BMW 330e M Sport
After four decades of existence, no one would have guessed that the sixth-generation BMW 3 Series (F30) would be the one to get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, let alone, receive the 330e nomenclature.
While draped in Mineral Grey, our eco-friendly 330e, costing RM258,800, also happens to have the M Sport designation and if you have guessed it right, it is practically a 330i M Sport with a set of 18-inch double-spoke M light alloy wheels with 225/45 (front) and 255/40 (rear) tyres.
Difference is, there is now a 5,700kW/h lithium-ion battery tucked under the 371-litre boot floorboard, powering a 87PS (86hp) / 250Nm electric motor and a M Sport suspension package that sits the car 10mm lower instead of the adaptive suspension system found in the 330i.
Consequently, the new additionals mean that the car has gained some 190kg at 1,735kg (kerb).
But just to make it a little more distinguishable, there is also a flap located just aft of the front left wheel which opens up for ‘charge’ duties and there is also an ‘e’ in place of the usual ‘i’ after the numbers 330 as well as the ‘e-Drive’ badges planted on both C-pillars to help it stand apart from its internal combustion-powered stablemates.
Even though the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-potter is supposed to push out 252PS and 350Nm – as in the 330i, output has been detuned to 184PS and 290Nm, but thankfully, the electric motor bumps up the total system output to 252PS (249hp) and 420Nm (+70Nm), which subsequently gets managed by an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Other than the usual driving modes of Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ (a favourite with this writer), the 330e also comes with three other modes of AUTO eDRIVE which lets the car determine the use of engine, electric motor or both; MAX eDRIVE uses mostly electric motor; and SAVE BATTERY uses the engine for most of the time.
Other than the additional parts, the cabin’s layout and controls are pretty much identical, save the ‘e-Drive’ badge at the base of the gear selector and the simplistic layout allows drivers to concentrate on their main duty – driving.
The Dakota black leather upholstered sports seats are tough yet plush.
The 330e will move off silently at first in electric power and as soon as it detects slightly more throttle input, the engine smoothly joins in with just a touch of vibration as an indicator.
In full electric mode, the 330e is perfect for those who commute daily to and from work within a relatively short distance.
As long as it remains charged there won’t be a need for petrol usage.
In Eco Pro or Normal mode, everything remains smooth and gentle in response.
In Sport+ mode, the 330e’s steering just got heftier, throttle becomes responsive and power surges in quicker.
Throw it into a corner and it wants to soak up the lateral g-forces before spitting out the exit with smoking rear tyres or with scalpel-like precision – the choice is really yours.
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