Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

BMW 3 Series 330e 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Richard Blackburn road tests and reviews the BMW 330e with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

You might also be interested in the Alfa Romeo Giulia

image of Alfa Romeo Giulia Book A Test Drive Request A Brochure

Richard Blackburn road tests and reviews the BMW 330e with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

The 3 Series plug-in is among the best of the breed. It commutes on electricity — but is still every bit a BMW.

When it comes to hybrids, BMW is a late adopter. It launched its first petrol-electric vehicle in Australia late in 2012, roughly a decade after the first Toyota Prius landed here.

But the Bavarians are making up for lost time, with four plug-in petrol-electric cars in the line-up, the 330e being the latest arrival.

BMW claims the 330e will travel up to 37km on electricity alone before switching to petrol power, allowing some owners to recharge at each end of the trip and do the weekly commute without using a drop of petrol.

To add to the appeal, BMW says the plug-in version is only $2000 more than the equivalent petrol version, which is roughly the same premium you’d pay for a diesel.

Design

The technology beneath the panels may be cutting edge but there are precious few exterior design cues that you are driving a plug-in.

There’s a charging socket on the left front panel and discreet eDrive logos on the rear, door sills and engine.

The seats are comfortable supportive, the controls easy to use and the rear seating reasonably generous for a mid-size Euro sedan.

Elsewhere, there are the usual packaging compromises when, essentially, two power sources are fitted to a car.

BMW designers have managed these well. Boot space is down from 480L to 370L but the floor is flat and the rear seat backs still fold to extend cargo space.

The petrol tank is down from 60L to 41L, although BMW claims the range is still 600km.

Much the same as in any other 3 Series, the cabin has extra readouts in the instrument panel to deal with electric range and power flow.

The seats are comfortable supportive, the controls easy to use and the rear seating reasonably generous for a mid-size Euro sedan.

Around town

How much of your city driving is emissions-free depends on the length of your commute and your access to a parking space with a power point.

Unlike other EVs we’ve driven, the projected range is pretty close to what you get, regardless of traffic conditions.

CarsGuide’s carpark has a dedicated fast charger to top up the battery in a couple of hours, provided there’s no one in the parking spot, so theoretically that means 74km of electric drive per day.

In practice, though, our peak electric range was 22km. The good news was that unlike other EVs we’ve driven, the projected range is pretty close to what you get, regardless of traffic conditions.

The 330e is smart off the mark in all-electric mode — it feels a lot like the i3 in that regard — and with both power sources engaged it’s quick. BMW claims 6.1 secs for the 0-100km/h sprint in, just three-tenths slower than a 330i.

Combined official fuel consumption is 2.1L/100km but we found it varied from zero to about 11.0L when the electricity ran out.

BMW says the 330e has the same equipment as a 330i and it gets all the gear you need for negotiating urban driving: stop-start, automated emergency braking with pedestrian warning, lane departure warning, head-up digital speedo display and bird’s-eye view of the car for parking.

It’s heavier than the 3 Series stablemates and doesn’t get adaptive suspension, so be prepared for the odd thump over potholes and road joins.

On the road

That extra weight doesn’t cause any dramas through the bends. The 330e remains every bit a BMW on a country road — the steering feel is superb and its roadholding ability is still the benchmark in the class.

The 330e is one of the best examples of the plug-in breed.

Unlike other hybrids, you don’t have to put up with a continuously variable transmission whirring away in the background — it gets the same silky smooth eight-speed auto as the rest of the range.

When the electric motor and 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder team up on the freeway, the result is effortless response. Combined, they match the power of the 330i, while there’s 70Nm of extra torque on tap for overtaking. Pity it can’t tow.

Verdict

The 330e is one of the best examples of the plug-in breed. It has enough electric range to justify the $2000 premium and you don’t sacrifice much in terms of performance, comfort or functionality, even if the range claims seem wide of the mark.

We’re not completely sold on the plug-in concept, though. If you’re using the electric motor, you’re lugging around a redundant 2.0-litre turbo you’ve paid good money for — and the reverse applies once you’ve exhausted the electric range.

What it's got

Recharging kit that can be used with a household plug, EV-specific instrument readouts, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, satnav with charging points highlighted.

What it hasn't

Active cruise control, adaptive suspension available on other models, self-parking, launch control, towing capacity.

Ownership

BMW’s capped servicing costs are the best value of premium brands, at $1340 over 5 years, services are “condition-based”, meaning the car diagnoses when it needs a service.

 

Click here to see more 2016 BMW 3 Series pricing and spec info.

Want more? Check out Richard Berry's video review of the 330e below:

Pricing Guides

$41,900
Based on 76 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$32,888
Highest Price
$55,833

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
328i Gran Turismo (Luxury) 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $44,990 – 52,360 2016 BMW 3 Series 2016 328i Gran Turismo (Luxury) Pricing and Specs
320i Gran Turismo (Modern) 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $42,900 – 49,830 2016 BMW 3 Series 2016 320i Gran Turismo (Modern) Pricing and Specs
320d Gran Turismo (Sport) 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $40,590 – 47,740 2016 BMW 3 Series 2016 320d Gran Turismo (Sport) Pricing and Specs
330i LUXURY LINE GRAN TURISMO 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $46,750 – 54,340 2016 BMW 3 Series 2016 330i LUXURY LINE GRAN TURISMO Pricing and Specs

You might also be interested in the Alfa Romeo Giulia

image of Alfa Romeo Giulia Book A Test Drive Request A Brochure
EXPERT RATING
7