BMW 330e plug-in hybrid review – Performance for a bright future

These days electrification is proliferating to all modes of transportation. The future of the automobile seems to be going towards electrification with countries pressing for requirements and regulations to phase out fossil fuels. Hybrids and all electric automobiles are becoming more common even with brands you’d never associate an electric or hybrid car with. The 330e, is BMW’s answer to the future. It is a plug-in hybrid that still is a 3 Series.  So how does it perform and is it worthy of being the ultimate driving machine?

Style & Specs:

At first glance, the exterior looks just like any other 3 Series sedan. However, on the drivers side fender there is a socket to charge the car’s lithium ion batteries. This 3 Series is powered by BMW’s commonly applied 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that puts out 180hp and 215lb-ft of torque, but that gasoline engine is assisted by a small electric motor that puts out 87hp. When combined it increases the total output to 248hp and 310lb-ft of torque.

Mated to an 8 speed ZF transmission, this BMW performs just like any other 3 Series. It accelerates fast from a stop. The electric motor helps gives the car an even faster boost when the batteries are fully charged, no need to wait for the turbochargers to kick in. When the engine kicks in, you’d definitely will hear it. Handling and overall driving feel is just like any other BMW. Road noise is there due to the thinner performance tires and maneuverability is at ease with little body roll. The car likes taking on corners with ease and brings a smile to your face when listening to that gasoline engine come to life.

The EPA’s estimated range on all-electric mode is 14 miles, but at highway speeds you will not see that range. What is great is you can drive over 50mph (90km/h) with the electric motor, up to a maximum of 75mph (120km/h), which is better than most plug-ins or hybrids. However, driving like a lead foot will deplete the battery power quick!

The interior is what you’d expect from BMW. It has the feel of being a drivers car despite having the plug-in hybrid moniker attached to it. The interior is spacious with no hint of the batteries taking up the interior space. The trunk surprisingly is big, but its smaller than a comparable gasoline 3 Series due to battery placement. The rear seats are split 40/60. The test model driven in this review comes with the Premium Tier package,  it adds navigation, heated front seats, and heads up display. MSRP for the 330e starts at $48,500 USD. The price of this test car is $56,645.


Is this 330e the ultimate driving machine? I would say YES it is! I The driving dynamics is very similar to that of a gasoline 3 Series and its still a joy to drive. Plug-in hybrids can be exciting if done right. With this 330e, BMW has made the future towards electrification much more enjoyable.


4 out of 5


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