The new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid saloon is due to be launched in summer 2019. It delivers a 50 per cent increase in electric-only range to go with a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 10 per cent.
A major new addition to the new 330e is the standard-fit XtraBoost – an on-demand performance system that increases power output of the plug-in hybrid drive from 249 bhp by 40 bhp at the touch of a button.
As well as the extra power, the updated plug-in hybrid can cover a distance of up to 37 miles using electric power alone while average combined fuel consumption is now 138mpg and CO2 emissions are 39g/km.
The plug-in hybrid drivetrain comprises a 181 bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology aligned to an electric motor that generates a continuous output of 67 bhp and a peak output of 111 bhp.
Together, the two drive units develop a total output of 249 bhp along with a peak torque of 310 ft lb, but extra power can be sourced when selecting the SPORT driving mode. This activates the XtraBoost system that draws on power stored in the high voltage battery. The XtraBoost can be used up to the minimum charge status of the high voltage battery and is also available for kickdown manoeuvres and in the M/S position of the gear selector lever.
The new BMW 330e Saloon can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 6.0 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 143mph. It can travel up to 68mph when running on electric power alone – 18mph faster than the predecessor model.
In order to save space, the BMW 330e’s electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. This means the hybrid-specific transmission is only 15mm longer than the corresponding versions for conventionally powered BMW 3 Series saloons.
The BMW 330e also offers a model-specific sound design to deliver a “suitably throaty” engine noise when the car is put through its paces. The hybrid-specific optional equipment features also include an acoustic pedestrian protection function, so that those about to cross the road can hear the car approaching when it is in electric-only mode.
The new BMW 330e also features regenerative braking in order to optimise efficiency. The system stores the energy captured during braking with the electric motor taking on the function of a generator. The electrical energy fed into the high-voltage battery in this way or via connection to the power grid also serves to supply the vehicle electrical system. This means that a generator powered by the combustion engine is no longer necessary, increasing overall efficiency.
The 12.0kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery in the new BMW 330e Saloon is positioned underneath the rear seats, while the fuel tank is located above the rear axle to ensure optimal luggage capacity. The total storage volume is 375 litres but can be increased by folding down the rear-seat backrests which are configured in a 40:20:40 split.
Virtually the entire range of optional equipment features for the new BMW 3 Series Saloon is available for the plug-in hybrid. As alternatives to the basic model, the new BMW 330e offers SE, Sport Line and M Sport versions. It can also be fitted with the Adaptive M suspension including Variable Sports Steering and the M sports brake system.
The BMW 330e is on sale from July 2019, with prices to be confirmed.