BMW’s plug-in hybrid offensive continues at full pace, with the new 330e officially joining the company’s line-up as only its second locally-assembled plug-in hybrid model in Malaysia after the recently-launched X5 xDrive40e.
Built on the existing F30 3 Series platform, the 330e pairs a 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine with a state-of-the-art electric motor housed inside its ZF-sourced 8HP 8-speed automatic transmission exclusively driving its rear wheels. This setup is similar but not identical to what’s employed in the X5 40e.
Where the X5 40e utilizes the older N20 engine, which is also a 2.0-litre four-pot, the 330e’s petrol propulsion is provided by the more recent B48 unit. In the 40e setup, the N20 is tuned to run on the more aggressive 245hp/350Nm setting as found in the outgoing 328i models; the 330e, on the other hand, runs the 184hp/290Nm setup shared with the 320i.
The electric motor, meanwhile, delivers maximum output of 88hp, and is able power the vehicle to a pure electric drive top speed of 120km/h or a maximum range of 37km. Used in tandem with the engine, however, the system delivers a net output of 252hp and 420Nm – identical power to the 330i, but 70Nm more torque.
Despite its torque advantage over the 330i however, the 330e needs an additional 0.3 seconds to hit 100km/h from rest, not that 6.1 seconds is a figure to be dissed with. Fuel consumption tells a prettier picture, however, being rated at 2.1 litres/100km in the combined cycle – just over a third of what’s needed to move the 330i. Top speed is rated at 225 km/h, and carbon dioxide emissions measure at 49 g/km.
As with any plug-in hybrid, the BMW 330e does not strictly require charging daily; it’s just that doing so helps realize the vehicle’s full performance and economy potential. The high-voltage battery carries a net energy capacity of 5.7 kWh, which can be fully charged off a conventional domestic power socket in five hours. The BMW Wallbox Pro setup shortens that wait to 3.5 hours.
Additionally, customers wishing to charge their vehicles outside have access to 19 ChargEV stations operated by GreenTech Malaysia through the ChargeNow service.
Whilst not fitted with the M Sport package as per the 330i, the Sport Line-trimmed 330e nevertheless comes with all other fittings as found in the range-topping petrol model. Additionally, the 330e also comes exclusively fitted with reverse camera, heads-up display, and an electric glassroof.
The BMW 330e is officially priced at RM248,800, placing it just below the 320i. Being a locally-assembled energy efficient vehicle, the 330e enjoys exemption of duties of RM120,000, without which the car would otherwise have been priced at RM368,800.