It may no longer quite be the most effective route there is to cutting your company car tax bills; and it may never be the very best-handling saloon of its esteemed breed. And yet the BMW 330e’s pre-eminence as our plug-in hybrid compact executive option of choice is absolutely plain.

Unlike so many of its electrified rivals, this car hides the complexity of powertrain so well. It continues to handle like a powerful, poised, rear-driven sports saloon no matter how hard you care to push it. It has plenty of sporting character, and can be as quick across the ground as almost any other 3 Series, and as engrossing to drive, too, in its own way.

Slicker and sweeter-handling than the average PHEV; a true 3 Series

And yet it can also play the near-silent, super-efficient urban cruiser. As unused to it as BMW owners may be, there’s almost as much appeal to gliding serenely along in this car, watching your fuel economy readout improve, as there is to driving it in any other way.

Best of all, when you simply press the starter button and stick it in ‘D’, the 330e is really all slickness and normality. To keener drivers, it deserves recommendation among its particular rivals almost without caveat – so that’s what we’re giving it.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - BMW 3 Series

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