BMW adds a new plug-in hybrid to the 3 Series lineup

BMW is adding yet another model to its 3 Series lineup, this time in the form of a plug-in hybrid that will be known as the 330e iPerformance. The car takes a four-cylinder gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology and mates it with eDrive technology derived from models like the BMW i3 and BMW i8 to deliver upward of 250 horsepower and more than 200 pound-feet of torque. As is the case with most plug-in hybrid models, the 330e iPerformance can be driven on battery power alone for a limited distance.

The 3 Series has arguably set the bar for things like performance and fuel economy in the past, so it’s no surprise that BMW looks to raise the bar again with this plug-in hybrid. The entire electric system has been strategically integrated into the 3 Series to ensure optimal weight distribution and energy savings and, as you would expect, the 330e iPerformance can be charged on the go through ChargeNow – BMW’s i mobility service that offers more than 30,000 charging points in 22 countries.

The 330e goes on sale this summer and will be considered the range-topping model price-wise in the U.S. with a starting invoice higher than that of the $43,000 3 Series Gran Turismo. Before get to further into detail on that, let’s take a closer look at the 330e iPerformance and all it offers.

Update 06/24/2016: Bimmer has announced pricing for the 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance sedan. Check out the prices section below for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 330e iPerformance.

  • 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    248
  • Torque @ RPM:
    310
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    140 mph
  • Price:
    44695
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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On the outside, there isn’t much that separates the 330e iPerformance from the standard 3 Series Sedan. There is the same aggressive front fascia that manages to give the front end a bit of a smile, and it wouldn’t be a Bimmer without those iconic kidney grills. The sides are largely unchanged with the same side skirts, and it’s the same story in the rear with the same taillights and rear fascia.

To be frank, there are only two exterior changes to speak of in comparison to the standard 3 Series sedan. The first is the small door on the driver side front fender, right between the front wheel arch and the front door. This is the location of the charge port for the onboard lithium-ion battery. The second change comes in the rear and involves the lower insert on the rear fascia. Since the 330e has a four-cylinder engine, there is only one set of exhaust outlets on the driver side. Therefore, the insert has been modified slightly to accommodate just one dual exhaust outlet.

Interior

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Interior
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Inside, we find more of the same and see the same features that came with the mid-cycle facelift. This means the 330e has the same clean look, chrome highlights, and high-gloss black surfaces throughout the cabin. On the center console, you’ll find a new eDrive button that allows the driver to switch between three specific drive programs – AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE, and SAVE BATTERY.

Furthermore, the 330e iPerformance comes with a hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant that is built into the BMW navigation system, basically linking the BMW EfficientDynamics system and BMW’s ConnectedDrive technology. When the navigation system is in use, it takes available information from the given route and uses it to determine how and when to use the electric drive system. This enables the car to run automatically in all-electric mode when traveling through cross-town links or in residential areas. It also uses the electric drive function when climbing hills, and automatically recuperates the energy used on the subsequent downhill stretch.

Drivetrain

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Drivetrain
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This is where the real story is when it comes to the 330e. The gasoline powered engine is the same 2.0-liter, TwinPower turbocharged, four-cylinder that produces 180 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s the electric motor connects to a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery and produces an additional maximum output of 87 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. When used together, the total system output is 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque – that’s eight horsepower and 55 pound-feet more than the 328i Sedan.

The 330e offers an all-electric range of up to 14 miles with a top speed of 75 mph

Power from the engine and hybrid drive system is channeled through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Since the power created by the electric drive system is also routed through the transmission, lowering the overall load on the motor. The battery management system and cooling system was derived from the BMW’s other i programs, and the battery can be recharged using any domestic power socket. All told, the 330e can hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 140 mph. Furthermore, the 330e offers an all-electric range of up to 14 miles with a top speed of 75 mph.

