LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2015 — BMW is set to launch its future plug-in plans at this year’s LA Auto Show with the debut on Nov. 18 of the German automaker’s all-new “eDrive” BMW 330e. It appears that BMW’s fun and funky pure electric i3 and i8 won’t be alone when it comes to electric power as the classic 330e sedan rolls into BMW showrooms this spring.
BMW’s 330e comes equipped with an electric motor and a turbocharged four-cylinder internal combustion engine. All in all, both motors give the 330e an output of 248 hp, 310 lb-ft torque, the ability to from 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, a top speed of 140 mph and a total range of 373 miles.
So, will the 330e “bring together high-quality dynamics and extremely low fuel consumption,” as BMW claims? The company says this “fusion” of BMW’s “eDrive” technology with its “twin power turbo” petrol engines has resulted in the perfect “plug-in hybrid drive system.”
As this green car expert has recently road tested BMW’s i3, I can attest to the speed and plain fun of driving a Bimmer outfitted with “eDrive.” Fast does not even begin to describe the i3, and, hopefully, BMW’s new 330e will thrill just as much or more than the unusual-looking i3.
How is BMW doing it? The 330e’s electric motor delivers a “permanent electric boost” to supplement the combustion engine giving this handsome sedan a quick boost of all-torque-all-the-time power. Additionally, its 7.6 kW battery enables the vehicle to drive on all-electric power for about 25 miles or so, which saves on fuel costs and lowers noxious emissions.
What about charging? BMW claims the 330e’s battery can be charged in just three hours and 15 minutes on a 120-volt outlet (Level 1) and just two hours on a 240-volt outlet (Level 2). Unfortunately, it seems BMW didn’t equip its new wunder car with a fast charging (or Level 3) intake. Fortunately, BMW says the positioning of the battery under the trunk’s floor does not diminish cargo capacity and is the same as any other BMW 3 series models.
BMW also made certain to give its environmentally-sensitive drivers a lot of driving options. The “driving experience control switch” can be adjusted to “sport,” “comfort” and “eco pro” to conserve battery use. Three driving modes (“Auto eDrive,” “Max eDrive” and “Save Battery”) give the driver better control over the way the electric and ICE engines interact.
In fact, the “Max eDrive” mode lets 330e owners drive the car in electric power only (at a max speed of 80 mph). However, BMW says the ICE engine can “cut in at any time if the accelerator is pushed down when additional power is required” for such things as overtaking other cars.
Like other 3 series models, BMW’s 2016 330e will be installed with BMW’s “ConnectedDrive” infotainment system with some special capabilities for this plug-in version. For example, the system “assists the driver with proactive energy management and calculates an operating strategy which responds to the driving style and route profile at hand.” So says BMW.
What does that mean when it comes to everyday driving? Well, the 330e uses all-electric power on urban streets where starting and stopping add energy to the battery through regenerative braking. But on uphill sections, BMW says the 330e’s ICE engine kicks in for an added power boost so as to not deplete the battery. Back on the downhill stretch, the electric system fully “recuperates” to take advantage of battery recharging via coasting and braking.
What’s the real advantage to 330e? It looks like any other sexy sedan and not some wacky wonder machine. Yes, this new ultimate green driving machine comes with BMW’s stunning, ergonomic and luxurious interior as well as four doors, five seats, a spacious trunk and that oh-so-BMW delicious-looking exterior. Who says you have to compromise to go green? Not with BMW 330e.
Ready to see the new 330e? If you can’t attend the @LAAutoShow, then follow @BMWUSA on Twitter.