The BMW 3-series, the BMW 330e is established as the standard by which most executive cars are measured. a household name in posh business transport. you would expect good things than from a plug-in hybrid version.
BMW 330e does 37 miles of pure electric range. a 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine. emissions of under 40 grams per kilometer. and 288 brake horsepower.
This plug-in hybrid car seems to offer everything you could possibly want the rear-wheel drive. handling panache to the decent performance, to the efficiency, to the general brand. the swagger of the thing the BMW 330e really does seem to be the complete package. but it does still have a lot to prove. because the 330e doesn’t just need to be fun it needs to be relaxing and easy to live with. and it needs to be efficient even when those batteries are out of power.
When you’re relying on that 2-liter petrol engine alone. so can it really do all that and can it justify the price of some 40,000 pounds and up which is some four thousand pounds more than you’ll pay for an equivalent 320d. well, let’s go and find out.
The car is powered by a 12 kWh battery. has a usable capacity of 10.4 kilowatt-hours. and takes 6 hours to fully charge from a normal 3 pin domestic socket. while a home wall box or type 2 public car charger will do the same in around 3 and a half hours. that is the fastest charge you will ever get from the BMW regardless of how powerful the AC charger is that you plug into.
Since its maximum charging capacity is capped at 3.7-kilowatts. plugging the 3-series in is easy. just pop open the flap on the front wing in the car and connect the 3 pin cable provided. as stated above, the BMW 330e electric range is 37 miles.
It’s a shame mind you that you have to pay a couple of hundred pounds for a type 2 cable that will give you access to a home wall box all the public car chargers. that will enable you to get that lower 3.5 hour charging time. at least a mobile app is included that allows you to set and control charging and cabin temperature.
BMW’s battery has covered a warranty for 6 years and 60,000 miles. which is quite a bit less than you will get with rivals like the Volvo S60 T8. although the company does promise to refurbish it to deliver at least 70% of its as-new performance should it drop below that level within the warranty period.
Talking about efficiency. because of course, that is probably why you’re going to go for a 330e over any of the other options at the class.
One key thing to remember is that cold weather always affects the potential battery range in an electric car. whether it’s a plug-in hybrid or a pure electric car. even taking into account that cold weather and our mixed driving route. BMW managed a very impressive 31 miles on pure electric running. so that means that you should see quite close to the official range of 37 miles in warmer weather especially if you spend most of your time around town.
I also really like the BMWs battery hold function. because well a lot of rivals simply have a whole battery feature that means you just stop the battery from reducing when you press the button. BMW actually allows you to set a target value. so you hit the button. and then what you can do is, you can decide to retain any percentage of the battery that you want.
You can ask it to hold all of the battery or maybe if you drive up the motorway, and you need at least six miles of pure electric running when you get into town. you can set the battery target at about 50% or something like that. and you know you’ve got that distance. it’s just another way of making the most of the plug-in hybrid technology.
Of course, you can’t forget all about that and just get in the car stick it in hybrid mode and let the car decide what’s the most efficient way of juggling the electric and petrol power. that too is a perfectly effective way of making the most of the technology. just plug it in regularly and you’re going to be getting a really economical car.
Not only that, but this 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine in the BMW is one of the more efficient petrol options in the plug-in hybrid class. so it’s doing if you’re completely out of battery juice then you’re doing around about 40 MPG in the BMW. that’s quite a bit better I reckon then you’re gonna get from something like a Volvo S60.
But there is a diesel plug-in hybrid Mercedes c-class which of course will do better than that when it comes to fuel economy. it is also one of the best to drive. because 288 brake horsepower in total from this powertrain 111 of that by the way comes from the electric motor. all going to the rear wheels and it is lovely to try.
It’s got that pointed nicely poised quite a meaty steering. but there’s just a very textural engaging feel to the way this car goes down the road that you don’t really get in any of its rivals. it’s comfortable too. so even on the 18-inch alloys and M Sport suspension of this test car, there’s no optional suspension or anything. it actually rides really well. it doesn’t fit too much nothing is jarring about it it’s just really well controlled. so I think BMW did a great job all in. it’s really efficient and it’s really great to drive.
The BMW 3-series interior is a really solid feeling place and it’s very logically laid out – it’s very easy to use. I do wish that M sports steering wheels weren’t quite so fat. and I have a pet hate of the manual seat adjustment in the BMWs. because it’s really clunky. so it’s a shame the electric seat adjustment and even adjustable lumbar support are optional on the 330e. regardless of which trim you go for. it’s also a shame that adaptive cruise control and keyless entry aren’t included given that this is an executive car.
All that you do get LED headlights three-zone climate control front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera and standard cruise control on every BMW 330e. so it’s not all bad news at all. you can go to town with equipment of course and a lot of buyers will. but if you’re looking to keep the purchase price down then you can get a completely standard BMW 330e. and it will be reasonably well equipped.
Not only that but you do get a 10-inch touchscreen as standard which is great notably you don’t get this included as standard on lower spec standard 3-series so that’s one up to the 330e. you can control it with this rotary dial or you can use it as a touchscreen and it is one of the best systems out there in terms of its usability.
The system includes just about all of the functionality you could want including sat-nav charger search function and the convenience of a rotary controller and voice control as well as that touchscreen. this remains the best infotainment system in the class. the 3-series is comfortable for two adults in the back although a middle occupant will be a little squeeze and alternatives like the Volvo s60 or early a4 offer a touch more Headroom.
The boot is an adequate size but you lose a little space to the batteries in the 330e and although. you do get some underfloor storage it’s not quite enough to easily stow both cables. you have to really shove them instill. some storage is better than no storage at all. split-folding seats are standard on all but the base pack 330e on which you have to add a 900-pound pack to get them. if boot space is a priority for you you’ll be pleased to know that there is an estate version of the 330e joining the range in 2020.
The 3-series isn’t the most practical of the plug-in hybrid saloons and. it’s a shame that you really can get carried away with the equipment. it’s a little bit of a minefield in that respect. but for all that it is so good to drive. the infotainment and cabin are so great. and it is about as efficient as a petrol plug-in hybrid gets. so while the competition is closer than ever to the BMW 330e. this does still remain the best of the bunch.
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