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."
BMW has said that iPerformance models will benefit from existing i subbrand technologies including electric motors, battery cells and electronic control systems.
Visibly, the new cars will carry a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar.
"It is also showing consumers that we are confident with the technology we launched with i and are now putting it into our mainstream models," Guerrero said.
The first cars to get the new badging will be the BMW 7-, 3- and 2-series models, that will begin rolling out in Europe in July, a BMW spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
U.S. sales will begin with the 330e iPerformance, which debuted at last year's Frankfurt auto show. The car goes on sale in the summer in the U.S. with a sticker price of $44,695, including shipping.
It will be followed by the 740Le iPerformance, which debuted at last month's Geneva auto show and will go on sale in the fourth quarter for $90,095, including shipping.
The X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid, which is already on sale, will also be rebranded as the automaker rolls out the iPerformance badge to every model line in the next few years, the spokesman told ANE.
The iPerformance branding will become even more significant as BMW funnels use of more sustainable materials into its volume vehicles, Guerrero said.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report