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