BMW 330e Inside Lane Test Drive Review – Video

MAY 7 2016 BY MARK KANE 29

Plus, we’ve got the specs.

BMW 330e plug-in hybrid recently just appeared in the U.S. showrooms.  The first ~44 copies sold through the end of April from a handful of stock (all plug-in models monthly sales can be found here).

With up to 14 miles (22.5 km) of EPA range on its 7.6 kWh battery, the BMW 330e is one of the shorter-ranged plug-ins inherited from the European market, but we still expect it to see in a decent sized volume…at least once there is more than ~100 or so in stock to sell.

The 330e was recently reviewed by Inside Lane (video above) in UK, where prices starts at £34,235 ($44,695 in U.S.), which is not much above conventional version.

Overall, the 330e is a tidy proposition for someone tempted by the BMW 3 Series that willing to add plug-in capability.

Quick 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 6.1 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)

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29 Comments on "BMW 330e Inside Lane Test Drive Review – Video"

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Holy crap, 1735kg, that’s only slightly less then a Chevrolet Volt and over a 100 more then a Chevy Bolt (1600kg). That’s only a few hundred less then a entry level Tesla.

Really looking forward to seeing what BMW will come up with for a i5 that would compare to the traditional 3 series with a CFRP body.

The electric horsepower figure isn’t too wild, but I can confirm that 60hp and ample torque is generally enough to put something this size in motion. A i-Miev with 4 people is also around the 1500kg mark and it doesn’t seem to mind much. It’s most noticeable with the regen at that weight.

I’ve drive the i8 and I recognize the seamless delivery of power. They seemed to have nailed the right numbers for the electric drivetrain to engage without upsetting the car. It’s quite a feat for something that has a conventional fixed ratios gear box (not like the prius CVT)

330e = 0-60 6.1 sec, $45K, 14 miles AER.

Tesla 3 = 0-60 under 6, $35K, 200+ miles AER.

BMW better do something before Tesla 3 comes out. Even the “compliance” offerings will have to compete against Tesla 3 and poorer offerings will not sell, forcing them to buy credits from Tesla and others.

Those who buy hybrids don’t care about AER. They’re still prefer ICE cars and they care about fuel consumption. I’ve read in a test, its real life mileage (with sporty driving) is about 4-5 l/100km (~50-60mpg). So can drive 800-1000 km (500-620 miles) with a small tank (41 liter / 10.8 gallon). This is the main selling point of all hybrids.

Anyway… IMO, on the US market the Model 3 will cause some loss to BMW (and all others), on the EU market I don’t think so. On the Chinese market I don’t know. The German 3 is growing pretty fast in China nowadays, but who knows what the future will bring.

Unless you’re often driving 500 miles in one sitting without bathroom breaks, that kind of range compared to EV that can “fuel” at home doesn’t mean much. But what does matter is 0-60 performance, and to pay $10K more for BMW while being slower than Tesla makes little sense.

@SparkEV: Speaking of range I agree with you. But you must understand the other people (the vast majority of the population) think differently. What they see is they have to go to the petrol station less often (and they have to pay less for fuel). The majority of people are still afraid of BEVs. About the acceleration: Both 330e and Model 3 accelerate just as quick as the other one. (You can’t feel some tenth second differences.) Everybody like fast cars but for most people the acceleration becomes secondary under 6-7 seconds. I understand it matters more for you, but for the majority the 6 sec. is already pretty fast. Under this threshold other things become more important for them. @philip d: I don’t like these comparisons for two reasons. At first, the Model S is more likely comparable to 6 series or A6 in terms of size. 7 series, A8, etc. are much bigger (specially the long wheelbase versions) than Model S, and they are even more luxurious. (The Model S is not a luxury car at all. Elon said that, and I agree.) At second, other carmakers have a couple of different models in this size range and… Read more »

“Anyway… IMO, on the US market the Model 3 will cause some loss to BMW (and all others), on the EU market I don’t think so.”

