BMW announced the new PHEV last Thursday, which comes with the latest generation of eDrive technology combined with a 4-cylinder petrol engine to provide a significant increase in sporty flair as well as an even more electrically powered driving experience.
You may recall that the locally assembled 330e was launched in Malaysia in August, 2016 at RM249,000 (now RM10,000 more at RM259,000), so it's high time for change in the model.
The outgoing model is already a capable sports sedan and BMW is boosting the driver's happy hormones even more in the latest version.
The first-ever standard XtraBoost integrated in a BMW model temporarily increases the system output of the plug-in hybrid drive from 252 hp with an additional 41 hp.
In addition to spontaneity of response, this also increases the electrical range by 50%. It is now possible to cover a distance of up to 60km on a locally emissions-free basis.
Fuel consumption and emission figures are reduced by more than 10% as compared to the predecessor model to up to 1.7 litres* per 100 kilometres and up to 39 grams* per kilometre.
In the new 330e, intelligently controlled interaction between the electric motor and the combustion engine is improved.
The plug-in hybrid system comprises a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and an output of 184hp along with an electric motor which generates a continuous output of 68hp and a peak output of 109hp.
Together, the two drive units develop a system output of 252hp along with a maximum system torque of 420Nm.
This allows the car to accelerate from 0 to 100kph in 6.0 seconds. Its top speed is 230kph.
In HYBRID mode, the sedan is able to reach a speed of up to 110 kph when running on electric power alone – 30kph faster than the predecessor model. In ELECTRIC mode, locally emissions-free motoring is even possible at speeds of up to 140kph – previously: 120kph.
The standard XtraBoost gives the vehicle its highest level of dynamic performance.
It is easy to access by activating SPORT mode using the driving experience switch. In order to support the combustion engine in dynamic driving situations, the electric motor with XtraBoost temporarily provides up to 30 kW/41hp – stored in the high-voltage battery – in addition to its continuous output.
This makes the drive characteristics available that are typical of the 3 Series.
For the first time in a BMW hybrid model, this includes an accelerator pedal curve that offers both maximum sporty flair and precision along with a specific shifting programme for the 8-speed Steptronic transmission complete with brake downshifts.
The additional XtraBoost makes for what BMW describes as "a more intense acceleration experience" than in a conventionally powered vehicle with a comparable engine output. The XtraBoost can be used up to the minimum charge status of the high voltage battery. It is also available for kickdown manoeuvres and in the M/S position of the gear selector lever.
The driving experience is accompanied by a model-specific sound design that includes an emotional engine acoustics inside the vehicle, too.
The hybrid-specific optional equipment features include an acoustic pedestrian protection function.
The electric motor is integrated in the transmission in order to save space. The hybrid-specific transmission is only 15mm longer than the corresponding versions for conventionally powered models of the new 3 Series. Power generation achieves a high level of efficiency through the recuperation of braking energy, 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, thereby further increasing the efficiency of the system as a whole.
The high-voltage battery is positioned underneath the rear seats, while the fuel tank is located above the rear axle. This means that luggage compartment volume is only slightly restricted in the plug-in hybrid model. The storage volume of 375 litres can be expanded as required by means of the folding rear backrest with 40 : 20: 40 split.
Virtually the entire range of optional equipment features for the new 3 Series Sedan is available for the plug-in hybrid as well.
As alternatives to the basic version, the new 330e also comes in the model variants Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport.
Among other things it can be fitted with the Adaptive M suspension including Variable Sports Steering and the M sports brake system.
The full driver assistance systems to optimise comfort and safety is available – ranging from Driving Assistant Professional with steering and lane guidance system to park assistant including reverse assistant.
The standard trim includes pre-heating and pre-conditioning of the interior by the high-voltage battery. At low outdoor temperatures, the interior can also be conveniently heated prior to setting off – even if the battery charge status is low.
The new 330e is set to launch in summer 2019. By then, new digital services will be presented which make it more attractive and convenient to charge the battery while out and about.
When selecting a public charging station, the navigation system also provides the driver with a list of recommended nearby hotels, restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions and cultural institutions.
Charging station availability can also be checked using the vehicle display and operating system. The driver receives the information along with a forecast of the occupancy status of the public charging station at the time of arrival. In addition, selected charging stations can be reserved for a limited period in the future.