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BMW 330e Touring: long-term test review


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Plugging into a car with only about 20 miles of electric range is a chore, especially if you don’t have the means to recharge at home. Other than this, the BMW 330e is a car with great performance and even more so now in Tourist guise. It feels like the right stepping stone or stopping distance for my next EV, something that will resonate with many new car buyers.

  • Mileage: 4.025
  • So economic: 54.1mpg

Regular Auto Express readers will follow my trials and tribulations as I learn to live with Electric Car. The journey began more than two years ago when I took the job of Editor-in-Chief Steve Fowler’s Jaguar I-Pace. Since then, I’ve had three of my own EVs, culminating recently with a top spec Volkswagen ID.3.

EV ownership isn’t without its problems, but for me the pros outweigh the cons, especially if the car has a 200-mile range or more. I have another EV on the way, but need a temporary car.

So when Auto Express deputy editor John McIlroy suggested I run BMW 3 Series Touring Seen here, I’m a bit skeptical. It is a dip into the mixture, but with an official electric range of just 32 miles, it would be a break from the norm. Would running something with a gas engine feel like a step backwards?

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This is a fully loaded 330e xDrive M Sport Pro Edition Touring, and the last word in that lengthy nameplate is arguably the most important. Until recently, the 330e plug-in hybrid was only available as a saloon; the asset joined scope much later.

That’s a good thing for me, because one of my biggest mistakes running the ID.3 was having to remove one of the wheels from my daughter’s buggy to get it on the starter. There is no such problem with BMW car; pram slides in with room to spare. Furthermore, there is space under the floor for the charging cable. The mixture also retains the 3 Series Touring’s separate opening rear screen, so you can stuff your stuff in the trunk without opening the main rear door; a boon in tight spaces.

The 3 Series range starts with the SE Pro version, followed by Sport Pro and M Sport. Above them is our M Sport Pro Edition, which features many of the accessories offered by lower models, including adaptive LED lighting, leather trim and all the usual M Sport styling features, along with 19-inch Jet Black wheels, M Sport Brakes and M Adaptive Suspension.

Our car also has a number of fitted options, bringing its list price to £56,765 at the time of writing. In it is the Tech Pack (£1,990), which includes a head-up display, Harman Kardon stereo, wireless phone charging, gesture controls – still a gimmick! – and a WiFi hotspot. The Comfort Plus package (£1,950) adds a heated steering wheel and power memory seats with lumbar support, among other things.

Parking Assist Plus (£650) isn’t something I find myself using very often, but I appreciate its value, especially in London, where you’ll often find small parking spaces. I am more interested in the panoramic glass roof; a £1,190 option, especially with the warmer months ahead. It also floods the cabin with light.

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I’ve made 850 miles since receiving the shipment, a number that could have been even higher had my plans not been constrained by a positive Covid-19 test. I’ve plugged my car in whenever I can, but it’s hard to ignore that the gas engine is back on means I’m checking ZapMap for nearby charging points less often than ID .3.

Fuel economy for the 330e is 54.1mpg; not bad considering a large percentage is highway miles.

So far, I’ve seen driving in its standard Hybrid mode prioritize electric as long as the battery is full, only defaulting to the petrol engine when it passes a certain speed or fully charges. Switching to the drive mode submenu revealed a second Hybrid ‘Eco Pro’ setting, which seems to better combine the two power sources.

There’s less regenerative braking, but with this option, the car cuts off the engine as soon as it gets the chance, seemingly increasing performance without any effort on the part of the driver. So far, the computer tells me I’ve done 286 miles without using the engine.

Elsewhere, the 3 Series is everything I remember about it: quiet, comfortable, and good to drive, plus plenty of space, solidly built, and packed with accessories. I will try to answer the ‘step back’ question in a later report.

Model:

330e xDrive M Sport Pro Edition Touring

On the fleet since:

March 2022

New price:

£50,985

Engine:

2.0 liter 4cyl petrol / 1x e-motor, 288bhp

CO2 / tax:

41g/km/£480

Option:

Technology Package (£1,990), Comfort Plus Package (£1,950), Panoramic Glass Sunroof (£1,190), Park Assist Plus (£650)

Insurance money*:

Group: 36 Quotes: £995

Mileage:

4,025 miles

So economic:

54.1mpg

Any problems?

Far-out



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