As mentioned before, the 330e has the eDrive-specific programs, AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE, and SAVE BATTERY. When in AUTO eDRIVE, the engine and motor work in harmony. The all-electric system operates up to 50 mph, at which point the engine fires up and takes over for higher speeds. This system is automatically selected every time the car is started. Moving over to MAX eDRIVE, the car runs on electric power only for up to 14 miles and up to 75 mph. In this mode, the engine will kick in if the throttle is fully depressed. In SAVE BATTERY mode, the system has a dual function. If the battery is below a 50-percent charge, the battery will be brought up to a 50-percent charge. If the battery is at or above 50 percent, the system will maintain that charge so that the electric system can be used at a later time.

In addition to the eDrive-specific programs, the 330e also has the same Driving Dynamics Control found in other BMW models, offering ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT, and SPORT+ modes. This system not only adjusts chassis functions and shift functions of the transmission but the hybrid drive system as well. In COMFORT mode, hybrid system output is regulated to provide economical driving. In SPORT and SPORT+ mode, the engine and motor are permanently active, allowing full system output from both. In ECO PRO mode, an emphasis is put on the electric drive system to provide the best economy possible from the hybrid drive system. To learn even more about the drivetrain of the 330e, you can see all of the details in the press release below.

Prices

The 2017 330e iPerformance has a sticker price of $44,795. That price includes destination and handling costs, but excludes taxes and any additional options. It also represents a price increase of $100 over the 2016 model year. Given the options available for other 3 Series models, the 330e could go for upward of $55,000 when fully equipped.

Competition

Lexus ES 300H

2016 Lexus ES High Resolution Exterior
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The Lexus ES 300H entered a new generation in 2013, and also came in hybrid form for the first time. It is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, combined with an electric motor. Combined, the system delivers 200 horsepower and up to 40 mpg. Power is sent to the wheels via a six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission. The ES 300H offers a drive mode selector, similar to that found in the BMW 330e and includes an EV mode that allows travel using just the electric motor and onboard battery pack. All told, the ES 300H can hit 60 mph in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 112 mph. As of the time of this writing, the ES 300h starts out at $40,920 before options, taxes, and destination charges.

Read our full review on the Lexus ES 300H here.

Conclusion

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The 330e joins BMW’s hybrid lineup next to the $140,000 BMW i8, $62,000 BMW X5, and the $62,000 ActiveHybrid 5. Needless to say, it’s about time BMW brings a performance-based hybrid drivetrain to the 3 Series lineup. When compared to other luxury hybrid models, like the Lexus ES 300H, it should bring some pretty stiff competition given the power output. Considering the 330e has an all-electric range of just 14 miles, it should be suitable for short trips to the store or short work commutes without using a drop of gas, assuming it is plugged in every time it is parked. At this point, I think it is time that manufacturers start developing new battery technology that will provide longer ranges for these plug-in hybrids. Personally, until I can get a good 50 miles on all-electric power, it doesn’t make sense to go for a plug-in hybrid. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way.

  • Leave it
    • Only 14 miles all-electric range
    • Some hybrid unique features would be nice

Press Release

The all-new BMW 330e iPerformance adds another highly innovative variant to the BMW 3 Series line-up with its advanced plug-in hybrid drive system. For the first time, cutting-edge BMW i technologies have been integrated into the world’s most successful premium model. The BMW 3 Series Sedan has already set standards for sports performance and fuel economy in its segment using conventional combustion engines. Key ingredients are its intelligent lightweight design, outstanding aerodynamics for its class and the extensive use of BMW EfficientDynamics technology fitted as standard. The all new BMW 330e iPerformance will be available in summer 2016 at dealers starting at $44,695 including Destination and Handling.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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The combustion engine fitted in the BMW 330e iPerformance is based on the four-cylinder gasoline unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology that has already won the International Engine of the Year Award on two occasions. Stand-out characteristics include its sporty power delivery, output of 180 hp and peak torque of 215 lb-ft.

The electric motor, developing 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, and the power electronics are derived directly from the BMW eDrive technology featured as standard in the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models. The motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 7.6 kWh (gross)/5.7 kWh (net). The model-specific concept of the high-voltage battery, including its battery management system and highly efficient direct cooling system derive from BMW i. The battery can be recharged at any domestic power socket and is mounted flat in a particularly crash-safe position underneath the load compartment. The power electronics form a single integrated system that drives the electric motor via a liquid-cooled inverter, manages the energy flow from the high-voltage battery to the on-board electrical systems and provides centralized control of hybrid-specific functions.

