NEW YORK -- BMW is branding plug-in hybrid versions of its mainstream nameplates as iPerformance to highlight the link to the electric technology developed by its i subbrand.
"Our cars that are plug-in will carry the torch of the i3 and the i8," Jose Guerrero, product planning and strategy manager for the i series at BMW of North America, said in an interview last month at the New York auto show. "It is transferring the competence and the technology.
"It is also showing to consumers that we are confident with the technology we launched with i and are now putting it into our mainstream models."
The first cars to get the new badging are the plug-in hybrid 3- and 7-series sedans. The 740Le iPerformance debuted at the Geneva auto show and will go on sale this fall for $90,095, including shipping. Its fuel economy rating is 63 mpg.
The 330e iPerformance debuted at last year's Frankfurt auto show. It goes on sale this summer with a sticker of $44,695, including shipping. Its fuel economy rating is 72 mpg. The X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid already on sale is being rebranded.
The iPerformance branding will become even more significant as BMW funnels use of more sustainable materials into its volume vehicles, Guerrero said.
The redesigned 5-series sedan that goes on sale in early 2017 will also get a plug-in hybrid version.