BMW 330e engines, drive & performance
Keen drivers will be right at home in the BMW 330e, especially when they put it into Sport mode for extra power
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BMW has made the transition to hybrid and electric cars with its reputation for building 'ultimate driving machines' intact. Both the electric i3 and plug-in hybrid i8 are superb to drive, and the same can be said for the plug-in hybrid executive saloons like the 530e and this 330e.
BMW 330e 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
A swift 5.9-second 0-62mph time and a 143mph top speed are the bare performance figures for the 330e. For maximum performance, switching to Sport mode gives access to something called 'XtraBoost', which temporarily increases the available power from 249 to 288bhp.
Like all BMWs though, the 330e's driving experience is more about how it feels from behind the wheel than just the raw numbers. Especially with 'XtraBoost', it responds instantly to any prod of the accelerator pedal, with the electric motor working well to fill in any gaps in power delivery from the petrol engine.
Our one criticism is that the noise from the four-cylinder engine isn't great when you're 'pushing on' and the augmented artificial sound sent through the car's speakers isn't much better.
On the plus side, the 330e doesn't feel like it weighs 200kg more than a petrol or diesel 3 Series – the extra bulk is well disguised and it's as sweet handling as we've come to expect from this model over the years.
As standard, the 330e comes with special low-resistance tyres to further boost efficiency. They do this job well, but in the process offer a fraction less grip than the typical sports tyres fitted to executive-saloon models.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe latest BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid is a very accomplished all-rounder, combining driving enjoyment with ultra-low running costs
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingAn official electric range of up to 37 miles is best in the class, so the BMW promises to be as efficient as it gets for plug-in executive saloon
- 3Running costsThe BMW 330e plug-in hybrid will be a very cheap car to run in most cases, especially for company-car users
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingKeen drivers will be right at home in the BMW 330e, especially when they put it into Sport mode for extra power
- 5Interior & comfortYou need the top-spec BMW 330e M Sport for the full suite of in-car technology and features
- 6Practicality & boot spaceA smaller boot than the petrol and diesel 3 Series counts against the otherwise-impressive BMW 330e plug-in hybrid here
- 7Reliability & safetyBMW as a brand isn't rated very highly by owners, but there's plenty of the latest safety kit available for the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid