Petrol-elec­tric BMW puts per­for­mance in a hy­brid

Geraldton Guardian - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

The BMW 330e is a petrol-elec­tric hy­brid that leans more in the di­rec­tion of per­for­mance than econ­omy.

This comes as no sur­prise, given the sport­ing Ger­man mar­que has long pushed its de­signs in the di­rec­tion of han­dling and pow­er­train dy­nam­ics.

To em­pha­sise the point, this 3 Se­ries hy­brid has been in­tro­duced as the lat­est mem­ber of the BMW iPer­for­mance range.

Note that the BMW X5 xDrive 40e petrol-elec­tric, which ar­rived only a mat­ter of weeks be­fore the 330e, is also listed as an iPer­for­mance model.

The X5 and 3 Se­ries ranges are the two big­gest-sell­ing model se­ries in the BMW range, so the com­pany’s in­ten­tion of push­ing hard in the di­rec­tion of clean cars is clear.

The BMW 330e can be charged from a stan­dard elec­tric pow­erpoint in about 31⁄2 hours, from a ded­i­cated BMW iWall­box in 21⁄4 hours cost­ing $1750 plus in­stal­la­tion, or at pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions.

There are now 262 pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions Aus­tralia-wide, al­most all of which pro­vide free elec­tric­ity.

The BMW 330e looks al­most the same as any other 3 Se­ries. Give­aways are a charg­ing socket panel in the left front guard and eDrive badges on the C-pil­lars.

Nat­u­rally, the read­outs on the dash­board are dif­fer­ent as the 330e pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on driv­ing and the choices of driv­ing modes.

The lat­ter al­lows pure elec­tric, petrol only, or com­bi­na­tions of the two.

As well as a six-speaker au­dio sys­tem with DAB+, USB and aux­il­iary in­puts, Blue­tooth and hands­free phone op­er­a­tion, the 330e also fea­tures a hy­brid-spe­cific ver­sion of the BMW Re­mote app, eDrive Ser­vices.

This al­lows check­ing the bat­tery sta­tus and lo­cat­ing pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions.

An elec­tric mo­tor sits be­tween the 2.0-litre four-cylin­der petrol en­gine (it’s based on the unit used in the stan­dard BMW 321i petrol) and the eight-speed con­ven­tional au­to­matic.

Max­i­mum com­bined power when us­ing both petrol and elec­tric­ity is 185kW, with top torque of 420Nm.

Thus the 330e has the same peak power as a pure-petrol BMW 330i, but the big torque in­her­ent in elec­tric mo­tors means the 330e has 70Nm more grunt than the 330i pure petrol. A zero to 100km/h time of 6.1 sec­onds would have put it into V8 ter­ri­tory not that many years ago.

Seat­ing room is iden­ti­cal to that in the rest of the 3 Se­ries sedan range — good in front and not too bad in the back.

The BMW 330e has 100 litres less boot space than the other mod­els. The miss­ing room is due to the bulky bat­tery pack un­der the rear floor.

Lug­gage space can be in­creased by fold­ing down the 40/20/60 rear seat back­rests to claw back some of the miss­ing cargo room.

BMW Aus­tralia says the 330e hy­brid has a re­al­is­tic range of 28km to 32km when run­ning purely on elec­tric­ity. The com­pany also points out that sta­tis­ti­cally the av­er­age com­mute by Aus­tralians liv­ing in metro ar­eas is 15.6km. So it is pos­si­ble to go all week with­out us­ing petrol.

If you are able to charge the car at work as well as home, you can live a fair way out to town, with the fur­ther ad­van­tage that the boss has paid for half your elec­tric­ity.

All our charg­ing was done at home us­ing the 10-amp socket in the garage. We sim­ply plugged it in each evening so the 31⁄2 hours re­quired was never a has­sle.

Dur­ing our week’s test, we found the range to be within BMW’s pre­dic­tions, typ­i­cally man­ag­ing 25km to 30km of sub­ur­ban run­ning.

The big­gest de­light in driv­ing any hy­brid or pure elec­tric ve­hi­cle is the in­stant ac­cel­er­a­tion be­cause of the torque of the elec­tric mo­tor.

BMW driv­ers who like to drive should get them­selves into the seat of a 330e to see what it feels like.

In­ter­est­ingly, even when the petrol en­gine did kick in, the car was still very quiet. Only at idle, when the bat­tery was low could you hear the petrol unit.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The BMW 330e looks al­most the same as any other 3 Se­ries.

The BMW 330e has 100 litres less boot space than the other mod­els be­cause of the bat­tery.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.