2016 BMW 330e iPerformance Sport Test Drive Review

DEC 18 2016 BY MARK KANE 25

The BMW 330e iPerformance was well received by Autocar, but as in case of many other markets, the 330e in the UK is in relatively short supply.

BMW 330e

BMW 330e

Overall, the 330e is deemed superior to the BMW 330d or 330i offerings – and is priced less expensive as well (when including the government’s £2500 plug-in grant on the pricing).

However, the review finds that the benefit of the improved fuel economy is definitely only felt if your commute corresponds to the plug-in hybrid’s limited all-electric range, or if you have places in which to charge the BMW frequently.

Here is several insights from the test:

  • quiet in all-electric mode, very well isolated ICE in the hybrid mode “so you barely hear it when operating at low crank speeds, but it’s also nicely gruff and spirited when working hard”
  • Three powertrain modes: Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery, combined with Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro driving modes. Auto eDrive is fine for 99% of driving situations
  • 25 miles range (40 km) is way too optimistic. The EPA rated the 330e for 14 miles/22 km of ‘real world’ driving, and as we can see from Autocar’s test, they achieved ~14 miles on a chilly November morning on mixed roads, and in mixed traffic conditions
  • Having an 8-speed transmission results in small delay in accelerating from standstill, but increases the powertrain efficiency at higher speeds.

“Overall, the car’s powertrain feels not only nicely lavish and bountiful – you’d put BMW’s homologated peak power and torque claims down as conservative, if anything – but also cohesive and very highly developed. It never feels rushed and strained and takes as naturally to being driven with gusto as it does to the urban grind.”

  • Weight of the car is relatively low compared to plug-in hybrids of similar size
  • The driving experience is good – “the 330e handles with a sense of balance and keenness that would do any 3 Series credit”

“The car’s body feels flat through bends and tautly controlled at all times, allowing for instant bite from the steering – which itself is weighty, positive, informative and beautifully uncorrupted. There’s enough compliance in the suspension to deal fluently with uneven B-roads, and but not so much as to allow the body to get excited. Just enough adhesion, too, to make the car feel secure when leant on, but not so much as to make for a cumbersome ‘over-tyred’ feel to the steering, ride or handling.”

BMW 330 getting a boost, likely after a 14+ mile (22 km) outing

BMW 330 getting a boost, likely after a 14+ mile (22 km) outing

Quick BMW 330e specs:

  • 184 hp four-cylinder petrol engine and 65 kW, 88 hp, 250 Nm electric motor integrated into the housing of the eight-speed automatic
  • total system output of 185 kW/252 hp (on par with 330i and 330d)
  • 0–60 mph in 5.9 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph.
  • all-electric range of up to 40 km (25 miles) NEDC and 14 miles (22.5 km) US EPA
  • 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery beneath the boot floor
  • charging in 3 hours and 15 minutes from a household outlet
  • average fuel consumption (combined) of 2.1–1.9 litres/100 km (134.5–148.7 mpg imp)
  • at least 370 liters of luggage compartment volume; the rear seat offer a 40:20 40 split
  • EU-empty weight of 1735 kg (3,825 lbs)

source: Autocar

Categories: BMW, Test Drives

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25 Comments on "2016 BMW 330e iPerformance Sport Test Drive Review"

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I would love to see 3rd party data showing all electric driving in the USA for cars with very limited electric range. At 14 miles of range, it would be interesting to see if people in the USA even bother plugging it in after a year of ownership.

There is definetely a risk with that size battery and for some of the clientel that gravitate to bmw that it wont be plugged in daily.

Oh I would love to know exactly what you mean by that.

I think he means,

What’s the difference between a BMW and a hedgehog?

The pricks are on the outside of a hedgehog.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Well I think I’m funny even if you folk don’t.

ps that joke clearly doesn’t apply to people who own and drive i3’s who are decent human beings.

Just saw this. Too funny!

I guess there are some that buy for the tax credit alone, but my Audi e-tron (similar tech and range as the BMW) suits my daily commute perfectly. I drive most days electric only, and that gives me tanks that average 100 MPG or better. The hardest part is driving in an efficient manner. It’s too easy to drop it into sport mode and zip around, eating up range. EV mode is zippy enough, but combined is more fun.

@Rich: 14 miles can take care of 1/3 of your driving needs without too much trouble. So I’d say the answer is “yes” for most people.

This statement makes an assumption that I fall into the avg use case. Unfortunately, I don’t.
14 miles AER wouldn’t cover 1/3 of my commute distance. In winter the 14 miles AER quickly becomes 7+ miles.

Staying within the average use case, roughly 1/2 the US population lives in a geographic region that experiences cold weather at 20 degrees F or lower. Some geographic regions experience these cold conditions for 2+ months out of the year.

Again, I would love to see actual use analytics.

