Car Sport Spare Part

BMW 330e hybrid 2023 review – Is this PHEV a better luxury sedan than Audi S4 or Benz C 300?

The 330e M Sport is a plug-in hybrid which must be connected to an external power source regularly to charge its 12kWh battery.

The charging flap is located on the left side of the car near the front passenger door, which worked well for me as I could steer the 330e into my driveway and connect to a powerpoint on the wall using the charging cable provided.

It took me about six hours to charge the battery to 100 per cent from zero and that gives you a maximum 57km of electric driving range.

During my four days with the 330e Sydney’s summer temperatures were hitting 34-degeres Celsius and with the climate control keeping the cabin at a hospitable 18C electric range was seriously cut short to about 40km.

I drove the 330e in hybrid mode nearly all the time – this is a hybrid after all. But there is a ‘Sport’ mode for more grunt and a ‘Battery Hold’ mode to save the charge for later.

I started with a full charge and a full tank of petrol, and for four days I lived with the 330e as I do with all my test cars.

I didn’t aim to get the best fuel economy ever, nor was I wasteful with fuel. My wife and I, plus our two kids, just used it as our family car, doing trips to the beach, endless laps of the supermarket car park looking for a space, a birthday party, the lot.

The cabin’s double screens are impressive but I miss analogue gauges and found the digital instrument cluster overly busy. (image: Richard Berry) The cabin’s double screens are impressive but I miss analogue gauges and found the digital instrument cluster overly busy. (image: Richard Berry)

I drove 154.7km over those four days and charged it on the second day after the battery was drained completely before driving another 70km or so over the next couple of days.

When I filled up after this it needed 7.74 litres to reach full again – it’s a small 41 litre tank.

That converts to average fuel consumption of 5.0L/100km, which is bang on double the 2.5L/100km BMW says you should get.

I don’t doubt you could get 2.5L/100km, but you’d have to be doing short trips and charging almost every time you weren’t driving. And not use the climate control on an icy blast setting.

I’ve tested other plug-in hybrids that achieved much better mileage and that’s because their on-board charging capabilities were excellent.

Some were even able to use the petrol engine to power the motor in reverse and therefore act as a generator to recharge the batteries fully.

The 330e M Sport doesn’t do a good job of charging its battery while on the go. Sport mode does recoup charge to the battery, but again, if you’re doing a long motorway trip that charge evaporates fast.

I don’t think this type of plug-in hybrid is suited well to our country where we don’t blink an eye at travelling 100km for Christmas lunch and then drive back again.

Also think about if you ever go on a trip away and don’t have access to a power point or public charger. It’s happened to me.

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