“How do you improve the Definition of a Sports Sedan?”
Pick up any car magazine or turn on any auto show and within a short period of time, some journalist or broadcaster will mention the BMW 3 series. Why? you may ask. For nearly 5 decades the 3 Series has been a benchmark. Carmakers around the world have tried to capture the essence of the 3 Series because it captures what a sports sedan should be. Its formula was a perfect balance of power, handling and driving feel. Over these 5 decades, the 3 Series did lose its way, becoming bloated and numb. But, as many lost things do, it has found its way home. To enhance this rekindled connection to the road BMW has introduced an electrified version of its masterpiece of engineering.
What does all this mean, eDrive takes the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 181 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and Combines a 113 horsepower electric motor. The result is a total output of 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, great numbers. The plugin hybrid system comes in RWD and all-wheel drive modes with xDrive. Range in full electric runs between approximately 30 to 35 km.
Pricing of the 330e ranges just under $45,000.00 for RWD and increases to $54,000.00 for the xDrive model. I would expect the majority of buyers to opt for the xDrive variant. Unfortunately, this will eliminate any federal and provincial incentives. Our tester in beautiful Tanzanite Blue runs in at just under $63,000.00.
Internally and externally little differentiates the 330e from its siblings. Rear trunk cargo is slightly reduced due to the placement of batteries under the trunk. The 330e has not shifted to the massive bucktooth grill. Its changes in lines are subtle yet progressive. It feels handsome and masculine and distinctly BMW. The wheel is thick and substantial giving you a feeling of strength as you drive. Feedback is clear and direct. The drive train is responsive and precise. 0-60 comes in the mid-5-second mark with a short burst of eBoost that adds 10 seconds of extra electrified power. This all combines to give you that traditional 3 Series confidence while driving, begging you to drive more and enjoy the process the whole while. The eDrive addition also makes for a sublime hybrid system. Transitions between the electric and the combustion engine are smooth and barely noticeable. Engine noise is minimal and even under hard acceleration, the cabin is not intruded by the buzz of the 4 cylinder.
The introduction of a plugin system to the 3 Series is exactly what is needed. It’s a compromise for those who wish to move to a more environmentally friendly vehicle but are hesitant to go full electric. The 330e gives enough short distance electric driving to handle your local commute or run to the grocery store. However, it eliminates the range anxiety that accompanies full electric vehicles, giving drivers that peace of mind while enjoying the best of both worlds. For traditional BMW owners, the 330e gives the driving dynamics and feel they are used to but allows them the choice to move into inevitable electrification smoothly.