There is no denying that the 3 series is a segment leading premium sedan. It was revised last year and if they keep going the way they are going now, it’s going to be hard to de-thrown it in the future. There is just a certain dynamic that the 3 series offers, that very few of its competitors really can reach, it’s just that good, but don’t really need to tell you that, chances are that you know this already.
The 330E, which is an electric assisted hybrid, is basically a 320 model with an added electric motor that adds instant torque, whenever it’s needed. This makes the drive a lot more exciting and the 330E, oh so drivable. It has a supercharged type of feeling, with instant torque and it really feels a lot quicker than it really is. The biggest tradeoff for all the fun is the added weight, which can be felt when driving their non-EV models back to back. The 330E can also be driven petrol engine free at near freeway speeds for up to 35km. This means if you have a short commute to work, it can be done and nearly no cost, except of course the electricity, when you charge it at night. It’s still a massive saving at the pumps.
Now the interior is still very much 3 series, which has been largely unchanged over the last few years. Our model, which was not fitted with many optional extras, still had a very greBMWBmw-like interior with Bmw Idrive and also the dynamic suspension, which electronically alters the suspension damping and also the engine mapping to increase throttle response for maximum performance or on the other side of the spectrum, for added fuel economy.
The 330E has three driving modes, which can be controlled manually when you feel like swapping over, through the eDrive button mounted on gearshift bezel. Make a note, that you will have to press it multiple times, otherwise, it will simply show you in which mode it is.
If you don’t like pushing buttons, leave it in Auto mode, which is the default and it will happily decide for you when it will run on batteries and when to power up the petrol engine. You also have Max eDrive which is perfect for when you ONLY want to run on electric power, for-instance, to work and back or dropping the kids at school. Then, there is the save function, which will run the engine alone and also recharge the batteries up to some point using a form of regeneration, through the brakes and putting a slight load on the engine. I did find that running in save mode increased fuel economy somewhat. Overall with mostly open road driving the 330E still did an impressive 6l/100km over our test period.
Overall the 180kw or so 2l assisted engine works very well in this form, sure it’s heavier and maybe not as fast as a Beamer with a 330 badge usually is, but 7 seconds or so to 100kph is still pretty good for a car that has the extra weight burried deep within. All things aside, I love how quiet and refined it is, just how simple everything really is. Now I just wish they would update the interior of the 3. The EV 330e will change your look on EV vehicles forever. It’s just that good of a 3.
For pricing check out www.bmw.co.za