3-Series aficionados who have driven and owned the top-selling car before will find the 330e appealing for many reasons. Foremost is the dramatically increased fuel efficiency over its ICE predecessors; the e version gets up to 114MPGe using a powerful turbo 4-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor. The plug-in system produces a 14-mile all-electric range and offers 250HP and 310 lb.-ft or torque, which allows the sedan to reach 60mph in 6.1 seconds.
The 330e’s steering system is newly engineered, and updated stability control has been added, enhancing this plug-in’s driving dynamics. A New York Daily News review says: "After just over 40 years of persistence, the BMW 3 Series has come to define what customers expect in a small, luxury sports sedan, so much so that every newcomer to the segment is instantly subjected to the BMW bar to see if it holds up. But plug-in hybrids are a relatively new field, and converting a compact sports sedan into one was something unheard of even 10 years ago. With such a new and unique challenge, can BMW make as good a hybrid sports sedan as they make a gas-powered one? The short answer is: absolutely, they can. In fact, it’s so hard to tell the difference between the 330e and a “regular” 3 Series that many passersby may never even notice that you’re whisking by on electric-aided power. The only differing visual cues are the “eDrive” badges on both D-pillars, an “e” next to 330 where an “i” would normally be found, and the charging port door on the front left side. Much like its electrified SUV counterpart, the 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is the 3 Series of the future, like it or not."
Car and Driver test drivers say: "What is sort of space-age about the 330e is how the navigation system can feed the powertrain real-time data. While GPS-connected transmissions that preemptively shift for corners aren’t new to the BMW Group (see the Rolls-Royce Wraith), the 330e has a master’s degree in trip planning. It scans the entire route, accounts for traffic, and plots how best to split its dual power sources along your drive. On a highway section, for example, the 330e would recharge its battery quicker so that later it might whisper silently through a small village it knows you’ll be entering. And in practice, the software actually works. However, when starting with a full charge, the 330e runs as an EV only for the first few miles. After that, it acts more like a traditional hybrid with the engine running and the generator charging the battery.
Three selectable electric driving modes (Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, Save Battery) let the driver take command from the navigation system (of note, Save Battery will charge and maintain the battery at 50 percent; this significantly reduces fuel economy). Full electric driving in Max eDrive is possible up to 75 mph, but since there are only 87 ponies on tap, mashing the accelerator will indeed fire the gas engine. The familiar BMW driving modes (Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, Sport+) also are on hand and perform their usual steering and throttle-response tweaks. BMW claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph."
A ZeroToHundred.com reviewer says: "It’s hard to explain the exact sensation from the silence and silkiness of the e-propulsion, but it’s kinda like operating your own personal bullet train. Drive is supremely seamless, including the 8 speed transmission. The serenity in e-mode is akin to driving a magic carpet. The recent time spent with the 330e gave me more than a glimpse into the sensational world of plug in hybrids. Driving the 330e is like driving in the future. It’s crazy how they’ve managed to mix fuel and electric so seamlessly to not just accentuate driving pleasure but greatly amplifying available performance."
The 330e starts at $45,600.
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