled movements of the body and nicely balanced handling, this is a tidy car to drive. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that it’s the most enjoyable MPV to drive.

It has great traction and grip, too, much helped by the four-wheel-drive system. That makes for a very sure-footed and reassuring car and means you can really fling the 225xe around in complete safety. Mind you, it’s debatable just how important that is to potential MPV buyers.