The BMW 330e iPerformance consequently offers a system output of 248 hp and peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 140 mph. Pure-electric driving is possible at speeds of up to 75 mph and with a range of around 14 miles. The electric boost function is permanently enabled. The electric motor supplements the power from the combustion engine with 74 lb-ft of torque and can deliver a brief extra boost– depending on the position of the accelerator – of up to 184 lb-ft.

The power generated by both the combustion engine and the electric motor is channelled to the BMW 330e iPerformance model’s rear wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission with shift paddles. The transmission ratios take effect for both drive systems, lowering the mechanical and thermal loads placed on the electric motor by sustained high revs. This has a positive effect on the operating life of the electric drive system. It also means a torque converter is not required, which partially cancels out the extra weight of the additional drive unit. Just like conventionally powered BMW models, the advanced Steptronic transmission’s low friction losses allow for additional contribution to the high efficiency of the car’s drive system.

BMW iPerformance.
BMW 330e iPerformance drivers can choose from three BMW eDrive-specific programs – AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and SAVE BATTERY – via the eDrive button in the center console. These settings allow the plug-in hybrid drive system to be adapted to the way the car is being used at any point in time.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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AUTO eDRIVE: This setting ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work optimize all driving situations and enable a pure-electric top speed of 50 mph. This is the default setting and is activated each time the car is started up.
MAX eDRIVE: In this mode the BMW 330e iPerformance uses electric power only, allowing it to drive for up to 14 miles with zero local emissions. In so doing, it draws on the electric drive system’s full power output and reaches a top speed of 75 mph. The combustion engine can activate at any time if the accelerator is pushed down beyond its kick down position when additional power is required, e.g. for overtaking.
SAVE BATTERY: This mode contains two operating settings. If the high-voltage battery’s charge is below 50 percent, the battery is charged to 50 percent by the combustion engine. If over 50 percent of battery charge remains, the charge level is “frozen”, so that the remaining electric energy can be used for part of the upcoming journey.

BMW Efficiency and Dynamics.
The Driving Dynamics Control switch on the center console allows the remaining settings to be adapted, the ECO PRO, COMFORT, SPORT and available SPORT+ modes are all activated using this switch. Just like steering and chassis functions and the shift characteristics of the eight-speed Steptronic transmission, these modes also make changes to the operating strategy of the hybrid drive system. In COMFORT mode, which prioritizes a fine balance of comfort and efficiency, as well as hallmark BMW dynamics, the use of the electric motor is regulated in such a way that it helps to ensure both relaxed and economical driving. If required, the electric motor teams up with the combustion engine to maximize power delivery. Top-end performance using the full system output of the combustion engine and electric motor combined is the focus of SPORT and SPORT+ modes. In these settings the engine and motor are both permanently active. This allows the drive system to react instantaneously to every movement of the accelerator. In ECO PRO mode, the efficiency potential of electrification is utilized particularly extensively. Intelligent hybrid functionality allows the electric motor and combustion engine to work together with the greatest possible overall efficiency. The extremely efficient energy management for the drive systems involves carefully regulating the power output of electrically operated convenience functions such as the climate control system, seat heating and exterior mirror heating. This also helps to maximize the car’s range.

