There have been a few others too from various manufacturers but none have really prepared me for what was in stored when I took the keys to the new BMW 330e.
Besides the obvious whisper quiet start-up and the plug-in outlet on the left front fender of the car, there really wasn’t much of a visual difference between the standard 320i and the 330i.
Bimmer fanatics of course would point out that the hybrid 3 Series spots a chrome blue front grille, a dual exhaust tip versus the standard single and a series of badges littered around the car pointing out that this is a rather special car.
Truth be told, I was not really expecting much as far as plug-in hybrid versions of production cars go, my experience with other makes and models have been less than underwhelming.
Climbing in my battery range showed a measly 70km, which meant if I wanted to enjoy the full performance of the 330e’s combined 248hp and 290Nm of torque, I had to be easy on the throttle for fear of diminishing the juice inside its batteries.
Now don’t discount that the 330e being a plug-in electric/petrol hybrid is going to be just slightly faster than paint drying, because in reality, its anything but that. In fact, its blindly quick (0-100 in 6.1 seconds).
It will smoke the 320i without batting an eyelid, and probably have the 328i beat off the lights. At that point in time I was worried though because constant usage of the Bimmer’s maximum potential would mean depleting the battery and having to visit one of the charging stations on the island and spending two to three hours not doing anything.