The 330e’s ownership case is at its most persuasive for company-car drivers subject to benefit-in-kind taxation, as is the case for all plug-in hybrids.
At present, between a typical contract hire rate and their ‘company car tax’, a typical 40 percent-income-tax-bracketed fleet driver will probably pay around £700 a month for a BMW 330i, £750 for a 330d and £620 for a 320d. Running a 330e instead can bring that down to about £550.
Compared with a PHEV rival, the BMW still looks financially attractive, its low list price making it about £40 a month cheaper than a Passat GTE on the same basis.
During our testing, the 330e wouldn’t quite match BMW’s electric-only range claim of 25 miles but did cover a little over 18 on zero-emissions power in a mix of urban and restrained extra-urban driving. That’s some distance poorer than the battery range of a V60 hybrid but competitive with most rivals.
Real-world fuel economy will depend entirely on usage and the 40.6mpg average we recorded reflected mostly high-intensity testing and long-distance touring, neither of which flatters the car.
However, running on combustive power alone, the 330e returned 47.2mpg touring economy – and even if you chose never to charge the car at all, that’d be pretty creditable for the performance on offer here.