BMW 330e plug-in hybrid now available as a wagon

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The plug-in hybrid BMW 3 Series is now available in Touring estate guise, with optional four-wheel drive, though the wagon is likely off the cards for Australia.

This is the BMW 330e Touring: a plug-in hybrid wagon. Available in several trim levels, and a choice of either rear or ‘xDrive’ four-wheel drive, the 330e Touring is BMW’s answer to the plug-in hybrid variants of the Volvo V60, Audi A3 and Mercedes C-Class Estate.

The 330e Touring is part of BMW’s rapidly growing line-up of plug-in hybrids, which includes the X1 and X2 small SUVs, plus the bigger X3 and X5 SUVs, the 530e and 745e executive saloons and the 225xe people carrier.

The model gets a decent level of kit that includes 18-inch alloys, heated leather seats, M Sport styling upgrades, BMW’s Live Cockpit digital display and the most up-to-date 10.25-inch central infotainment screen.

Like the 330e sedan, the 330e Touring is powered by a 185kW 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, whose power can be boosted to 215kW for short bursts of up to 10 seconds using the ‘XtraBoost’ function. Output is the same across the sedan and Touring, rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models.

The rear-wheel-drive 330e Touring accelerates from 0-100kmh in 6.1 seconds (a tenth slower than the sedan) and has a maximum speed of 218kmh (down from the sedan’s 230kmh). With four-wheel drive, the corresponding figures for the Touring are 0-100kmh in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 224kmh.

For both the rear and four-wheel-drive 330e, in ‘Hybrid’ mode maximum speed on electric power is 110kmh, the same as the sedan. Choosing ‘eDrive’ mode, which prioritises the electric motor, increases the maximum zero-emissions speed to 140kmh.

Charging is carried out on the move using brake-energy recuperation, or at home from a BMW i wallbox, which can replenish the battery to 80% capacity in 2.4 hours, or 100% in 3.4 hours. Charging from a regular domestic electricity socket is also possible, with corresponding charge times of 4.2 and 5.7 hours for an 80 or 100% charge respectively.

Petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series wagon boast 500 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, and 1,500 litres with them folded. BMW has not yet specified a ‘seats up’ figure for the hybrid estate, but the ‘seats down’ figure drops to 1,420 litres.

Stephen Errity

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