I don’t know about that. The Model S is outselling Audi and BMW in the luxury class in Western Europe. It’s was really close to outselling the S-Class as well in 2015. I think so far in 2016 it is.

Will this translate to outselling the German automakers in Western Europe in the entry level market? Maybe, maybe not but it looks certainly possible.

“on the US market the Model 3 will cause some loss to BMW (and all others), on the EU market I don’t think so” Actually range anxiety is less of a concern in the EU than the open spaces of the U.S.

There is no point in comparing a car available now to a car that will be available 1.5 to 2 years from now.

14 mile range seriously?
This kinda of range might have been good 5 years ago, but today it’s pathetic.

BMW must intentionally not want very much all electric range. A 7.6 kWh battery? Really? My Zero SR has 15.8 kWh battery and it is not a large motorcycle by any standard. For the space of a few bags of grocery’s you could have a battery twice that size.

Exactly! It’s a joke.

It’s a serious effort no compromises sporty car that will cut the average user’s gasoline consumption by 1/2 or more.

If oil was $100/ barrel and Tesla was barely a blip on the radar (i.e. when this car was conceived) … there would be much rejoicing and purchasing.

Must be hell to be in charge of product development at a car company these days.

/looking forward to some long term mpg reviews to see how well the “smart battery nav” does

Don’t think that! In the EU and China the hybrids grow much faster than the BEVs. (I don’t have data about the US market.) E.g. in Germany the EVs grew 45% while the PHEVs 145% (both were about 11000-12000) in last year. So this is why all major carmakers are pushing out the hybrids and don’t care much about EVs. Just BMW released 3 hybrid models in the last half year and they want to make available all models in hybrid in the next couple of years. So sadly we need to wait a “few” more years for a big range of EVs.

I was thinking of the US Market.

European $6/gal gasoline prices provide for a different sales perspective.

I read the numbers different. There are some BEVs available and while there are around twice as much PHEVs available the selling numbers are even.

Until there is a BEV and a PHEV of at least every car type (luxury, SUV, sedan, middle class, small ecobobox, minivan) and from different manufacturers a real compare can’t be made.

The Niro will be a good example 🙂

@Mr. M:
Selling numbers were even in the last year, but with these growth rate the PHEVs will really jump ahead in this year and later. And an other 3-6 new PHEV will come to the market while no new BEV will be released in this year.

Anyway… Have a look at this new report about Norway:

Good for gov. incentive and green environment sticker.
Non of these will be pluged in regularly…

The car is well finished on the interior, comfortable, sporty, and has the advantages of being a hybrid. There aren’t many PHEV sedans on the road today that have this combination of luxury and sport. Remember, for the mainstream driver that wants to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, without having to keep the speed below 75mph (you will get run over on the I-15), the 330e would effortlessly cruise 90mph in 110F temps. As far as 0-60mph, compared to Tesla, BMW is very conservative with their numbers. And remember, this same engine with just a software upgrade makes 50hp more in the X5. 50HP more would put this car solidly in the 5 second 0-60mph range.

Also, if the model 3 is actually close to the same 0-60 time, the 330e would handily pull away from the Tesla in any upper speed comparison. (40mph+). Just like the stock BMW M3 will pull away from the most powerful P90D at upper speeds.

I am one of the 100 or so with this car. I’ve had it for two and a half months and have 1,500 miles on it. It is an amazing vehicle if you use it as intended. I am averaging 80 mpg for the full 1,500 miles. I have a n 8 mile commute each way and make it on a full charge. However, I have driven it to Vancouver, BC and to Shelton as well as Sea-Tac Airport at least ten times. Probably have at least 60 to 70% highway miles but plug in whenever I can. The car is great because it loses no BMW functionality. It is seriously fast when you want or need it and handles and rides significantly better than the 2013 3 series it replaced for me. Even the split folding rear seat remains, which is a plug in hybrid rarity. I considered the Volt and several others as I wanted the flexibility of longer range for trips with the gas capability, but I’ve been spoiled by BMW capabilities. I drove the A3 e-tron but it is not as quick and a little more down market. I couldn’t be more pleased so far.

Just read the Car and Driver write up. All the owners of the car in the comment section love the car. Car and Driver actually said the car should be 5.9 second 0-60mph. Imagine if it had the extra 60hp that the engine normally puts out in the 32mph hwy EPA 328i. That car runs 5.2 0-60 times with no EV assist drivetrain.

I love mine as well. 1000 Miles in 1 month and 1/2 a tank of gas used. I have a few gripes with the App and features compared to my last PHEV (Fusion Enegi) but love it.

This is clearly a vehicle with a range targeted for the EU market, where daily and yearly driving distances are much shorter.

Hopefully the second generation with a future battery technology will be better suited for typical US driving patterns. Until then it will really only be suitable for a minority of drivers who have atypical driving patterns for the US market.

For those drivers, it will be save a lot of gas.

The thing with PHEV’s is that Your Mileage WILL Vary. Not everybody needs 50 miles of range every day. And some people can charge at work, and double the effective daily EV range from 14 miles to 28 miles.

It all comes down to knowing what YOUR needs are, and matching a car to your needs.


My 225XE just arrived and very happy with it – same battery as 330e, slightly higher range – for most of my trips sufficient – and ICE for longer stretches… BEVs not attractive for me except Model 5 which costs twice as much!

Model 3 is appealing yes – but I don’t expect this in Europe before 2018 – so should not be considered an alternative today

Let the market decide!

Charging door is monster size.

A lot of complexity, turbo, electric, etc, but no AWD.

Will be interesting sitting next to a Model 3.

Auto reviewers have done great work in the past reporting on the strengths and weaknesses of the offerings from vehicle manufacturers which has led to vastly improved products, safety, and owner satisfaction. But it is time for all auto reviewers to face the new reality. Climate change is already threatening the biosphere and is already upon us. The ability to make a gradual transition to renewables in the transportation sector died over 12 years ago when GM, aided and abetted by the oil industry, killed the EV1. Now only a global mobilization effort to reducing CO2 emissions has any prospect of slowing the temperature increases that are already resulting in; more frequent and more extreme weather events, droughts, bleaching of the coral reefs and the locking-in of further sea level rises that will flood coastal communities making them uninhabitable. All sectors need to contribute to CO2 reductions, but the sector with the most immediate opportunities for significant reductions is the transportation sector. And in this sector, auto manufacturers and their reviewers cannot totally shield themselves from responsibility by pointing to the oil & gas sector. After all, it is the automobile that converts fossil-fuels to CO2. Only plug in (battery… Read more »

This car will be much better when it gets an i3 sized increase in the battery. It will give more useful range and more power. I am not overly excited by the 330e but at least it is similar in price to other 3 series variants and is a good urban commuter.

I have 1 of 44 of these awesome BMW 330e’s sold in the USA. I know the EPA says it will only get 14 miles in all mode but that would be on a straight away with zero reGen and going fast. On my daily commute I get 18 miles and can probably stretch that out to 20 since the car saves 10% of the battery for Hybrid mode. I’ve had it for 1 month now and put 1000 miles on it and only used 1/2 a tan of the original full tank I got it with. I can’t tell you exactly what my avg MPG is since BMW only lets you see 99.9MPG which I am at, so its above that, I would say probably around 120MPG (based on my Ford Fusion Energi I use to have before this). As the guy says above, this car give you speed when you want it or super economy and fun EV driving as well. Truly all BMW inside and out and you can get them as low as $45K if you play your cards right. I would highly recommend!

We will test the 330e today.
0 – 100 only in electric mode
Real range (Sporty, relaxed)
Handling (Curves)
Any other suggestions ?