Back in February 2020 we reviewed the BMW 330e M Sport Saloon but since then the Munich car maker has introduced the Touring version and all-wheel drive. We get behind the wheel of the 330xe M Sport Touring to see what it’s like.
The 330e offers the combination of plug-in hybrid efficiency benefits and traditional 3 Series driving dynamics. Now available as a Touring and with xDrive, BMW’s family car is a lot more practical.
When it comes to plug-in hybrid cars in the premium mid-range segment, BMW now has four options. Following the successful launch of the BMW 330e Saloon, the new 330e Touring was made available from summer 2020, and both models are offered with the brand’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, as well as rear-wheel drive.
Obviously from the side and rear the car looks a little different and it’s longer, but only by a credit card which is more about crash safety than interior space. Underneath, the Touring is like the saloon in that the components are almost entirely new for this G20 generation, and the suspension and drivetrain use more aluminium than before, the bonnet and front wings are made from the same stuff too, meaning its lighter than its predecessor. In terms of the driving experience, you’ll struggle to tell the difference between the Touring and the saloon.
The plug-in hybrid system of the new 330e Touring comprises a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine along with an electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, together generating a total of 292hp, which can be increased by an additional 40hp for up to 10 seconds. Called XtraBoost – and available in SPORT mode – it can be activated by the driving experience switch or during kickdown manoeuvres. With 310lb-ft of torque instantly available, together with the car’s excellent chassis, it makes for a highly evolving drive and it’s faster than the 330i, obliterating 0-62mph in an impressive 5.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 133mph (restricted to 68mph in Hybrid and 87mph in Electric mode).
This is the first time the advantages of a plug-in hybrid powertrain have been made available in estate form. Touring models offer the same level of interior comfort and five-seat versatility as the combustion version – and almost the same amount of luggage space, thanks to the space-saving arrangement of the high-voltage battery under the rear seat, totalling 1420 litres with the seats down versus 1500, or 410 litres with the rear seats in place versus 500.
This particular model of car features M aerodynamics body styling, high gloss Shadowline, roof rails, 18” M light alloy double-spoke wheels, Sport seats with Vernasca leather and heating for the front, anthracite headlining, aluminium trim, and M leather steering wheel.
Other than that the new 3 Series Touring benefits from a new 10.25” control display which utilises BMW’s Operating System 7, as well as a 12.3” digital instrument display. BMW Live Cockpit Plus, like BMW Live Cockpit Professional, also includes the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. This digital companion enables intuitive operation of numerous vehicle functions via voice control (just say“Hey, BMW”).
Furthermore, the range of functions of the optional Driving Assistant Professional is supplemented by Active Navigation Guidance and the Emergency Lane Assistant. With the optional smartphone integration, BMW has finally added support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
As with all of BMW’s plug-in hybrid models its eDrive Zone is a standard feature. The digital service uses geo-fencing technology via GPS to identify designated areas (currently 80 cities throughout Europe) and informs the driver that the vehicle will automatically switch to electric driving mode as soon as it enters an eDrive Zone.
The BMW 330e Touring has an electrically powered range of between 32 and 34 miles, which was probably closer to early 30s during our time with the car and returns an official combined fuel consumption of 157-177mpg and CO2 emissions from 42-37g/km.
Charging from a BMW i Wallbox, the battery can be replenished to 80% capacity in 2.4 hours, or 100% in 3.4 hours. You needn’t have to shell out for BMW’s kit though as you can charge from a domestic socket, with corresponding charge times of 4.2 and 5.7 hours respectively.
The BMW 3 Series Touring has always managed to combine a rewarding driving experience with the practicality of an estate body style, and now you can have one with zero tailpipe emission capability. With the ability to drive on electric power for up to 34 miles, if you can charge at home or at work, then the answer to the earlier question is yes, as it will cost you less to run than its petrol or diesel counterpart and you’ll also benefit from free entry into many environmental zones. It’s an even more enticing prospect for company car drivers with the 330e currently having a Benefit in Kind rate of 10%.
It’s comfortable, quiet and refined, yet sporty, practical and packed full of tech. With xDrive (and the right tyres) it’s also very capable in all road and weather conditions, and while it’s not cheap it’s one of the best all-round cars out there.
Top Speed: 133mph
0-62mph: 5.9 seconds
Driving range: 32-34 miles
C02 emissions: 42-37g/km
Fuel consumption: 157-177mpg
Home charging: 3.4 hours (BMW i Wallbox, 0-100%); 5.7 hours (household socket, 0-100%)
Insurance group: 38
Manufacturers’ warranty: 3 years
Battery warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles