In-depth reviews

BMW 330e hybrid review

The latest BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid is a very accomplished all-rounder, combining driving enjoyment with ultra-low running costs for an appealing package

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Superb interior
  • Low running costs

Cons

  • Reduced boot space
  • Engine noisy when pushed
  • Diesel better for high mileage
ModelElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
330e35-37 miles188-217mpg 31-34g/km 
330e xDrive34-35 miles177-202mpg32-36g/km

The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid promises to be a 'have-your-cake-and-eat-it' sort of car. You get the involving handling and strong performance that has come to typify the 3 Series down the years, along with four-door practicality and ultra-low running costs – particularly if you're running one as a company car.

This is achieved by means of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with an electric motor and battery. Charge that battery regularly and make full use of the car's circa-35-miles electric range, and you could see average fuel economy north of 200mpg, while the ultra-low official CO2 emissions keep the 330e in the lower bands of the company-car tax table.

As well as all that, there's 288bhp on tap for those times when you'd rather have fun than look after your bank account, plus the option of a practical five-door Touring estate model if you need a bit more versatility and luggage space. What's not to like?

All BMW 3 Series are engaging and enjoyable to drive and the 330e is no exception, especially as it also brings smooth and quiet motorway progress along with an agile and involving driving experience on a twisty road. It's much more entertaining than an Audi Q5, for instance, and has a bit more zing than the plug-in hybrid variants of its direct rivals, the Volvo S60 and Mercedes C-Class.

Most of the time, the 330e sends 249bhp to the rear wheels only (although a four-wheel-drive xDrive variant is available as well). But if you flick the car into Sport mode, you have access to the 'XtraBoost' function, giving a temporary increase in power to 288bhp, which is useful for swift overtaking.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can let the car prioritise smooth and silent electric running. In our experience, you can expect some 30 miles of electric running in real-world driving, which is better than many alternatives in the executive saloon and SUV classes, and could result in virtually fuel-free driving for those who can plug in regularly and rarely make long journeys. At any rate, the 330e will at least equal (if not better) the fuel economy of its 320d diesel sibling.

Practicality-wise, there's some sacrifice to be made in terms of boot space when you choose the 330e. Its 375-litre luggage capacity is 105 litres smaller than that of the regular 3 Series saloon and the boot is fairly shallow. As we mentioned above, though, BMW does offer the 330e Touring estate if you want the plug-in hybrid benefits with more boot space, however.

In all other respects, the 330e counts on all the strengths that make the 3 Series the longstanding compact executive-car class leader, including a stylish, high-quality and high-tech interior with BMW's excellent iDrive infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

For a more detailed look at the BMW 330e, check out our twin test, where we put it up against the Volvo S60 Recharge – or read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

Most Popular

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car
Fisker PEAR spy shot
News

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car

The cut-price EV is due to be unveiled in the second half of 2023 and offer up to 310 miles of range
2 Feb 2023
New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond
Polestars under cover
Coming soon

New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond

With electric cars making up an ever-increasing proportion of sales, the industry is working flat out to launch new models – here's what's on the way …
3 Feb 2023
Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023
Best electric SUVs
Best cars

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023

Electric SUVs combine style and practicality with low running costs, making them a very popular choice in the UK. Here are our top 10 favourites to bu…
26 Jan 2023

More on 3 Series

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2022
Best PHEVs 2023
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid cars 2022

Here are our top picks of the best plug-in hybrid motoring options you can buy in the UK right now
31 Jan 2023
Top 10 best hybrid estate cars 2023
Best hybrid estate cars 2023
Best cars

Top 10 best hybrid estate cars 2023

The best hybrid estate cars you can buy right now in the UK save you money on fuel, but still have plenty of space inside. Here are our top picks
13 Dec 2022
Top 10 best hybrid company cars 2023
best hybrid company cars 2023
Best cars

Top 10 best hybrid company cars 2023

Hybrid cars are heavily favoured by UK company-car tax rules, so choosing one could save you a lot of cash. These are the best hybrid company cars to …
12 Dec 2022
Top 15 best used plug-in hybrid cars 2022
Outlander PHEV
Best cars

Top 15 best used plug-in hybrid cars 2022

Plug-in hybrid cars have the potential to bring big savings on running costs, and buying used can make them even cheaper. Here are the best used PHEVs…
30 Nov 2022
BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid saloon and estate updated for 2022
New BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid saloon and estate updated for 2022

BMW’s hugely popular saloon and estate now feature dual-screen infotainment from the iX and refreshed styling; prices for the 330e start from £42,610
17 May 2022
Electric BMW 3 Series: New Tesla Model 3 rival launches in China using i3 name
BMW i3
BMW 3 Series

Electric BMW 3 Series: New Tesla Model 3 rival launches in China using i3 name

The electric BMW i3 eDrive35L has gone on sale in China only for now, but could come to Europe in the future
1 Apr 2022
BMW 330e Touring hybrid review
BMW 330e Touring
BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 330e Touring hybrid review

The 3 Series saloon is already a top pick in the plug-in hybrid company-car class – is the more practical Touring estate even better?
28 Jan 2022
2021 BMW 330e Touring: prices, pictures and specifications
BMW 330e Touring
BMW 3 Series Touring

2021 BMW 330e Touring: prices, pictures and specifications

The plug-in hybrid 330e version of the BMW 3 Series is available in Touring estate guise for greater practicality, with optional four-wheel drive
3 Jun 2021
Used BMW 330e buying guide
BMW 3 Series

Used BMW 330e buying guide

Everything you need to know about buying a used BMW 330e, produced between 2016 and 2018
4 Dec 2019