And it could use a tiny three-cylinder engine.
BMW is in the midst of a plug-in hybrid product onslaught, with several brand-new models on the way. A plug-in variant of the X3 called the xDrive30e was just revealed with 292 horsepower and a plug-in X5 called the xDrive45e iPerformance is coming with 394 horsepower on tap. It makes sense for BMW to implement its new PHEV technology on its hot-selling SUV models but the company's 3 Series plug-in has been a notable absentee in the US market.
Europe already receives the 330e, which pairs a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 184 hp to a 113 hp electric motor, equalling a combined output of 252 hp and an additional 41 hp through a cool XtraBoost feature. The 2020 BMW 330e can travel around 31 miles on battery power alone, meaning it has one of the better PHEV electric ranges on the market. BMW has not announced any plans to bring it to the US but according to BMW Blog, another plug-in 3 Series model could be in the works.
BMW Blog's inside sources say BMW is working on a new PHEV model, rumored to be called the 320e, to sit under the 330e in the lineup. Instead of using a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the 320e could pack a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine under the hood, mated to an electric motor. If this drivetrain seems familiar, that's because it has already been used on the Mini Countryman Plug-In, so it could already be certified for the US market. Not much is known about the car's total output but it will certainly be less than the 252 hp figure produced by the 330e - likely around 200 hp. It would be slower than the 330e but with a smaller engine under the hood, it would likely be more efficient.
Of course, there is still no guarantee this new 3 Series variant would be sold in the US. Even if it does come here, BMW Blog estimates the car won't be revealed until the third quarter of 2020, meaning it will be a long wait before we would see it on US roads.