BMW 330e review

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

£36,970 - £39,075
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Superb interior
  • Low running costs
     

Cons

  • Reduced boot space
  • Engine noisy when pushed
  • Diesel better for high mileage
     
Car type Electric range MPG CO2
Plug-in hybrid 41 miles 138mpg 39g/km

This is the second generation of the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid saloon. The first-generation model, produced between 2015 and 2018, could manage 25 miles of driving in pure electric mode at speeds up to 50mph.

The latest model ups those numbers to 41 miles and 68mph, while the combined petrol-plus-electric power output remains at 249bhp. However a new 'XtraBoost' function can temporarily increase that to 288bhp. Like any 3 Series, the 330e is engaging and enjoyable to drive, offering smooth and quiet motorway progress as well as an agile and involving experience on a twisty back road.

There's also no significant price premium to be paid compared to the equivalent 330i petrol or 320d diesel models, so for private buyers, the decision can come down to which one suits the type of journeys you do best. For company-car users, the deck is stacked decisively in favour of the 330e, with Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax charged at just 16%, compared to between 30 and 32% for the 320d diesel.

Under the bonnet, the 330e packs a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine plus an electric motor powered by a 12kWh battery, with all of the 249bhp generated going to the back for rear-wheel drive. Put the car into Sport mode and 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 as much as possible, with up to 138mpg theoretically possible if you keep the battery topped up. 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 made in boot space when you choose the 330e; its 375-litre boot is 105 litres smaller than that in the regular 3 Series saloon. BMW is offering a 330e Touring estate version this time around, however it's not yet confirmed for sale in the UK.

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

For a more detailed look at the BMW 330e, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.