BMW 330e M Sport

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Face-off -

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.

3esa orea eot­the3 s ht- e ash. i r t

330e

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