I live in Florida so I can’t speak to cold weather conditions, but the AER is a minimum of 14 and there is an exclellent preconditioning system built into the car which helps to ensure the batteries are at proper operating temperature when setting off. I routinely average over 99.9 mpg and don’t use gas most days. 20 miles is usually the actual electric range I achieve, but have gotten 25 miles. Believe it or not but the electric range is sufficient for most of my driving and can reach virtually every major attraction near me, plus there’s almost always a place to charge up front. I often charge 2-3 times per day and have done 5,000 electric miles in just the first 7 months of ownership. The battery also charges incredibly fast when in battery save mode at highway speeds and when stopping. Most people don’t consider anything past range when looking at a PHEV but the battery is used for more than traction, the air conditioning runs off the battery and at a stop there is no vibration or sound. My previous car was a 428i and it got 23.5 mpg in the same drive cycle, so it’s… Read more »

How many miles total have you driven in those 7 months? Clearly something with a plug is a massive step in the right direction but I’m just curious how far 14 miles gets you.

14 miles? Lol

Ya thats enough if you drive even slower than grandma.

Does this car burn gas? If so, not interested.

Why even bother with a battery that small.

Because this: “the 330e is deemed superior to the BMW 330d or 330i offerings – and is priced less expensive as well” At this point in development, it is more important to draw in more mainstream consumers to buy PHEV’s than it is to build only pure EV’s for purists. If you want a pure EV from BMW, get an i3. If you have a relative who likes luxury cars, but isn’t a purist, point them to the 330e. Then once they get hooked, BMW 330e owners themselves will push for longer range. But for now, there is going to have to be a category of PHEV that makes the choice to go electric the smartest choice, because compared to the pure ICE version, it performs better and costs the same or less. That gets butts in seats. Also, these smaller batteries can easily be charged overnight with just household current (no need for a fast charger), so they are more non-enthusiast friendly. They don’t have to invest into infrastructure, they can just buy and try and see how they like it. ——————– I think we have to get away from judging every single PHEV on what they offer to… Read more »

Agree 100% Nix. Having owned a gen 1 Volt and now a Model S, the Volt is really the one I recommend for most folks who want to never be concerned about fueling. Sure, we all know that in town driving can be done pure electric in a Model S with ZERO range anxiety, but the new Volt accomplishes that for most folks as well..as does BMW’s i3 Rex.

The Prius Prime, 330e, and other “low range” PHEVs still meet the needs for a LOT of folks with no challenges and most folks are not 100% stickelrs for “all miles must be electric”. Heck, I work from home these days and often question my decision to get a Tesla…ah, who am I kidding, I did it because I’m a car guy and it is fast and good looking! ;>

+ 1

A small battery PHEV will not get an enthusiast interested, but it takes a lot of fear away from the average person. once hooked on electric drive they will seek more range.

Hopefully it will interest some of the 99,9% of people driving around in a car that burns gas or other fuels.

With that price, I would rather get a used Model S 60.

The range is to small and it looks like bmw wont meet demand for the car.

The new 5series plugin has a 9kwhr battery as opposed to the 7kwhr in the 3 series. That would be a bare minimum to cover the average commute.

Had one since September. Sure, not for everyone. 14 miles is about right this time of year with heater on. Most of our miles are communing within that range, saving £50 per month. We lease it. Not economic to buy one I wouldn’t say. My main point is this: it has given me a real appetite for electric power. Like a reformed smoker I was astounded how quickly I saw the dirt coming out of the back of the car in front and thought: how disgusting. It was revolutionary. My driving style has changed completely too. I still have the occasional sprint but the whole electric experience has really chilled me out. Economics: 2500 miles so far. 1700 of these electric. Each electric mile 1/3 of the cost of petrol one. But the money is secondary. I feel as though I am driving the futureason. A stepping stone to full electric in a few years. Will probably go for the extended range i3. Handles like a dream.

This is exactly how I felt in recent weeks, driving different PHEV models around Munich. You realize how annoying combustion engines really are, when you are standing in traffic silently, with no exhausts, but everyone around you blows their fumes in your face. Second insight for me, was that driving the PHEV really wants me to avoid turning the ICE on, as much as I can, because the electric driving is so much nicer. Unfortunately the battery capacity is still quickly exhausted in electric-only mode.
If you are interested in my experience check out our video reviews on youtube.

That is a totally shameless plug for your business….. but it is a bit subtle, since your entire business appears to be about promoting and increasing adoption of renewable energy, EV’s and battery storage it’s probably better just to put a link to your web page:


Nearly 70% electric, that’s pretty good glad you’re enjoying it.

I’ve had the 330e for a little over 7 months and I love it more every day. The AER won’t please commenters here, but it is actually enough to cover most of my driving and I usually only visit the gas station once a month. The 330e feels like a fighter jet every time you get in, the sport seats hug you, you engage max e drive and eco pro then glide off with just a whirr. On the highway, the electric motor acts like an afterburner, filling in the torque curve and allows you to instantly overtake anyone, then you drop it in battery save and watch the regen in idrive. Most people here seem to think the 330e is a compromise car, but nothing could be further from the truth, it is a blast to drive, seats 5 comfortably, has plenty of trunk space, fold down rear seats, covers most drives entirely electrically, gets incredibly good gas mileage and only takes 3 minutes to fill up the 10 gallon tank when taking extended trips. All this said, I would never recommend buying a 330e, this car is to be leased. Incentives bring lease pricing down to numbers similar… Read more »

Sounds like fun just wait the up and coming 340e will be all electric /