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BMW reveals new-gen 3 Series PHEV

All-new BMW 330e arriving next year with more range, efficiency than predecessor

16 Nov 2018

BMW has lifted the lid on its new-generation 3 Series plug-in hybrid sedan, with the fresh 330e set to boast greater pure-electric range, fuel efficiency and driving dynamics than the outgoing model when it launches globally in mid-2019.
The German car-maker’s Australian arm has confirmed its interest in the new 330e but said it was too early to confirm timing or availability.
Motivation for the new 330e comes from a 135kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine mated to a 50kW electric motor for a combined output of 185kW/420Nm – identical to the previous 330e.
However the new version features an overboost function for the electric motor – dubbed XtraBoost – that can briefly deliver up to 30kW of extra power when sport mode is engaged, even when the battery capacity is low.
Hybrid and pure-electric driving modes are also available.
The pure-electric range has increased by 50 per cent over its predecessor thanks to the battery pack increasing from 7.6kWh to 12.0kWh, giving customers up to 60km of emissions-free driving.
Official fuel consumption figures have dropped by 10 per cent to 1.7 litres per 100km, while emissions are down to 39 grams per km.
Sprinting from zero to 100km.h takes 6.0 seconds and the top speed is 230km/h, or 140km/h in pure-electric mode – 20km/h more than before.
To help aid sporty driving and precision, BMW has remapped the 330e’s accelerator pedal curve, while the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission’s shifting characteristics have been altered.
In order to save space, the electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed transmission, which is only 15mm longer than a comparable internal-combustion transmission.
The electric motor feeds the car’s electrical systems and acts as a generator, meaning there is no need for a generator powered by the petrol engine.
BMW has positioned the battery pack under the rear seats, while the fuel tank sits above the rear axle, meaning boot space drops from 480 litres in internal-combustion versions to 375L.
Globally, the 330e can be optioned with Adaptive M suspension, M sports brakes and variable sports steering, however Australian standard specification is still some way off being confirmed.
Due to the large battery pack, pre-heating and conditioning of the interior is possible, to achieve the perfect cabin temperature before setting foot in the vehicle.
A full suite of active safety features can be expected to find their way onto the 330e, such as lane guidance and parking assistance, while a feature identifying public charging stations will also be included.
The initial seventh-generation 3 Series variants are set to hit Australian showrooms in March or April next year, a few months after the first European deliveries.
At launch, the most likely Australian starters will be the four-cylinder petrol-powered 320i and 330i, as well as the turbo-diesel 320d variant.
To the end of October, BMW has sold 2692 examples of the 3 Series, up 21.3 per cent over the same period last year.
It currently sits third in the premium medium passenger car segment behind the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (4212) and CLA (2813), and ahead of the Audi A4 (1362) and Lexus IS (958).

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