Browse over 9,000 car reviews

BMW 330e 2023 review

  • DrivetrainPHEV
  • Battery capacity12kWh
  • Battery typeLi-ion
  • Electric range57km WLTP
  • Combined Range440km
  • Plug TypeMode2 and Mode 3
  • DC charge rateN/A
  • AC charge rate3.7kW
  • Electric motor output80kW/120Nm
  • Combustion engine output135kW/300Nm
  • Combined output215kW/420Nm
  • Petrol efficiency2.5L/100km
  • Electric efficiencyN/A
Complete Guide to BMW 3 Series

A hybrid BMW 3 Series makes sense now that everything is going electric. And the BMW 330e M Sport is the plug-in hybrid version of the 330i petrol variant. What's not to like, then?

Well, that's what we're here for because this review of the BMW 330e M Sport will reveal everything we've discovered about the car and will help you decide if it really does make sense to make it your next car.

We've covered everything from practicality to on-road performance, features and prices. And yes, we've run a fuel test to see just how efficient this plug-in hybrid is to live with in the real world.

Price and features - Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The BMW 330e M Sport lists for $97,400, which is $4000 more than its 330i petrol twin.

The M Sport part of the name is there because the 330e comes standard with the M Sport pack. And that gives you a tough body kit, M Sport suspension, M Sport seats and aluminium trim, as well as M Sport door sills.

The car we tested and the one you can see in the video and images also comes with the 'M Sport Pro Package'. It costs $2800 and adds a boot-lid spoiler, glossy black grille and tail pipes, and M Sport seat belts, among other goodness.

The car we tested and the one you can see in the video and images also comes with the 'M Sport Pro Package'. (image: Richard Berry) The car we tested and the one you can see in the video and images also comes with the 'M Sport Pro Package'. (image: Richard Berry)

This car also had the optional 'Visibility Package' fitted. It costs $4800 and adds a sunroof and adaptive LED headlights.

There's no direct rival for the 330e in Australia now. Mercedes Benz used to have a C300e, a plug-in version of its C-Class, but retired it locally some time ago.

The standard features of the 330e M Sport are identical to the 330i M Sport.

The M Sport pack adds  M Sport seats, but the M Sport Pro Pack our car came with adds the snazzy seat belts. (image: Richard Berry) The M Sport pack adds M Sport seats, but the M Sport Pro Pack our car came with adds the snazzy seat belts. (image: Richard Berry)

So, along with that M Sport pack also coming standard on the 330e is a head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a 14.9-inch media screen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three zone-climate control, wireless phone charging, digital radio and power adjustable front seats.

Is it good value? There's a stack of equipment, tech, beautiful M Sport additions and it all feels superbly high quality. But knowing you can have a 330i for less means you're paying more just for the hybrid system. So, let's talk about that...

The M Sport pack adds some very sexy features such as the M Sport aerodynamic body kit. (image: Richard Berry) The M Sport pack adds some very sexy features such as the M Sport aerodynamic body kit. (image: Richard Berry)

Drivetrain - What are the key stats for the drivetrain?

The 330e M Sport has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. The engine makes 135kW while the motor produces up to 80kW, for a combined dollop of 215kW. Total torque is more than sufficient at 420Nm.

Acceleration to 100km/h from zero feels as quick as the 5.8 seconds BMW claims and that's also about a tenth of a second brisker than the 330i.

The 330e M Sport has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. (image: Richard Berry) The 330e M Sport has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. (image: Richard Berry)

The 'XtraBoost' function combines the total output of both the engine and motor briefly providing that great acceleration.

An eight-speed automatic shifts gears smoothly with the drive going to the rear wheels.

I like all this very much - the responsive engine, the fantastic transmission, the extra oomph from the motor and the way it all works together seamlessly. It's just a shame it's not as efficient as some other new plug-in hybrids.

Energy consumption - How much does it consume? What's the range like, and what it's like to recharge/refuel?

The 330e M Sport is a plug-in hybrid which must be connected to an external power source regularly to charge its 12kWh battery.

