2020 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid gets a boost in range, power to go with new looks

The 2020 BMW 330e adds more range, more power, and an “XtraBoost” function to go with its new looks.
The 2020 BMW 330e adds more range, more power, and an “XtraBoost” function to go with its new looks. –BMW

For its completely redesigned 3 Series range, BMW is pulling out all the stops – and dropping a few names along the way. The 2020 330e plug-in hybrid loses its “iPerformance” nomenclature but adds some much-needed horsepower and electric range thanks to a new motor.

The 330e comes standard with a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder with 184 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission, but a 68-horsepower electric motor boosts total system output to 252 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. Additionally, BMW has fitted an “XtraBoost” mode capable of spiking horsepower to 293 at the push of a button, temporarily. All of this is good for a top speed of nearly 130 miles per hour and a 0-60 miles-per-hour time of six seconds.

The 330e saves interior space by packaging the electric motor in the transmission tunnel and the fuel tank above the rear axle. —BMW

A 12-kWh lithium-ion battery helps boost the electric-only range by 50 percent to about 37 miles, much better than the outgoing version, which was one of its weak spots. Additionally, BMW claims fuel economy improved by 10 percent, but we’ll wait to see the official EPA numbers to verify that. The electric and combustion systems are separate, as the battery is fed solely by the power grid or by regenerative braking, negating the need for a generator-like setup. Also, the electric motor is integrated into the transmission while the fuel tank sits above the rear axle to save interior space.

In addition to all the options available on the new 3 Series, including M suspension, variable sports steering, an M braking system, and safety and convenience technologies, the 330e has a navigation system that can identify public EV charging stations, much like the i3 and i8 before it. BMW also claims drivers will be able to reserve space at a charging station for a limited period of time, but that functionality won’t be available at launch.

The 330e launches this summer in Europe before coming to the U.S., but will no doubt reach our shores as BMW makes a push to offer more hybrids and EVs in the market after swearing off diesel amidst all the scandals following Volkswagen.