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2018 BMW 330e iPerformance Review By John Helig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

ENGINE: 2.0-liter twin turbo 4

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Steptronic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 180 hp @ 5,000 rpm (248 system hp)/215 lb.-ft. @ 1,350-4,250 rpm(310 lb.-ft. system torque)

WHEELBASE: 110.6 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.8 x 71.3 x 56.3 in.

TIRES: P225/50R17

CARGO CAPACITY: 13.0 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 30 combined mpg/70 mpg fuel plus electric/23.7 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 10.8 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,900 lbs. #/HP: 16.1

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi A4, Cadillac ATS, Nissan Leaf

STICKER: $44,695 (base price, includes destination)

BOTTOM LINE: The BMW 330e is a typical BMW 3-Series with a plug-in hybrid feature. However, the electric range is minuscule and almost useless.

Every manufacturer, it seems, it getting on the electric bandwagon. BMW is no exception. The Bavarian manufacturer has a couple of electric vehicles in the i3 and i8, but they also offer the hybrid electric 330e, our tester.

While the 87 horsepower electric engine adds important horsepower and torque, especially for acceleration, plugging it in every night really seems a waster. It takes 6-7 hours to fully recharge from empty using a house 110-volt outlet, and that only yields 14 miles of pure electric driving. Other pure electric cars can exceed 200 miles range, and compared to them, 14 miles is a pittance. But it is a start.

Of course, the batteries in the 330e also have another function. The twin turbo 2.0-liter four in the 330 produces 180 horsepower. However, if the need arises, you can punch the accelerator and gain additional horsepower and torque for stirring acceleration, and that’s fun.

Handling is BMW good. We took the 330e over our favorite twisty hillclimb route and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In fact, we were enjoying it too much when I noticed I was getting to close to a car in front, that I never even saw at the bottom of the hill. I had to back off.

The suspension is compliant. The 330e handles curves well without subjecting the passengers to kidney-jarring firmness. This is a BMW hallmark. Overall ride quality is very good.

We were aided by shifting to the Steptronic (manual) side of the 8-speed automatic and used the wheel-mounted paddles to up- and downshift.

Front seats are comfortable with good support in the kidney area. There are also seat extensions to support your thighs. Rear seat legroom is tight. Rear passengers have their own HVAC controls and a pair of cupholders in the pull-down armrest.

Drivers can choose from three BMW eDrive-specific programs - AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDrive and SAVE BATTERY - by using the eDrive button in the center console. These settings allow the plug-in hybrid drive system to be adapted to the way the car is being used at any point in time.

There’s a clear instrument panel with round gauges. The default for the infotainment screen has three mini-screens - media/radio, communication and navigation. This way the passengers can have the music they enjoy and still know where they’re going.

Along with the excellent HVAC system there is good entertainment with the main selector knob in the center console controlling all functions.

The pair of cupholders at the base of the center stack is sometimes inconvenient, especially for taller cups. There’s also a very good trunk for a small car.

With the silent engine and start/stop technology, it can be confusing when you shut down. Sometimes you don’t know whether the engine is on or off. Fortunately, lights go on on the instrument panel to direct you

Overall, the BMW 330e is a very nice car. Being a BMW defines that part. I was disappointed with the all-electric range, though.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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