The charging flap is located on the left side of the car near the front passenger door, which worked well for me as I could steer the 330e into my driveway and connect to a powerpoint on the wall using the charging cable provided.

It took me about six hours to charge the battery to 100 per cent from zero and that gives you a maximum 57km of electric driving range.

During my four days with the 330e Sydney's summer temperatures were hitting 34-degeres Celsius and with the climate control keeping the cabin at a hospitable 18C electric range was seriously cut short to about 40km.

I drove the 330e in hybrid mode nearly all the time - this is a hybrid after all. But there is a 'Sport' mode for more grunt and a 'Battery Hold' mode to save the charge for later.

I started with a full charge and a full tank of petrol, and for four days I lived with the 330e as I do with all my test cars.

I didn't aim to get the best fuel economy ever, nor was I wasteful with fuel. My wife and I, plus our two kids, just used it as our family car, doing trips to the beach, endless laps of the supermarket car park looking for a space, a birthday party, the lot.

The cabin’s double screens are impressive but I miss analogue gauges and found the digital instrument cluster overly busy. (image: Richard Berry) The cabin’s double screens are impressive but I miss analogue gauges and found the digital instrument cluster overly busy. (image: Richard Berry)

I drove 154.7km over those four days and charged it on the second day after the battery was drained completely before driving another 70km or so over the next couple of days.

When I filled up after this it needed 7.74 litres to reach full again - it's a small 41 litre tank.

That converts to average fuel consumption of 5.0L/100km, which is bang on double the 2.5L/100km BMW says you should get.

I don't doubt you could get 2.5L/100km, but you'd have to be doing short trips and charging almost every time you weren't driving. And not use the climate control on an icy blast setting.

I've tested other plug-in hybrids that achieved much better mileage and that's because their on-board charging capabilities were excellent.

Some were even able to use the petrol engine to power the motor in reverse and therefore act as a generator to recharge the batteries fully.

The 330e M Sport doesn't do a good job of charging its battery while on the go. Sport mode does recoup charge to the battery, but again, if you're doing a long motorway trip that charge evaporates fast.

I don't think this type of plug-in hybrid is suited well to our country where we don't blink an eye at travelling 100km for Christmas lunch and then drive back again.

Also think about if you ever go on a trip away and don't have access to a power point or public charger. It's happened to me.

Design - Is there anything interesting about its design?

Once upon a time sedans were all we drove, well mainly. Then SUVs became the style of car most people wanted. In fact, three out of four new cars sold in Australia today are SUVs.

So, I commend you on your choice of not just doing what everybody else does, and you'll be rewarded with better driving dynamics, and ownership of an iconic BMW - the four door, 3 Series.

Does the BMW 330e M Sport makes sense or is it out of date already? (image: Richard Berry) Does the BMW 330e M Sport makes sense or is it out of date already? (image: Richard Berry)

And even though this is a plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series it's identical in styling to the petrol variants. Only the light blue border around the BMW roundel is the indication that it's an electric vehicle. That and the charging flap near the left front wheel.

The M Sport pack adds some very sexy features such as the M Sport aerodynamic body kit, the door sills and M Sport seats, but the M Sport Pro Pack our car came with adds a black gloss grille, boot lid spoiler and the snazzy seat belts.

The cabin's double screens are impressive but I miss analogue gauges and found the digital instrument cluster overly busy and led more by cool design than functionality.

Even though this is a plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series it’s identical in styling to the petrol variants. (image: Richard Berry) Even though this is a plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series it’s identical in styling to the petrol variants. (image: Richard Berry)

Practicality - How practical is the space inside?

People will tell you SUVs are more practical than sedans... and they're right, but not in as many ways as they probably think.

The cabins of sedans and SUVs of the same size are close in terms of space, but the 330e comes with excellent storage - better than many SUVs I've tested, featuring enormous door pockets, and a deep centre console storage bin.

There are four cupholders, too. Two in the fold down armrest in the back and another two up front.

The 330’s boot was still big enough to fit our two largest 'CarsGuide' suitcases. (image: Richard Berry) The 330’s boot was still big enough to fit our two largest 'CarsGuide' suitcases. (image: Richard Berry)

There's also wireless charging up front, plus USB ports for the back passengers. The second row also has its own climate control and directional air vents.