Intelligent Energy Management.
The BMW 330e iPerformance comes with an integrated, hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant that works using the BMW navigation system. This function represents the interplay between BMW EfficientDynamics and BMW ConnectedDrive technology. When the route guidance function is active, the navigation system collates the available information on the route ahead and uses it to manage the responses of the two drive units. The system accesses both the static data from the interactive map, such as speed restrictions and gradient information, and real-time information on the current traffic situation (Real Time Traffic Information – RTTI). This proactive energy management uses the information as a basis to identify particular stretches of the route where the electric drive system will be preferred over the combustion engine. It ensures that the car drives through residential areas or – if the battery has sufficient charge – entire cross-town links on electric power alone and approaches the destination using only the electric drive system. The system also prepares to use electric energy for uphill sections of road, so that the system’s full recuperation potential can be used on a subsequent downhill stretch. The Proactive Driving Assistant ensures the BMW 330e is equipped to offer locally emission-free driving, but also to cover long stretches extremely efficiently and with less impact on the environment.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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BMW 360° ELECTRIC solutions and home charging.
As a plug-in hybrid, the BMW 330e iPerformance can also be charged externally via the main power supply. The empty lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be fully replenished in just two hours and 30 minutes using a BMW i Wallbox Level II 240V charger (charging power: 3.5 kW, can be installed at home or the workplace). Alternatively, the BMW 330e iPerformance can also be charged from empty in 6-7 hours from a conventional domestic power socket (Level I 120V charger) using the standard charging cable supplied. The charging solutions available from BMW 360° ELECTRIC allow for easy charging while being on the road. The BMW i mobility service ChargeNow opens up access to the largest network of public charging stations worldwide (covering over 30,000 charging points managed by partners in 22 countries). BMW ConnectedDrive, the BMW ConnectedDrive app and the ChargeNow app make locating and using charging stations run by partners an extremely fast and easy process, while the ChargeNow card allows convenient and cash-free billing and payment.

The car is hooked up to the power supply via the charging socket, which is located in the front wing on the driver’s side, between the front wheel arch and the A-pillar. A flap with an integral sealing system protects it against ingress from moisture and dust. The charging socket itself has a corona ring, which uses a colour scheme to inform the user which stage of charging has been reached. If the corona ring flashes blue, the BMW 330e iPerformance is in charging mode. It then changes to a solid green light once the charging process has been completed. A solid blue ring indicates a pause in charging, and a flashing yellow ring tells you a system check is taking place. A flashing red corona ring indicates that the charging system is not active. The BMW 330e comes with its own standard charging cable – stored away in a special bag in the trunk and secured with a net – to connect it to the power supply. If no stationary charging options are available, the empty battery can be brought up to at least 50 percent of full charge while on the move by activating SAVE BATTERY using the eDrive button.

Level load compartment floor and unrestricted through-loading facility.
The neat integration of the high-voltage battery (gross capacity: 7.6 kWh, net capacity: 5.7 kWh) under the load compartment gives the BMW 330e iPerformance a level load compartment floor and full use of the through-loading system with 40:20:40 split rear seat backrests. The combined primary trunk capacity is 13 cubic ft. (vs. 17). Access to the secondary luggage area in the storage tray under the load compartment floor is restricted.

In order to maximize the car’s load capacity, the stainless-steel pressure tank was also positioned underneath the rear seat bench in semi-saddle tank form. It offers a usable capacity of 10.8 gallons (vs. 15.8). Fuel vapors in the BMW 330e iPerformance is trapped by an active carbon filter system, as is standard practice with vehicles powered by a combustion engine. In conventional drive systems, the fuel collected by cleaning out the active carbon filter is channelled back into the engine’s combustion process once the filter has reached a pre-set degree of saturation. However, the filter can only be cleaned when the engine is running and, as the engine in the BMW 330e is not constantly in use, this cleaning process happens far less frequently. The intelligent positioning of the electric drive system’s components assure the car’s finely balanced weight distribution – virtually 50 percent at the front axle, 50 percent at the rear axle.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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BMW ConnectedDrive.
BMW ConnectedDrive links the driver and the vehicle with the environment. The technology enables access to the most important vehicle information. The driver can call up data – such as the battery charge, available ChargeNow public charging stations and journey distances covered – on the display or pre-set a temperature for the passenger compartment. The BMW 330e iPerformance comes as standard with auxiliary heating and cooling (output: 5 kW). These functions can be activated by a push of a button on the car key, via the BMW ConnectedDrive smartphone app or using a two-week timer on the iDrive operating system. Running the heating or cooling functions while the car is charging does not restrict its electric range.

