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For drivers considering the transition toward electric vehicles, there are several choices available. But for those not quite ready to jump in with both feet, plug-in hybrids may make for a better choice. Within the BMW lineup, the BMW 330e and BMW i4 compare closely on size, so we’re looking at how the plug-in hybrid stacks up against the full EV.


Range and Efficiency

For this comparison, we’ll be looking at the BMW i4 eDrive35i and eDrive40i models next to the BMW 330e sDrive as our primary contenders.

Regarding range, the plug-in hybrid 330e has an edge over the all-electric i4 across the board. At 320 miles of combined fuel and electric running, it’s considerably better than the single-motor i4 and about five miles more than the dual-motor eDrive40i. All-electric range in the plug-in hybrid is limited to just over 20 miles. However, that’s more than enough for most suburban commutes and will allow for emissions-free driving on most trips.

BMW 330e plug-in hybrid

Meanwhile, Inside EVs says the i4’s 301 miles of range is an excellent figure for a full-EV. And on longer road trips, the all-electric BMW can recharge up to 80 percent of its battery in about 30-35 minutes. Of course, this assumes that the fast-charger is working at capacity, so you may need to plan a bit of extra time around your charging stops just to be safe.

2023 BMW 330e hybrid | BMW


Both the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid and BMW i4 EV have about the same base horsepower. The PHEV checks in at 288 horsepower while the base i4 delivers 282 ponies. However, the plug-in hybrid 3 Series come with all-wheel drive as standard. This is because the front wheels are driven by electric motors while the gasoline engine sends its power to the rear. Meanwhile, the base i4 is rear-wheel drive only.

If you want all-wheel drive from the BMW i4, that means jumping into the eDrive40i model. This dual-motor setup not only adds all-wheel drive capabilities, but the added motor bumps power up to 335 horsepower.

BMW 330e vs BMW i4 practicality

BMW i4 ev
BMW i4 electric sedan | BMW

Inside, the BMW 330e and BMW i4 offer similar levels of head and legroom, with a half-inch difference making the 330e slightly more spacious. Regarding cargo area, the 330e has a clear advantage. According to Edmunds, the plug-in hybrid has 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space compared to 10 cubic feet in the i4. Despite being an EV, the BMW i4 has no front trunk, so the scant trunk space is all there is to work with.

The plug-in hybrid 330e proves more practical than the i4

Both the BMW 330e and BMW i4 are luxurious, electrified sedans with respectable range and performance. And while the i4 is an excellent electric vehicle, the 330e has just a bit more practicality and versatility baked into its recipe.

Depending on where you live, the i4 may work without issue, but for those in rural areas looking to find an electrified option, the plug-in hybrid has the flexibility.

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