The BMW 3 Series is the bread and butter of the German automaker accounting for around 30% of all sales volume. After six generations, the model is still evolving.
New for the lineup is the BMW 330e PHEV which will be the first hybrid engine of the 3 Series lineup. The new hybrid system borrows from the 2015 BMW i3 and BMW i8 and the automaker says that the system is an advancement of the two systems.
BMW 330e PHEV Exterior
Outside, the BMW 330e PHEV will receive a mid-cycle refresh just like other models in the 3 Series lineup. The changes are only minor with little noticeable difference from other models. At the front, the only difference is the new charging door in the front wing of the driver’s side just before the A-pillar and front wheel arch. This door is used as a sealing system to protect the charging system from harsh elements. On the inside, the door is fitted with a corona ring which changes colors to indicate different charging status of the battery.
At the back of the 330e there is a redesigned bumper fitted with shorter fog lights compared with other 3 Series models. The taillights design is a carryover from the predecessor model. The 330 e features its dual exhaust pipes outlets together on the left side compared to other models in the Series which feature each pipe on either side.
The vehicle has a length of 182.4 inches, 71.29 inches in width and stands at a height of 56.25 inches. The sedan also features a 110.62 –inch wheelbase and a ground clearance level of 5.51 inches.
BMW 330e PHEV Interior
Just as with the exterior, the interior is similar to other 3Series models and is just a mid-cycle refresh. New on the cabin are the eDrive switch and driving experience switch which are located on the center console. The rest is a standard 3 series interior which is awash with luxurious and quality trimmings. You will find fine leather upholstery on the seats, parts of the dash and the shifter.
The cabin comfortably accommodates five passengers and leaves 13 cubic feet of cargo space. Since the hybrid drive-train is fitted at the boot, the cargo space is smaller compared to other 3 Series models; however, the space can be expanded by folding the rear seats which have a 40/20/40 split-folding capability.
Drivers of the 330e will have an option to select different driving options according to their preferences. These modes are Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro. This is done via a Driving eXPerience Control system. The sedan is equipped with a toggle on the center console allowing drivers to choose between Auto eDrive, Max Edrive and Save Battery modes.
The Auto eDrive mode involves the conventional engine working together with the electric. The system enables an all-electric drive of up to 50mph. This mode is set on automatically once the car is started. The Max eDrive mode involves only electric use. It allows a top speed of 75 mph and a 23 miles range. The conventional engine can kick in anytime extra power is needed. On the other hand, the Save Battery mode enables the battery to deliberately store energy. This energy can be used later on pure-electric driving.
To enable better use of the available electric energy, the vehicle is hooked up with the automaker’s connectedDrive which works collaboratively with the navigation system. It calculates a strategy that calculates the driving style and terrain and then adapts the system to the overall route characteristics.
Engine Specs and performance
The BMW 330e will derive its power from a hybrid unit comprising of a gasoline engine and plug-in system. The gasoline mill is a turbocharged 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine that produces 181 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque while the pug-in system brings on board 88 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Both systems combine to produce 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.
This power is channeled to the rear wheels via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission system. The plug-in system is backed up by a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery which can exclusively power the sedan for 25 miles. Using the battery alone, the vehicle reaches a top speed of 75 mph.
On the other hand, with the gasoline engine, the sedan moves from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds on the way to a 140 mph top speed. Though the engine is yet to be EPA rated, the German automaker estimates it to return 112 mpge in city and 124 mpge on highways. Once depleted, the battery can be charged either using a conventional power socket or BMW’s i Wallbox.
The i Wallbox takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to charge the car while the traditional socket takes an extra hour.
Price and release date
BMW is yet to communicate the official prices of the 330e PHEV but we expect its price to fall near the top of the 3 Series lineup. The 340i xDrive is the most expensive model of the 3 Series with a price of $ 47,800 meaning the 330e PHEV could range between $ 42,000 and $ 47,000 MSRP.
The closest challenger of the BMW 330e PHEV comes from its traditional German rival Mercedes in the like of the 2016 Mercedes C 350e Plug-In Hybrid.