BMW updates 330e plug-in hybrid with XtraBoost performance

41 extra horsepower of oomph, and a vastly improved electric-only range

BMW 330e Sedan plug-in hybrid
  • BMW 330e Sedan plug-in hybrid
  • BMW 330e Sedan plug-in hybrid
  • Image Credit: BMW
  • BMW 330e Sedan plug-in hybrid
  • BMW 330e Sedan plug-in hybrid
BMW is unveiling its all-new second-generation 330e, the plug-in hybrid version of its 3 Series sedan, with the first standard use of BMW's XtraBoost performance mode capable of temporarily boosting output to 293 horsepower. The car also offers extended electric-only range and improved fuel efficiency.

The 330e, previously called the 330e iPerformance, combines a 2.0-liter, twin-turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 184 hp with a 68-hp electric motor for a combined system output of 252 hp and 309 pound-feet of torque. It's good for a 6-second 0-62 mph launch time and a top speed of almost 130 mph. It's all mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

But the big news is the standard addition of XtraBoost, which kicks in when the driver activates the Sport mode switch. It enables the electric motor to access up to 41 hp from the 12 kWh lithium-ion battery, up to the minimum charge status of the battery.

The electric motor, fed by regenerative braking or via the power grid, can supply the car's electrical system and negates the need for a generator powered by the combustion engine. BMW says the electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed transmission to save space, while the fuel tank is mounted above the rear axle to keep cargo space as roomy as possible.

Electric-only driving range increases by 50 percent over its predecessor to just over 37 miles (60 km). And it can run electric-only at speeds up to 68 mph.

And while we'll wait for official EPA fuel-economy ratings, BWM says fuel economy is improved by 10 percent. (Its predecessor was EPA-rated at 30 mpg combined city-highway, and 71 mpg-e.)

The navigation system can identify public EV charging stations, recommend nearby restaurants and hotels and other amenities, and forecast whether the charging stations are occupied. BMW says you'll be able to reserve a charging station "for a limited period in the future."

Four trim levels: Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury Line and M Sport. It can be fitted with BMW's Adaptive M suspension, including variable sports steering and the M sports brake system, plus a full line of safety and driver-assist technologies. The 330e launches next summer, likely in Europe before it hits the U.S.

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