The innovative BMW eDrive technology in the new BMW 330e iPerformance once again underlines BMW’s leading role in the premium segment when it comes to powertrain electrification. BMW eDrive technology includes a number of cutting-edge plug-in hybrid components and makes a significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. BMW eDrive is one of the most cutting-edge elements of the ground-breaking BMW EfficientDynamics suite of technology.

Locally emission-free driving.
BMW eDrive is the new drive system technology used in all electrically powered vehicles from BMW i and the plug-in hybrid models from BMW. Alongside BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for combustion engines, intelligent lightweight design and optimized aerodynamics, BMW eDrive technology is therefore one of the most important elements in the EfficientDynamics strategy designed to increase power and further reduce fuel consumption. In addition, BMW eDrive offers the option of driving on electric power alone and therefore with zero local emissions – yet at the same time provides the option to cover long distances when the two drive systems team up.

BMW eDrive technology ensures extremely dynamic acceleration with instantaneous responses of the electric motor generating remarkable torque. The eBoost function enhances both drive systems under acceleration. The most important components of BMW eDrive technology are the synchronous electric motor (including the power electronics developed by BMW), the lithium-ion high-voltage battery and intelligent energy management. The latter ensures the electric motor and combustion engine in plug-in hybrid models work together as effectively as possible according to the situation at hand.

BMW eDrive technology was initially developed for the all-electric BMW i3 and BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car – which led the way in electric mobility in the premium sector. The fine-tuning of vehicle-specific elements, such as the battery cells, cooling management, power electronics and operating strategy, has involved the transfer of knowledge from the BMW i3 and BMW i8 to the development of new BMW iPerformance models. All components are adapted precisely to the vehicle at hand and optimized in terms of performance, efficiency, safety and durability.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior
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BMW iPerformance technology.
BMW iPerformance technology essentially spans the electric motor, the lithium-ion high-voltage battery and the power electronics. Based on a shared eDrive strategy, all BMW plug-in hybrid models offer supreme power delivery by combining their two drive systems. BMW eDrive makes all-electric driving in urban areas and over cross-country routes a marketable proposition. An important element of the operating strategy is the condition based use of externally sourced and recuperated electric energy to maximize the vehicle’s efficiency. The components of the BMW iPerformance architecture are tailored to each particular vehicle concept and can be combined with four cylinder gasoline engines as well as with classical rear-wheel drive, BMW xDrive or electrified all-wheel drive.

Plug-in hybrid.
In plug-in hybrid vehicles, intelligent energy management ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together to maximum effect in all driving situations. Their operating strategy is based on the vehicle starting up on electric power only. BMW’s plug-in hybrid vehicles prioritize electric mode at low and moderate speeds. Under greater acceleration and at higher speeds, the combustion engine is utilized. The boost function pulls the torque of both drive systems to maximize the car’s dynamic performance. BMW eDrive ensures that the combustion engine runs efficiently (electric assist) at higher speeds. When the route guidance function of the car’s navigation system is activated, the proactive function initiates an anticipatory operating strategy which optimizes efficiency and maximizes the electric driving experience.

Like the BMW i8, BMW iPerformance models (BMW X5 xDrive40e, BMW 330e, BMW 740e xDrive) can – at the touch of a button in MAX eDRIVE mode – run on all electric power up to 75 mph. The combustion engine only comes into play when the accelerator’s kick down threshold is passed. In SAVE BATTERY mode the battery’s charge can be maintained to enable electric driving later on in the journey. If the charge level drops below 50 percent, the battery is replenished.

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Fast and convenient battery charging.
The high-voltage batteries of the new BMW plug-in hybrid models can be charged extremely easily, conveniently and quickly – both at home and while on the move – using BMW 360° ELECTRIC solutions. The battery can be powered up again from a domestic socket using the standard charging cable supplied or from a BMW i Wallbox (charging power: 3.5 kW). When it comes to topping up the battery during a journey, the BMW i mobility service, ChargeNow, gives customers access to the world’s largest public charging network of over 30,000 charging points run by partners in 22 countries.

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