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BMW 3 Series Plug-In Has A Big Secret


Don't be surprised if the plug-in becomes the best-selling 3 Series.

When BMW pulled the wraps off the all-new G20 generation 3 Series, a lot of the buzz was geared towards the base 330i trim and the more powerful M340i model. Both the 330i and M340i are substantial improvements over their predecessors but we believe the most improved award should go to the 330e plug-in hybrid.

The previous generation 330e developed 247 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque with an EV range of 22 miles. While the new car only gains 3 hp over its predecessor, its EV range increases to 37 miles and a new XtraBoost function can temporarily increase power to 291 hp.

The 330e isn't expected to arrive in the US until at least the summer of 2019, so there will be a bit of a wait before we start to see it on the roads. Before it arrives, BMW Blog believes the 330e could be hiding a big secret - an option for xDrive AWD. According to BMW Blog's sources, many customers saw the previous generation 330e as a solid alternative to a 330i but were turned off by a lack of AWD. Adding xDrive as an option would be an effective method to sell more plug-in hybrid 3 Series models in snowy climates.

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Toyota has catered to markets with colder climates by adding an AWD option to the Prius and it would be interesting to see BMW do likewise with the 330e. The Prius' AWD is rather unconventional, using an electric motor to drive the rear wheels. BMW could follow the same strategy, using an electric motor to drive the front wheels while keeping a high level of efficiency.

As it stands, the 330e uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which produces 184 hp on its own. The engine is mated to a 68-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed transmission. We already believe the 330e will be a compelling product, though the addition of AWD would make it even more popular.