ELECTRIC SPINNING BLUE PROPELLOR
BMW 330e iPerformance eDrive Hybrid
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Dec 17, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
Those willing to spend cash for the best sport sedan out there had no choice but to opt for the BMW 3 series. Yes, it ran on gasoline, but it delivered exhilarating experiences. Then there were others who preferred innovative propulsion systems geared to reduce the carbon footprint to style and performance. For years their only option was Prius. For years the denizens of these two worlds lived side by side not paying much attention to each other. And then, gradually, their universes collided.
Which brings us to the BMW 330e iPerformance Luxury eDrive hybrid. In the hands of the Munich engineers this Beemer combines the best engine, comfort, power, performance, efficiency, connectivity and safety of the 3-Series. Following the footsteps of the BMW i8, the 330e iPerformance combines an electric engine and the power of its traditional internal combustion brethren.
The gasoline part is played by a 2.0 liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4, all alloy engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger utilizing Double VANOS and Valvetronic control. The electric s(l)ide features a 7.6 KWh, high-voltage, lithium-ion battery pack juicing an electric motor which can be programmed for Auto eDrive, MAX eDrive and SAVE Battery modes. The result is excellent performance coupled with more efficient driving. The engine pumps out 180hp and 310 pounds of torque, the electric motor ads 87hp more for a combined 248 power units of total grunt.
But the true joy lies in the following numbers: an estimated range of 71 miles on an electric charge, and a 350-mile full tank range. The power plant propels the 330e out to 60mph in just 5.3 seconds. An exclusive eDrive Remote App makes finding a nearby charging station easy and preconditioning 330e’s electric engine as a tap, swipe and a click.
The Auto Start/Stop function shuts the engine at red lights. Should the driving disposition ascend from a “planet saver” to “road menace,” four Driving Dynamic controls will correspond accordingly: Eco-Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Brake Energy Regeneration could be directed to charging the electric motor if you opt not to fully charge the battery.
The looks come with the badge. 330e is beautifully styled like a BMW should. The only design difference is better breathing in the grille, and an open lower apron, plus a driver’s side door for the electric battery pack charger connection. The remote opening truck lid features a lip spoiler to keep the perfect 50/50 weight distribution intact. The exterior also features bi-Xenon adaptive headlights, matte chrome exterior trim, LED DRLs, LED fog lights, and rear LED lights.
As it befits a legendary sport sedan, this high-tech hybrid engine is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Sport/Manual shift modes, Adaptive Transmission Control and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Whatever the weather conditions or road surface, the 330e is so much fun to drive. After all, 3-Series sedans have been considered benchmark for this segment since they first appeared. Now, the driver can enjoy the drive, never worrying for a moment whether OPEC members are planning to cut the crude oil output.
The ride is smooth and precise on the 3-Series fully independent suspension with Dynamic Stability Control. The business end is a double pivot-type setup sitting on twin-tube gas-charged shocks, anti-roll bar and stiffer springs. This gives the car excellent turn-in when driving into corners. The afterguard is equipped with a five-link cast aluminum upper transverse arms, twin-tube gas-charged shocks, anti-roll bar, rear damper technology that lessens understeer when the rear follows the front in the aforementioned tight turns. It is fun? Of course it is - in that inimitable BMW way.
The brakes are large and linear with Energy Regeneration. Thirteen inch vented discs in the front followed by twelve inch vented discs all served by single-piston calipers quickly slow the car down. The brakes include ABS, brake fade compensation, dynamic brake control, cornering brake control, start-off assistant, brake drying and brake stand-by-features with Dynamic Traction Control to keep the hardware on track and the pilot out of trouble.
Find some esses (Senna or any other), and the thrill of this pure BMW technology carving the road, and tackling tight turns can hardly be contained. Or the feeling of the enhanced Servotronic power-steering system when that straightaway just begs to be taken at triple-digit speed. It is selbstverstaendlich (so much more compact German term for “self-understood”) that the weight of turning the wheel changes when you go from comfort, to sport and sport +. This performance envelope of the 330e would not be possible but for run-flat all-season Pirelli P7s on large 17X7.5 inch double spoke light alloy wheels.
The interior is pure BMW luxury, comfort, ergonomics, safety and connectivity. Standard equipment includes Sensatec, 10-way front sport bucket seat with 2-way power-adjustable side bolsters, 2-way manual headrests and thigh support, driver memory and heated/power-folding sideview mirrors. The instrument cluster is signature BMW with easy to read dials and numbers. The rear features 40/20/40 split fold-down through-load seats with rear air-vents. The dashboard and door trim is covered in dark burl trim. The manual tilt-telescopic/leather-wrapped steering wheel feels perfect in driver’s hands with multi-function controls to avoid distractions as much as possible. Grab handles on each door make entering/exiting easy.
The cabin is equipped with dual map lights, CD/RDS/AM-FM/HD radio, Sirius Satellite radio Bluetooth/USB, iPod connectivity, lighted front seat center armrest/storage, iDrive system with on-board computer, six-and one-half inch center color screen, controller and eight-programmable memory buttons, four twelve-volt power sockets, a two hundred-watt amp system which can pipe music or talk through nine speakers. Given that saving planet from global warming and carbon-based gases is still work in progress, automatic climate control includes a micro-filter, and automatic air recirculation. The Advanced Vehicle & Key memory recalls most recently used climate control temperature and air-distribution settings, exterior mirror and power seat settings, auto tone settings and radio presets, central locking preferences and light preferences.
As all the above is not enough, the test 330e came with an awesome Harman-Kardon eleven-speaker sound system, navigation, an electric sunroof, power rear sunshade with manual rear sunshades, and front/side/rear parking sensors.
Every BMW comes with a plethora of safety and security features. In addition to the standard head protection systems, impact airbags, front safety belts with automatic pre-tensioners/load limiters honorable mention goes to Coded Driveaway Protection, BMW Assist eCall for emergency SOS/Automatic Collision Notification, and an impact sensor that activates Battery Safety Terminal disconnect and uncouples alternator, fuel pump, and starter from the battery, while unlocking all doors and turning on the hazard and interior lights. To avoid activating these systems, the test car came equipped with lane departure warning, blind-side monitor and PreBrake with Collision Avoidance.
After a week behind the wheel of the all-new BMW 330e, I find it by far the best compact hybrid on the market. Of particularly comfort is the fact that this hybrid technology does not sacrifice any power or performance found in its 3-Series gasoline-only powered siblings. This Beemer has it all, confirming the theory that parallel universes do, and can, peacefully co-exist.
Zoran Segina contributed to this article.
© Harvey Schwartz
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Name of vehicle:
2017 BMW 330e iPerformance Hybrid
$45,095.00 (base including destination charges)
$51,145.00 (as tested)
EPA fuel economy ratings:
2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-four with turbocharger and intercooler (180 horsepower, 215 pound-feet of torque)
Permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor with integrated power electronics, charger and generator mode for recuperation (87 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque)
248 at 5,000-6,500rpm
310 pound-feet at 1,350-4,250rpm
Transmission type: 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic with Sport/Manual shift model
Steering: Servotronic electric assist power rack & pinion
F-double-pivot, twin-tube gas-pressure shocks, stiffer springs, anti-roll bar R-5-links with cast aluminum upper transverse arms, twin-tube gas-charged shocks, stiffer springs, anti-roll bar, and rear damper technology.
Front 13 inch vented discs and rear 12 inch vented discs, all with large single-piston calipers
Wheels and tires:
17X7.5 inch double-spoke light alloy wheels/Pirelli 225/50R17 inch front/rear Run Flat, all-season tires
Length: 182.8 inches
Width: 71.3 inches
Height: 56.3 inches
Curb weight: 3,900 pounds
For more information about BMW products, go to bmwusa.com.