BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

The impressive plug-in hybrid version of BMW’s popular 3 Series is one of the big sales successes of 2021.

With officially quoted CO2 emissions as low as 37g/km, the 330e is especially appealing for company car drivers looking to make significant tax savings.

It also makes sense for private motorists who are not quite ready to make the switch to a fully electric vehicle (EV), but still want to dip their toes into the future with a premium plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

With a pure electric range of up to 37 miles, it can handle short commutes on battery power alone, but long journeys are no problem either (372-mile range) thanks to its petrol engine. So, like all PHEVs, it offers the best of both worlds.

The BMW 330e pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (181bhp) and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, resulting in a combined output of 249bhp (or 289bhp for short bursts using the new ‘Xtraboost’ feature hidden in the Sport driving mode).

Opt for the rear-wheel drive model and the 0-62mph benchmark is reached in 6.1 seconds, while the xDrive four-wheel drive version is 0.2 seconds faster. Either way, top speed is 143mph.

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

Priced from £39,125 and available as a saloon or estate (Touring in BMW-speak), the 330e comes in SE, Sport and M Sport trims.

Apart from a few additional features in the infotainment system, ‘330e’ badging and an extra ‘fuel’ flap on the front wing, the only PHEV giveaway is the size of the boot, which is down from 480 litres to 375 litres (thanks to the battery pack located under the rear seats) and the hybrid/electric buttons beside the gear selector.

Charging the battery to 80% takes 2.4 hours using a 3.7kW home wallbox, or 5.5 hours via a domestic three-point plug.

If you want to travel in near-silence with zero emissions, select Electric mode, avoid hard acceleration and don’t go over 68mph.

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

And if you run out of battery power, or simply fancy a blast, the switch from electric to petrol power is seamless.

Like most BMWs, the 330e offers a driver-focused driving experience. Not only is the power delivery responsive, but despite the extra 200kg compared to its petrol and diesel siblings, it handles just the way we’ve come to expect from this compact executive superstar.

In fact, more spirited drivers will relish tackling more challenging country roads in Sport mode, because the 330e boasts fantastic body control and superb agility.

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

Traction is impressive too, especially if you opt for BMW xDrive, while the brakes (so often a disappointment in PHEVs) are progressive and efficient.

The eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox is as slick as ever, while the steering is quick, predictable and nicely weighted,

Inside, the cabin is classic BMW – more business-like than flash – with a blend of premium materials and top build quality, combined with the ideal driving position.

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

The latest version of iDrive remains one of the best in-car infotainment systems on the market and is projected through a 10.25-inch screen nicely integrated into the dash

In theory, the 330e is capable of 176-201mpg, but the reality is that 50-60mpg is achievable during mixed motoring if you keep the battery charged up overnight and you can restrain yourself on the road.

However, if your driving consists of short commutes, your visits to the filling station will become rare occasions because you’ll spend most of your time in EV mode.

BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid review

Frankly, it’s hard to criticise the 330e because it’s an almost perfect embodiment of a PHEV. Even if the modest boot space in the saloon is an issue, you can still opt for the Touring version instead, and while the four-cylinder engine is a little harsh when pushed hard, the car’s overall refinement is excellent.

Verdict: The BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid is a class act – a winning combination of elegant looks, efficiency, driving dynamics and low running costs.

BMW 330e

BMWs star in Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow

Home / Auto Video / BMWs star in Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow

Gareth Herincx

19 hours ago
Auto Video

BMW X3 and Marvel Studios' Black Widow

The BMW X3 and the 2 Series Gran Coupe play key roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s action-packed spy thriller, Black Widow, alongside actresses Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh.

“This is the very first time BMW has worked with Marvel Studios and the result is just stunning,” said Jens Thiemer, Senior Vice President Customer and Brand BMW.

“Having the BMW X3 and the 2 Series Gran Coupe playing key roles in ‘Black Widow’ is part of our marketing strategy, adding strong emotional value to the communication of these models.”

