The BMW 330e xDrive is BMW’s entry in the more affordable plug-in hybrid sedan category. That’s a comparatively small field, especially among premium brands.
The BMW competes with the Volvo S60 Recharge sedan and the Audi Q5 PHEV wagon are pretty much the sum of the direct competition, as well as the 3 Series big brother, the BMW 530e. But what you get with the 330e is everything you liked about the 3 Series generally, plus 23 miles of all-electric range.
The BMW 330e is based on the standard 3-Series platform. It’s a four-door premium luxury sedan that offers comfort, performance, and style at a mid-level price. The base price of the 330e is right around the average transaction price for a new vehicle in America today.
The public fascination with SUVs has led to price increases in that segment, while the venerable sedan has become relatively more affordable. If you’re looking to add some electrification to your ride without giving up much of anything in the way of convenience and performance, the 330e is a great choice.
BMW gave the 3 Series a light refresh for 2023, giving the front end a more aggressive and cut look, with slimmer headlights. It’s just enough to get your attention. Apart from that, it’s the same 3 Series that BMW has been refining for decades. This is a bread-and-butter model for BMW, and they’re not going to mess with success too much. Thankfully, the doyens of design in Munich decided not to inflict the “hog snout” grilles of the 4 Series onto the 3 Series. At least not yet.
The bigger changes for 2023 happen in the cabin, where you’ll find the latest in big glass panels that stretch most of the way across the cabin. The panel comprises the 12.3-inch driver information display, and an ultra-wide 14.9-inch infotainment screen.
The rest of the cabin got a light refresh similar to the outside, and it works well. The seats are well-bolstered and comfortable. One note about the 330e in particular is that you do give up some trunk space compared to the rest of the 3 Series models, to accommodate the battery pack. You still get 13 cubic feet of trunk, which is more than adequate.
One of the best things about the 330e compared to other 3 Series is the driveline. In addition to the standard 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower turbocharged gas engine, the plug-in hybrid drive gives you 23 miles of all-electric range, if you want it.
At the push of a console button, you can switch from EV mode to standard hybrid or sport mode. The official rating is 288 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is 33 hp more than you get with the base 330i. Paired with the 8-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, there’s plenty of power. The 330e xDrive does the 0-60 sprint in 5.6 seconds and has a top speed governed to 130 mph.
Safety and Technology
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the 330e plug-in hybrid specifically, but the balance of the 3 Series received five-star crash ratings across the board.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 3 Series its best “Good” ratings on every point, but inexplicably did not award the BMW a Top Safety Pick rating.
Apart from the ratings, the 330e has state-of-the-art safety and driver assistance features. Standard equipment for the 3 Series includes a head-up display, parking distance control, and the usual basic safety, and the advanced driving assistance, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure controls come in the $700 Driving Assistance Package.
As mentioned, the infotainment touchscreen is a wide 14.9 inches and high definition, so it’s everything you would expect in a luxury vehicle. The system is easy enough to use with BMW’s iDrive 8 operating system. There’s standard navigation, satellite radio, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 5G data plan with Wi-Fi hot spot.
On the road, the 330e offers the best of the BMW experience. There’s plenty of power and the ability to choose when you want to use your electric charge. The system defaults to a basic hybrid mode, but you can select electric driving if you like. The average American commuter drives 29 miles a day, so the 23 miles of electric range in the 330e will cover most commutes without using a drop of gas.
The charging port is a basic 240-Volt Level 2, which is not as quick as a DC fast charger, but there’s less competition for the older Level 2 spots at charging stations now. Plus, the 12-kWh battery in the BMW will charge up quickly at the Level 2 rate, so it’s perfect for home charging stations.
The rest of the ownership experience is pure BMW. The 330e offers tight handling and responsive steering and the smooth, firm ride you expect from a European sport sedan.
2023 BMW 330e xDrive Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 185.9 inches/W: 71.9 inches/H: 56.9 inches/Wheelbase: 112.2 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with electric motor; 8-speed automatic, AWD|
|Fuel Economy||68 MPGe/23 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||288 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $46,900; As tested: $57,140, including $995 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The 330e is its own trim level and starts at $44,900 for the rear-drive version, or $46,900 for the all-wheel drive xDrive model. There is a $995 destination fee with either model. BMW offers one major upgrade, and that’s the M Sport package for $2,250. That gets you 19-inch wheels and sport seats, which you really don’t need. Then there’s a long list of option packages that allow you to configure the 330e to your exact specifications. Our test vehicle ended up with a bottom-line price of $57,140, but you wouldn’t give up much to keep your 330e in the $40,000 range, even with xDrive.
2023 BMW 330e xDrive – Frequently Asked Questions
Does the BMW 330e charge while driving?
The BMW 330e can charge itself while you’re driving, using regenerative braking.
Can I charge my BMW 330e at a Tesla charging station?
Yes, you can charge your non-Tesla electric vehicle on a Tesla charging station, but there are limitations, and you’ll need to first purchase an adapter.
How many miles can a BMW 330e go on a full charge and a full tank of gas?
It can go 320 miles.