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For 2023 we got a slight improvement from BMW on its popular 3 Series cars. While it’s hard to fault the BMW 330i, the plug-in hybrid version, the 330e, could be the best version of the updated car. The plug-in hybrid costs only $1,100 more, but it gets far better mileage, it has better performance, and it has BMW’s next generation of a large screen. It could be the best BMW 3-series you can buy.

Is the BMW 330e fully electric?

The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid. Plug-in hybrids combine the best of hybrids and EVs in one vehicle. In the BMW 330e’s case, that means you get a powertrain that includes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas motor paired with a stout 107-horsepower electric motor. That means you get both the instant torque and fuel economy savings of an EV, but with the convenience of gas power when you need it in one car.

The 330e is just $1,100 more than a gas-powered 330i, and for that money, the extra horsepower may be worth it alone. But, you’ll quickly make up the difference in the price with the gas you’ll save.It may be quick, but it’s no M340i, however.

What are the differences between a 3330i and a 330e?

A grey BMW 3-series driving
A 2023 BMW 3 Series sedan | BMW

The differences on the outside are subtle. You get different headlights, a different bumper, and some taillight differences outside. On the inside, though, you get the 14.3-inch curved screen that looks like it came from the 4 Series, and the latest iDrive. To fit the new screen, BMW had to tweak the HVAC vents on the dash. Of course both cars come with BMW suite of driver’s aids.

The 330i comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower. The 330e, though, combines a 2.0 liter with an electric motor to make 288 horsepower. But crucially the 330e has Xtraboost that gives you an extra shot of juice when you need it. Both cars, however, get a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive.

The biggest difference between the 330e and 330i is the fuel economy number

The interior of the 2023 BMW 3 Series has a new larger screen
The new 2023 330e gets a wraparound screen | BMW

The 330 should get 26 mpg in town and 36 mpg on the highway. While those are stellar numbers for a sports sedan, the 330e beats it. By a lot. Because you can drive under all-electric power, BMW says you get up to 73 mpg combined. Its all-electric range stretches to 23 miles of silent power. In the 330i vs. 330e, battle, the e gets stellar economy.

Interestingly, U.S. dealers are only getting xDrive, or all-wheel drive, versions. If you want a rear-wheel drive 330e, yooou have to order it.

What was improved in the 2023 BMW 3 Series?

The new 3 Series from BMW has a slightly re-worked grille and front end
You can spot a 2023 BMW 330e by its distinctive grille | BMW

For 2023, the new cars get some big tech changes. All 3 Series cars get a bigger screen and a new voice-activated system. You can, for example, tell the car to turn down the radio volume with your voice, but there’s also a redundant knob for that (thankfully). BMW didn’t change the dimension of the 2023 330i or 330e.

For decades BMW relied on the 3 Series to meet annual sales targets. The X3 SUV surpassed it  in sales, but the car still provides more thrills and fun than any SUV ever can. Now, with a plug-in hybrid version, you also get more thrills per gallon of gas.


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