Legroom is excellent in the back and I can sit behind my driving position with plenty of room to spare. Headroom is also excellent thanks to the tall roofline of the 3 Series.

Where a sedan isn't as practical as an SUV is its ride height, which makes getting in and out of the latter easier (although the 330e's doors open very wide) and its boot opening.

The 330e comes with excellent storage - better than many SUVs I’ve tested, featuring enormous door pockets, and a deep centre console storage bin. (image: Richard Berry) The 330e comes with excellent storage - better than many SUVs I’ve tested, featuring enormous door pockets, and a deep centre console storage bin. (image: Richard Berry)

SUVs have hatch-like openings and that offers a wider and taller aperture for carrying cargo.

The 330's boot was still big enough to fit our two largest CarsGuide suitcases (see the video), but the location of the battery means cargo capacity has been reduced from 480 litres in a petrol 330i to 375 litres in this 330e.

The 330’s boot was still big enough to fit our two largest 'CarsGuide' suitcases. (image: Richard Berry) The 330’s boot was still big enough to fit our two largest 'CarsGuide' suitcases. (image: Richard Berry)

Safety - What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The 3 Series was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2019. The 330e comes standard with AEB, lane keeping assistance, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

There are excellent cameras front and rear and LED headlights, too.

Adaptive cruise control is also standard on the 330e M Sport.

Ownership - What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The 330e M sport is covered by BMW's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The hybrid battery is covered by a six-year/100,000km warranty.

BMW offers a five-year/80,000km service package for the 3 Series for $2150.

Service intervals are condition-based, and the car will let you know when it's time for a check-up.

Driving - What's it like to drive?

The 330e M Sport is outstanding to drive. The driving position is superb, the steering is effortless and accurate, handling is excellent and the ride is beautifully comfortable.

Brake pedal feel is surprisingly good for a hybrid - some have a wooden sensation.

The transition from electric motor to petrol engine is also remarkably smooth.

An eight-speed automatic shifts gears smoothly with the drive going to the rear wheels. (image: Richard Berry) An eight-speed automatic shifts gears smoothly with the drive going to the rear wheels. (image: Richard Berry)

Acceleration in Sport mode is sudden, with the engine and motor combining their mumbo to move you. There is a 'fake' or synthesised exhaust note in Sport mode, but it sounds convincing.

Speaking of sounds at lower speeds, in fully electric mode the 330e emits a warning tone to alert pedestrians of your presence. It's quite loud in car parks and does actually make people turn around looking for a UFO.

  • DrivetrainPHEV
  • Battery capacity12kWh
  • Battery typeLi-ion
  • Electric range57km WLTP
  • Combined Range440km
  • Plug TypeMode2 and Mode 3
  • DC charge rateN/A
  • AC charge rate3.7kW
  • Electric motor output80kW/120Nm
  • Combustion engine output135kW/300Nm
  • Combined output215kW/420Nm
  • Petrol efficiency2.5L/100km
  • Electric efficiencyN/A
Complete Guide to BMW 3 Series

The 330e M Sport is an excellent car, but it could be a much better hybrid.

In Australia, where driving distances can be vast, a car that's as comfortable and easy to live with as this one is welcome. But for the electric range to dissipate so quickly, and not recoup again at a fast enough rate without plugging into a charger, is disappointing.

There are other plug-in hybrids, even among the more affordable mainstream brands, which can return charge to the battery incredibly quickly and effectively on the go.

If you are looking to make the step into a hybrid, then perhaps consider a fully electric car. There isn't a battery electric 3 Series on the market in Australia (yet), but BMW does sell the iX1 small SUV for less money than a 330e or the iX3 for a tad more.

Both are pure electric SUVs and have a range of between 400-500km. You'll never need petrol again, which makes a hybrid seem outdated.

$62,988 - $119,988

Based on 32 car listings in the last 6 months

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

4/5
Price Guide

$62,988 - $119,988

Based on 32 car listings in the last 6 months

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.