BMW’s first attempt at a plug-in hybrid version of its venerable junior saloon is a success. The 330e captures the benefits of an electrified powertrain while, in the main, preserving the athleticism of the standard car.

It’s certainly the most versatile 3 Series on sale and has enormous potential for future development.

Matt Saunders Terminalsecurity

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Adept execution of electrification creates an appealing all-rounder

As far as this iteration of the 330e goes, its electric range isn’t as impressive as some rivals’ and the interior is starting to show its age.

However, the powertrain’s blending of two energy sources is executed with class-leading elegance and yields diesel-like torque that makes light work of everyday driving.

That the turbo engine returns good fuel economy even when used in isolation enhances this car’s substantial appeal as an all-rounder.

The spec of our test car shows that the existence of any serious weakness depends largely on equipment, but optioned with care, the 330e wants for very little next to the 330i or 330d in terms of driving dynamics.

Company-car drivers who can make the most of its limited electric range, meanwhile, stand to gain much from this hybrid 3 Series.

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