We've had roughly a year to acquaint ourselves with the current-generation BMW 3 Series. Now, the new 330e plug-in hybrid joins the ranks, promising a proper combination of efficiency and performance in the sports sedan segment. Does it properly deliver on all fronts? That will depend on the eventual first-drive of this electrically-infused Bimmer, but on paper, the stats seem fairly impressive.
The core of the 330e is obviously its powertrain. BMW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generates 184 horsepower (135 kW), with a single electric motor nestled in the eight-speed automatic transmission providing an extra 113 hp (83 kW). Combined, BMW lists total output at 252 hp (185 kW), but this new hybrid has an interesting feature called XtraBoost that works not unlike a shot of nitrous oxide. With the 330e in Sport mode, mashing the accelerator adds an additional 40 hp (30kW) for a period of up to 10 seconds, giving the sedan a total output of 292 hp (215 kW) . . . for a little while anyway.
BMW says the 330e can go from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph), though it's not clear if these benchmarks are achieved using XtraBoost. In addition to speed, the 330e can also be equipped with the standard complement of trim levels, including the spiffy M Sport variant with upgraded adaptive suspension and M Sport brakes.
When performance isn't as important as saving fuel, the 330e can reach electric-only speeds up to 68 mph (110 km/h) in Hybrid mode. By switching to full-on Electric mode, the sedan will top out at 87 mph (140 km/h). a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery is positioned beneath the rear seat ahead of the fuel tank, giving the 330e an electric-only range of 37 to 41 miles (59 to 66 kilometers). The battery does reduce the Bimmer's trunk space just a bit, but the 40/20/40 split-fold back seat allows more storage space when needed. If that's still not enough, BMW will offer a 330e Touring estate for the first time, though it won't arrive until the summer of 2020.
Speaking of which, the 330e sedan is currently launching worldwide, with a trailer-towing version available in November. Pricing will be revealed at a later date.