2020 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid debuts with 292 bhp XtraBoost power

feedback@motor1.com (Christopher Smith)
2020 BMW 330e

It can do 87 mph on electric power alone.

We’ve had roughly a year to acquaint ourselves with the current-generation BMW 3 Series. Now, the new 330e plug-in hybrid joins the ranks, promising a proper combination of efficiency and performance in the sports saloon segment. Does it properly deliver on all fronts? That will depend on the eventual first-drive of this electrically-infused Bimmer, but on paper, the stats seem fairly impressive.

Electric Avenue:

The core of the 330e is obviously its powertrain. BMW’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder generates 181 bhp, with a single electric motor nestled in the eight-speed automatic transmission providing an extra 111 bhp. Combined, BMW lists total output at 248 bhp, but this new hybrid has an interesting feature called XtraBoost that works not unlike a shot of nitrous oxide. With the 330e in Sport mode, mashing the accelerator adds an additional 40 bhp for a period of up to 10 seconds, giving the saloon a total output of 288 bhp . . . for a little while anyway.

BMW says the 330e can go from 62 mph in 5.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 143 mph, though it’s not clear if these benchmarks are achieved using XtraBoost. In addition to speed, the 330e can also be equipped with the standard complement of trim levels, including the spiffy M Sport variant with upgraded adaptive suspension and M Sport brakes.

3's a crowd:

When performance isn’t as important as saving fuel, the 330e can reach electric-only speeds up to 68 mph in Hybrid mode. By switching to full-on Electric mode, the saloon will top out at 87 mph. A 12 kWh lithium-ion battery is positioned beneath the rear seat ahead of the fuel tank, giving the 330e an electric-only range of 37 to 41 miles. The battery does reduce the Bimmer’s boot space just a bit, but the 40/20/40 split-fold back seat allows more storage space when needed. If that’s still not enough, BMW will offer a 330e Touring estate for the first time, though it won’t arrive until the summer of 2020.

Speaking of which, the 330e saloon is currently launching worldwide, with a trailer-towing version available in November. Pricing will be revealed at a later date.