Sunday, 03 December 2023

2021 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid combines sporty ride and luxury with green credentials Featured

Posted On Friday, 03 September 2021 23:33 Written by
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Photo courtesy of BMW Photo courtesy of BMW The BMW 3-Series gets eco-friendly with the 2021 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid.

Automakers worldwide are making steps — at different speeds — toward a lineup full of electric vehicles, and BMW has been among the leaders in that regard in the luxury realm.

The 3-series has long been a success for BMW, and it’s been around for nearly 50 years with no sign of disappearing anytime soon, but there are now new versions of this iconic ride to match the times, including the 2021 BMW 330e plug-in. I recently spent some time in this eco-friendly ride and I’m back with a full report on whether it lives up to the BMW 3-series name.

The 2021 BMW 330e features an attractive and sleek exterior design, and my test vehicle had a clean Alpine White paint job.

It’s low to the ground, and has a distinctive and eye-catching grille. It’s the type of car you love to look at. Interior and exterior design live up to BMW name and expectations. This is a smaller luxury ride, but inside there is decent room for everyone, even in the back seat, considering the segment. Quality seating materials offer extreme comfort.

Power folding and heated side mirrors and included, and the interior featured seats of Cognac Vernasca Leather that were comfortable even on longer rides.

The power front sport seats include a seat memory system for driver and front passenger, and the rear seats fold down to increase storage options (though overall storage space is still limited).

Interior features that help create the luxury feel include: Ash grey wood trim, ambient lighting, acoustic protection, auto dimming mirrors and rear view mirror, sport seats, LED fog lights, automatic climate control, and BMW’s M Performance steering wheel.


The 330e has a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine, combined with an electric motor, and together they pump out 288 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque.

If you want to take full advantage of those 288 horses, An Xtraboost function, available in Sport mode, adds the final 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds. The 0-to-60 time on the 330e comes in just over 5.5 seconds, which is not too shabby.

The 330e features an 8-speed sport automatic transmission, and paddle shifters if you want to take over the gears. The 330e comes standard with Rear-Wheel Drive, but BMW’s xDrive system is an option. The vehicle features Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, anti-lock brakes, and cornering brake control, as well as dynamic cruise control.

A Dynamic Handling Package option features: M Sport Brakes with Blue Calipers, Adaptive M Suspension and Variable Sport steering.

So how is the drive quality? Well, it’s a BMW so you should know the answer. It’s pretty awesome. 

You’ll experience a tremendous overall driving feel and experience. It’s impressive both in a straight line and in the turns, responding well to the driver’s input in turns and when braking. Driving modes offered include Adaptive, Sport, Hybrid and Electric modes.

There is a reason why people love to drive BMW vehicles. It’s truly a pleasure and their powertrain work is top notch. Just because this a plug-in hybrid, that doesn’t mean the vehicle has lost any of the oomph you expect from BMW.


Looking at the 2021 BMW 330e’s iDrive 7.0 infotainment and tech setup, my overall impression was quite positive.

Voice commands work effectively on the system. Meanwhile, the touch commands mostly work well, but some are a bit confusing at times and could be simplified.

On the plus side, the center control dial is a nice feature. In the grand scheme of things, the 330e (and BMW in general) offer one of the better luxury care tech setups out there.

A very cool feature I want to highlight is gesture control, which allows you to change the volume of the music simply via gesture, without actually touching the screen. It generally worked very well for me, with an occasional hiccup, and I see this type of feature becoming more common on vehicles in the vehicle. BMW is ahead of the curve in this regard.

There is also a highly effective Assisted Driving feature that will drive the 330e for you, including steering and stopping, quite effectively in most circumstances. BMW’s systems don’t get the hype that some other luxury cars’ self-driving features do, but may actually be a step above. The driver must, of course, be ready to step in, but seeing the vehicle do its thing by itself is quite the experience, especially for folks who have never seen it up close.

Also included are: Rearview camera, Apple CarPlay compatibility, the option for wireless charging, Wifi Hotspot capability, and a year of free satellite radio. 

Safety features on the 330e do a great job of keeping you in your lane and don’t let you swerve out, without being overly forceful or sensitive.

Features include Frontal Collision Warning, Automatic City Collision Mitigation, and Lane Departure Warning.


The official fuel economy ratings for the 2021 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid are 28 MPG gas only, and 75 MPGe (which is based on consumption per distance, and measures the amount of electric energy that’s equal to the energy in one gallon of gasoline).

The 28 mpg number proved right on point with the numbers I saw in my gas-only driving in real-world testing. Regarding electric-only range, the BMW 330e can go 23 miles on electric-only charge (or 20 with all-wheel drive models), and a grand total of 320 miles between gas and electric.

So essentially, if you mostly drive short distances each day and can charge the 330e each night, gas fill-ups will rarely be necessary and you can mostly avoid fossil fuels. Even for those who do drive more and will rely on gas more often, the fuel economy is strong. So you win all-around.

Installing an upgraded 220V charging station at home would be ideal, as you can fully charge the vehicle in 3 hours with 220V, but it takes 11 hours with a regular 110V charge.


The 2021 BMW 330e sedan I tested was priced just under $60,000; and its base price starts about $45K. This is slightly higher than some of the competition in terms of price range, but any plug-in from the luxury realm will cost quite a few coins.

Warranties include:
— 4-year/50K mile new vehicle limited warranty
— 4-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance
— 8-year/80K mile high-voltage battery warranty


Between fun and responsive driving characteristics, impressive overall design, and its green/eco-friendly credentials, the 2021 BMW 330e sedan is a strong luxury option for people who want to drive in style and support the environmentally friendly changes taking place in the automotive industry.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid 
  • Price as tested: $59,645 (starts at $44,550) 
  • Best feature: Sporty ride, advanced technology and safety features 
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Drivers seeking a sporty and eco-friendly luxury small car
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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