BMW’s 330e iPerformance sedan adds yet another level of refinement to this automaker’s popular 3 Series along with a healthy dose of environmental acumen. The 330e plug-in hybrid combines a 184 horsepower TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder with a 76 horsepower electric motor to not only enable all-electric driving, but also some pumped-up performance. The combination delivers a total 252 horsepower and 310 lb-ft peak torque for short bursts to provide the kind of performance expected of a larger engine. Even though batteries make the 330e about 500 pounds heavier than the 320i, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds compared to the conventionally powered 320i’s 7.3 second sprint. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
The 330e’s 7.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery is located beneath the trunk floor to minimize impact on trunk capacity. Positioning batteries here also results in an ideal 50/50 front-to-rear weight ratio. Charging the batteries is handled via a chargeport located on the driver’s side front fender. Here, An LED light ring provides information regarding charge status. Charging takes about two to three hours when connected to an optional 240-volt BMW i Wallbox charger at home or to a public Level II charger. Alternatively, the 330e can be plugged into a standard 120-volt wall socket to charge up in less than seven hours.
Multiple driver-selectable settings enable tailoring the 330’s responsiveness and efficiency. A Driving Experience Control on the center console offers Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro modes, while an eDrive button also allows for three modes for electric driving including Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, and Save Battery. Depending on setting, the 330e can determine the most fuel efficient combination of electric motor and engine power under specific driving conditions, moderate acceleration to conserve energy during low battery periods, or enable all electric driving. When battery power drops below 50 percent, Save Battery foregoes electric power and maintains battery charge while allowing the battery to be charged by the engine. This enables pure electric driving later, for example, in urban areas where zero-emissions are preferred or mandated.
BMW’s 3 Series is an ideal platform for the addition of plug-in hybrid power since this is the brand’s most successful model line, representing about a quarter of the automaker’s worldwide vehicle sales with over 14 million sales globally. The 330e carries on where the standard 3 Series leaves off, adding electrification to a stylish and well-equipped model featuring a driver-centered and accommodating cabin and handsome design.
Of course, the 330e iPerformance is also replete with desired standard and optional on-board electronics. Among these are Forward Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation, Pedestrian Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and a Driving Assistant system that identifies speed limits and no-passing zone information.
The 2017 BMW 330e is EPA rated at 30 combined mpg and 71 MPGe when driving on battery power, with an all-electric driving range of 12 miles and overall range of 350 miles. It has an MSRP of $44,795 that includes destination and handling.