The new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid will offer an electric-only range of 37 miles – nearly double that of its predecessor.
The PHEV version of the recently launched new 3 Series will go on sale in July next year, and made its public debut at the Geneva motor show. It features a 181bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine mated to a 111bhp electric motor that is integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission fed by a 12 kWh battery.
BMW says the set-up delivers a combined output of 249bhp and 310lb ft of torque. It will have a top speed of 143mph, with a 0-62mph time of 6.0sec and the ability to reach 68mph on electric power alone – an 18mph increase on the previous model.
The new model will also feature a new ‘XtraBoost’ system that, accessed through the Sport drive mode, draws power from the car’s battery to offer an extra 40bhp.
The plug-in hybrid has a quoted combined fuel economy of 138mph, with CO2 emissions of 39g/km, which BMW says makes it 10% more efficient than the previous model. Regenerative braking is also employed to help charge the batteries.
BMW says that the packaging gain from integrating the electric motor into the transmission means the new 330e is only 15mm longer than a conventionally powered 3 Series. The fuel tank is sited above the rear axle, and the car has a 375-litre boot.
The firm will also offer an upgraded version of its digital infotainment system, which shows public charging points and a list of nearby restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions.
The 330e will be available in SE, Sport Line and M Sport versions. Pre-heating and pre-conditioning are now standard on all models.