If there is something for which the BMW 3 Series It’s because of the agility and sporty feel. And it is a characteristic that has remained throughout all its generations. It is undoubtedly one of the aspects most appreciated by motorists who still choose to drive a sedan and resist the switch to an SUV.
The recent update of this emblematic model arrived on the local market in the latter part of last year with changes and improvements for the entire range. But it brought to Argentina, for the first time, a plug-in hybrid version of the 3 Series.
Although the news that stands out is that it brought to Argentina, for the first time, a plug-in hybrid version for this renewed 3 Series.
This is the 330e, which replaces the 330i. It basically has a combustion engine, an electric motor and a battery larger than that of a conventional hybrid, which allows it to have an interesting electric range for everyday use.
Like any electrified model, it requires some changes in habits and certain discipline everyday life to achieve the great efficiency it demands.
What changes and what brings newness
The update of this model corresponds to the mid-cycle renewal and, in this case, includes some small changes in the design of the headlights and bumpers and other more evident ones in the interior.
This generation of the 3 Series has proven it they offer the best in the category in terms of interior space, especially regarding the rear seats. Its configuration allows two 1.85 meter adults to travel one behind the other without problems. But three people couldn’t sit comfortably in the back seats because the large transmission tunnel makes this impossible.
BMW’s midsize sedan still offers a driving position close to the ground, which adds to the good driving sensations it offers. And now the driver has a new panorama in front of him.
With this update, the previous screens (instrument panel and central console) are replaced by two other huge ones (12.3″ and 14.9″) which are glued on the top and make up a curved structure oriented towards the driver.
The entire central console has also changed, with a new design of the controls (few) under the central ventilation vents. But the big news is what’s underneath. The gear lever has been replaced with a small switch which reduces space usage but eliminates any idea of sportsmanship.
The multimedia center offers very high image quality and operational speed that is difficult to find in another model on the local market.
A detail to highlight. From now on, the BMW 3 Series will arrive imported from the brand’s factory in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, with no apparent differences in quality and finish compared to units previously arriving from Germany.
A propulsion system that consumes very little
Its propulsion system consists of a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 184 horsepower and another electric motor that delivers 108 horsepower. Combined they generate a total power of 292 horsepower and high torque of 420 Nm.
Furthermore, it has a battery with 10 times the capacity of a conventional hybrid, such as the Ford Kuga or the Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid.
That level of power and torque plus the 8-speed automatic transmission (unlike the CVT variant used by most hybrids sold in the country) offer a completely different driving experience compared to other electrified models.
The car responds more than any acceleration request. In fact, it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds.
It has several management options. In hybrid mode, as long as the battery is powered, the system will choose to give priority to the use of the electric motor and will connect the combustion one only when there is a strong demand for acceleration.
Once the battery is depleted, it will start to operate like a conventional hybrid, meaning the petrol engine will have more presence.
The other driving mode is 100% electric, which must be selected to be used. Here the reactions decrease a little but they are good enough to move with agility in the city. And on the road the maximum speed is limited to 130 km/h.
The autonomy that this mode gave us was 51 kilometers (without air conditioning), against the 62 officially declared.
The battery has a capacity of 11.2 kWh and charges with a maximum power of 3.7 kW. That is, even if you connect it to a powerful charger, it will still take more than 3 and a half hours to complete the charge. That’s why the ideal with a car like this is to have a charger at home or in the office.
And also the ideal is to charge it every day, since this reduces the use of the petrol engine and, therefore, fuel consumption. Furthermore, you can consume zero if your daily commute does not exceed 50 kilometres.
The combustion engine itself does not have the possibility to charge the battery, an interesting alternative if you alternate stretches of road or motorway with urban stretches (the battery charges at a constant speed and in the city you drive “electrically”). Yes, the battery electricity can be reserved for the moment desired by the driver.
This is why it is difficult to establish an average consumption. But with the battery fully charged, It reaches 3 L/100 km. But only the first 100 kilometers and in mixed mode: electric for moving around the city and hybrid on the motorway.
In any case, the average consumption with a flat battery was very good, standing at 6 L/100 km, an unthinkable figure for a model that develops almost 300 horsepower.
For those who admire the 3 Series for its dynamic qualities, this 330e will not disappoint you, even if it is a little heavier. Weaving one curve into another gives comfort to those who love to drive. As always happened with this sedan.
BMW 330e technical sheet
Length 4,713 mm
Width 1,827 mm
Height 1,444 mm
Wheelbase 2,851 mm
Weight 1,845 kilograms
Trunk 375 Dm3
40 liter fuel tank
2.0 petrol combustion engine
Power 184 HP at 5,000 rpm
Electric motor power 108 HP
Combined power 292 HP
Combined torque 420 Nm
Automatic transmission, 8 speeds
Maximum speed 230 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5.8 seconds
Electric range 51 km
Consumption with full battery 3L/100 km
Average consumption without battery charge 6 L/100 km
Stability Control (ESP)
Front, side and curtain airbags
Autonomous emergency brake
adaptive cruise control
Dashboard with 12.3″ screen.
14.9 inch touch multimedia center
3-zone climate control
Ben Stock is a journalist working for News Rebeat, where he covers the automobile section. With a passion for cars and the industry, Ben brings insightful and in-depth reporting to his readers.