Mar 26, 2021 - Economy

What we're driving: BMW 330e sedan

Picture of a BMW Sedan electric vehicle

BMW 330e plug-in hybrid. Photo: BMW

The BMW 330e sedan takes all the stress out of driving and keeps the fun.

The big picture: It's a plug-in hybrid that delivers the spirit of a BMW in a more eco-friendly package. And the driver-assistance technology will surprise you with all it can do.

Details: The plug-in hybrid powertrain includes an electric motor, 12-kWh battery and 2-liter, twin-turbo engine that together provide 288 horsepower and 310 lb.-feet of torque.

  • Kick down the throttle and a new XtraBoost feature adds 40 more horsepower in 10-second spurts.
  • You can also drive purely on electric power for 22 miles.
  • It'll charge overnight in a standard 110-volt plug, or in three hours using a Level 2 home charger. Utilities often offer discounts on installation.

Driver assistance features include the usual standard stuff like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.

  • An optional Driving Assistant adds blind spot detection and other features that help you back out of blind parking spots.
  • The Driving Assistant Pro package takes over in traffic jams so you can relax, though a camera makes sure you remain attentive.
  • For $700 more, your car will also park itself (parallel or perpendicular) — and exit the space, too. In a tight spot, it memorizes how it entered the space and retraces the maneuver in reverse.

The bottom line: The BMW 330e I drove had a starting price of $44,550 but landed at $59,645 after adding all the bells and whistles.

  • For people who aren't quite ready to go fully electric, it's a good first step.
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