The 2016 BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid without compromise.
It’s equipped with a 2.0-liter Twin Power turbocharged inline four, paired with a lithium-ion powered electric motor and mated to an eight speed automatic transmission. The combined hybrid system output is 248 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque, which delivers a respectable 0-60 mile per hour time of 5.9 seconds.
Driving the 330e is a very cool experience. Put aside your preconceptions you might have about hybrids. The 330 moves when you stomp on it. It’s pure electric – super smooth and quiet – when it needs to be, and delivers plenty of turbo punch when you put your foot in it.
The four drive modes meet your moods: EcoPro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+.
Needless to say, I indulged.
The interior is what you’d expect from a 3-series. The comfort level afforded by the adjustability in the front bucket seats is splendid. This one begged to be driven on an extended and tortuous route.
I put the 330e to the test with a run from Central New Jersey to John F Kennedy International airport, in Queens, New York – heading from Route 287 and 440 East over the Outerbridge crossing into Staten Island, and then over the Verrazano’s Bridge into Brooklyn, continuing east on the infamous Belt Parkway — which seems to always have an undesirable level of traffic.
The EPA rates the 330e at 31 MPG combined running without the plug-in battery charged and 72 MPG-E with a charge.
Truth be told, I find the EPA’ MPG-E numbers to be a distraction with plug-in hybrids.
Instead, think of it this way … you can get roughly 18 miles on pure electric power, before the 330e seamlessly switches into normal hybrid mode, after which you can expect 31 MPG combined. If you have access to a Level II 240volt charger, it takes approximately two hours to fully charge the battery.
When setting a destination in the Nav system, the car is designed to use electric power to its best advantage – saving the charge for in-town and heavy traffic situations. You can, of course, decide when you want to change modes via the eDrive button which provides Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save Battery Modes.
When the navigation system saw heavy traffic in Brooklyn, it rerouted me along the waterfront, somewhere in the neighborhood of Coney Island, before sending me back to the Belt Parkway.
After my JFK pickup, I had to stop in Manhattan before heading back to Jersey. I caught some cool nighttime footage on the cam rolling down 42nd Street.
The 330e’s advanced technology made this one of the least stressful high-traffic trips I’ve ever taken.
Those stress-relieving options, add quite a bit to the bottom line. The Base MSRP on our tester was $43,700. With all the options, it clocked in at just over $60K.
The nav system comes with the Technology option package, which also includes a sweet heads-up display.
The Driver Assistance Package includes a rearview camera and park distance control. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds Blind spot detection, side and top view cameras, and the active driving assistant. Adaptive Cruise Control is a standalone option.
It’s well worth noting that all factory maintenance is free, for the first four years or 50,000 miles. That’s a cost-free stress reliever.
The BMW 330e puts it all together. If you’re considering a Tesla Model 3, you owe it to yourself to go to your local BMW dealer and take a 330e out for a test drive, ASAP. Plug-in hybrid cars are a bridge to the all-electric future and the 330e is a stunning example.