In the movie, set for release on July 9, Natasha Romanoff (aka the Black Widow) confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises.

Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow and Florence Pugh stars as Yelena.

Tags Black Widow BMW BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe BMW X3 Florence Pugh Marvel Cinematic Universe Marvel Studios Scarlett Johansson

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Genesis GV80 review

Genesis GV80 SUV

It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new name to the UK car market, so let’s hear it for plush South Korean brand, Genesis.

Already successful in the US and South Korea (with 130,000 sales in 2020 alone), the luxury division of Hyundai (think Lexus/Toyota) initially launches in Europe with two cars – the GV80 SUV and G80 saloon.

Both face a tough task, especially when it comes to stealing sales from the German big three – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Apart from competitive pricing, Genesis has another couple of tricks up its sleeve to entice buyers, most notably a unique buying experience, generous warranty and VIP aftercare package (of which more later).

The epic BMW X5-sized GV80 is likely to be the best-seller for Genesis until smaller, electrified models appear over the next few years.

Weirdly, when most new launches are either hybrids or fully electric, the GV80 is only initially available with a choice of 2.5-litre petrol or straight-six 3.0-litre diesel engines.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Starting at £56,815, both versions have four-wheel-drive as standard and you can choose between seven or five seats.

The GV80 certainly has road presence and its Korean origins and American appeal are obvious. The enormous chrome grille, bold winged badge and twin horizontal LED headlights are attention grabbers, while the general shape is classic SUV.

There’s even a hint of the Bentley Bentayga there, which is no surprise given that Genesis’s chief designer is Luc Donckerwolke used to have a drawing board at the luxury marque.

Genesis GV80 SUV

The beautifully finished interior is just as impressive with its blend of high-quality materials, comfortable seats and modern technology, including a panoramic 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 13.3-inch digital driver’s cluster and head-up display.

We tested the 274bhp diesel mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, configured as a spacious five-seater.

There’s lounge-like space up front and space for three adults in the back, while the boot can swallow 735 litres of luggage, or an enormous 2,152 litres of kit with the rear seats folded.

Genesis GV80 SUV

Naturally, there’s a commanding view of the road and let’s just say it’s swift rather than fast.

For the record, it can sprint from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, fuel economy is 33.1mpg and CO2 emissions are 231g/km.

You’re aware of its size, especially on narrower country roads, where it feels a bit of a handful.

The cabin is light, airy and refined, and it soon becomes clear that it’s been engineered as an effortless long-distance cruiser, perhaps more with the American market in mind.

Genesis GV80 SUV

The ride on motorways and A roads is pleasantly smooth, but it doesn’t feel quite so sophisticated on smaller, rougher routes.

Thanks to all-wheel drive, grip and traction are impressive, while the engine is suitably responsive, the steering is light and precise, and the brakes provide ample stopping power.

More spirited drivers can switch to Sport mode and try their luck on more challenging roads, but the combination of a large girth and moderate body control soon bring you back to your senses.

That said, if you live in the country or you want to stay in control during extreme weather, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a Terrain mode which can switch between Mud, Sand, or Snow conditions.

Genesis GV80 SUV

As you’d expect, the GV80 is generously equipped, not least in the safety department where it gained a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests (a claimed first-in-class central front airbag is fitted as standard) and goodies include active cruise control and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

So, the GV80 is a classy, distinctive, all-round package, but it’s the ownership experience that might swing sales. Not only is it likely to be as dependable as its sister brands, Hyundai and Kia, but the five-year/unlimited mileage warranty is tempting too.

Then there’s the transparent buying process. There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

Genesis GV80 SUV

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

The Five-Year Care Plan also includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a big, plush new SUV that stands out from the crowd, plus peace of mind and excellent customer service, then consider the all-new Genesis GV80. Spacious, safe, comfortable and generously equipped, it’s an effortless cruiser.

Genesis UK