Auto123 tests the 2022 BMW 330e, Touring version! Today, the first of two parts of our European journey.
With the price of gasoline making the yoyo, the idea of an electrified vehicle is becoming more and more interesting. Gone are the days of asking the question about the future of the electric format. The future is electric and all manufacturers have gotten into it, now offering one or more electric versions in their lineup.
If the arrival of electrified cars allows motorists to save considerably on the price of gasoline, a new necessity is essential: access to an electric terminal. You have to have one at home and if you are on a long trip you have to plan frequent recharges along the way.
This is exactly the question we asked ourselves when planning our family trip to Europe. We know that electric vehicles are more numerous there, as well as fast charging stations. But it is also true that these terminals are much more used there than with us.
Knowing this, we played the hybridity card for our trip. We have arranged with BMW Canada to reserve a BMW 330e with pick up in Germany. BMW immediately accepted the project and even entrusted us, icing on the cake, with a magnificent 330e Touring. As we know, Europe is a welcoming place for Touring versions, wagons being considered the family transport cars par excellence. Admittedly, SUVs are gaining ground, but fortunately (personal taste), they are not yet the majority on the old continent.
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A little reminder about the BMW 330e which is a plug-in hybrid car (PHEV). It has both a battery-powered electric motor and a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine. Its estimated pure electric range is 32 km for the all-wheel-drive xDrive model. A PHEV like the 330e gives you the best of both worlds with electric range for local trips and a gas engine that starts when needed.
Under the hood, there’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder unit delivering 181 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor delivers 107 horsepower and 77 lb-ft of torque. The two machines combined reach the milestone of 288 horsepower and a maximum torque of 310 lb-ft, taking into account the XtraBoost function which boosts power by 40 horsepower for 10 seconds when you need a little extra during acceleration .
These figures are interesting, but concretely on the road, what does it look like?
So we take possession of our “family” vehicle in Frankfurt when we get off the plane. We are all thrilled to discover or rediscover this 330th. We had already driven it in the sedan version in Canada in the summer of 2021. Except that there, we have to fit two adults and two teenagers plus the four suitcases that accompany us. Good, the Touring version has 410 liters of cargo space against 375 liters for the sedan version. A small game of Tetris and all the suitcases are finally put in the bottom of the trunk.
Small thing to know with this rechargeable hybrid version, the battery occupies the bottom of the trunk which eats up part of the loading space. Trunk capacity in a 3 Series sedan without electrification is still 480 litres. But in all versions, the rear seats can be lowered, which penalizes the actual loading capacity a little less.
We hit the road, once our world is well settled in the leather seats of our “Béhème”. We activate the car’s GPS in the direction of France and, more precisely, Strasbourg. A small distance of 216 km to cover. The GPS indicates 2h40 of road… it is without counting that we are in Germany and that there are many portions without speed limits on our route. In short, we are happy to be guided by our GPS which has the advantage of indicating the route also in head-up vision.
SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW 330e xDrive Review: The 3 Series’ Imperfect Plug-In Hybrid Option
We arrive quietly on the highway, the gas tank is full as well as our battery. We drive wisely in Normal mode, which means that the on-board computer alone manages the distribution between the electric and gasoline portions. We let it happen without worrying too much about it, because we are more busy weaving through the morning traffic. We thus drive for a few tens of kilometers to escape the flood of commuters who come to work in the city.
Once stabilized at cruising speed, thanks to the cruise control which helped us a lot throughout our trip, the fluidity of the traffic is felt. The limit goes from 90 to 110 then to 130 km/h. Everything is going well, a small touch on the cruise control speed selector makes us increase by 10 km/h each time. The little family begins to slump. The car is hot, the morning sun almost blinds us and the road, as is always the case in Germany, is as smooth as a pool table!
The signal arrives, on the head-up display, of the unlimited speed panel which is approaching. So much the better, we are now driving on a three lane and there are hardly any cars around us.
The long-awaited panel arrives, we press the Sport+ mode and we crush the right pedal. Until then, the vehicle was very quiet and the car was literally floating on the road. In Sport+, the engine, more present in the cabin, suddenly has a more hoarse sound. The suspension and steering firm up instantly. Acceleration is lively and frank, the needle of the speedometer climbs quickly, very quickly even to stabilize at 230 km/h. All is well, I respect the instructions of BMW which asks us not to exceed 240 km/h!
We continue in this way for several tens of kilometers without the slightest effort. A little further, the highway narrows slightly and becomes two lanes. No big deal, we continue at a cruising speed wavering between 160 and 180 km/h. This car is an asphalt swallower, the kilometers separating us from our destination were swallowed up in one gulp without us ever feeling in danger. Acceleration and braking were frank and direct and the 216 km were covered in just over two hours.
It is important to mention that yes, there are unlimited speed portions of the highway, but there are many portions with 110 or 130 km/h zones. In these areas, it’s zero tolerance; we get slapped on the hands at 3 km/h above the speed limit. Again, the cruise control and especially the speed limiter come to calm our passion.
The rest of the way goes smoothly and we enjoy the landscape of the black forest to our destination in France. Once arrived, the on-board computer indicates an average fuel consumption of 8.2 L/100 km. Not bad, considering our top speeds and cruising speed. Once there, we tie our car to the first power outlet we find in the garden.
The days that follow, we plug into the house when we think about it and otherwise we drive in hybrid mode in the city. We still use the automatic management system of our 300e Touring and the transition between electric and thermal mode happens in a very fluid and discreet way.
Next week, the conclusion of our short trip to Europe aboard the 2022 BMW 330e Touring.
2022 BMW 330e Touring pictures