Verdict: the BMW G20 330e is a far better product than the F30 330e, and you shouldn't hesitate to buy one; this much is a given. The former model was adapted to become a PHEV; this current 330e is designed from the start to be one. The differences between the two, in terms of performance, drivability and range, is night and day. But is it an excellent alternative to the BMW 330i? Well…
Don't let the nameplate fool you. The BMW 330e is really just a 320i with an electric motor hooked up to a battery pack and not a full-flavoured 330i. While the 330e is more potent than the 330i, on paper, the PHEV can never sustain that level of performance. Whatever charge is left in the battery pack determines how long you can drive with the full complement of horses at full gallop.
On the one hand, you'll have 184hp and 300Nm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. And in the other, from an electric motor that generates 113hp and 265Nm. With both working together, the combined powertrains produce 252hp. If that isn't enough, BMW has hidden away an additional 40hp behind the XtraBoost, activated by selecting Sport mode. You summon it by driving the accelerator to the ground or switching the gears to M or S.
With everything lit up, the 330e produces a healthy 292hp and 420Nm that gets sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The 330e accomplishes the 0-100kph sprint in 5.9 seconds and up to a top speed of 230kph.
What is more impressive is how BMW has amped up the drivability of the 330e in full electric mode. The 330e's electric top speed is increased to 140kph from the 120kph in the previous model, making highway driving much greener. With proper footwork, the 330e's 12.0kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery gives up a range of approximately 56km.
And that translate well to the real world, unlike the predecessor. One can drive from Cyberjaya to Subang Jaya without igniting the internal combustion engine. One also didn't need to turn down the creature comforts the 330e has to offer. In the end, there was a charge left in the battery for short and sweet XtraBoost shenanigans.
The 330e could still putter around town without being penalised for having a depleted battery, while the 2.0-litre engine remains eager to charge forward. The transmission sure knows how to pick the gears correctly to maintain the sporty drive expected from a BMW.
Future owners, especially those coming in from the previous generation, shouldn't concern themselves with the saloon's ride and handling. A set of adaptive M Sport Suspension defaults on being taut and can be jittery over imperfect roads. Nevertheless, on more even surfaces, the 330e's handling remains sharp with tight body control characteristic of any 3 Series.
In truth, there isn't much to complain about the 330e. It is handsomely designed with a light show that stamps its presence on the road. The M Sport aero kit further embellishes the sportiness of the saloon, increasing its desirability.
The interior, again, has its ergonomics on point with its sporty seating arrangement. As with the exterior, various M Sport bits can also be found inside. That aside, the 330e is well-kitted with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, 10-speaker HiFi Loudspeaker with 250W amp and BMW Digital Key. Driving Assistant Professional and Parking Assistant are standard with the car.
As mentioned at the start of this review, the G20 BMW 330e is far superior to the previous generation's attempt. BMW has integrated the electric motors, battery pack, and entourage of cables perfectly to feel the extra heft. The 330e is powerful when you want it to be and efficient at the drop of a hat. And perhaps the best of all, the 330e handles like a proper BMW should.
Specification: BMW 330e M Sport
Engine 1,998cc, 4-cylinder, inline-4, TwinScroll turbocharger, Valvetronic, Double-VANOS | Motor synchronous electric motor integrated into transmission, generator function for recuperating energy, 12.0kWh lithium-ion battery | Transmission 8-speed Steptronic, rear-wheel drive | Engine Power & Torque 184hp @ 5,000-6,500rpm / 300Nm @ 1,350-4,000rpm | Electric Motor Power & Torque 113hp @ 3,170rpm / 265Nm @ 0-3170rpm | Total Output 292hp / 420Nm | Performance 0-100kph in 5.9s, max speed 230kph, max speed (electric) 140kph, range (electric) 56km, charging time to 80% 2.4h at 3.7kW, recuperation output 20kW, 1.9l/100km, 43g/km CO2, 15.4kWh/100km | Price RM268,800.00 (with SST), RM262,968.95 (without SST)