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BMW will expand it plug-in hybrid offerings with the introduction of the 330e in 2016.

BMW Australia previously introduced the 3 Series ActiveHybrid in 2013, an efficient hybrid that utilised the 335i engine with an electric motor in tow. It retailed for $97,700 and despite its performance credentials (faster than a Porsche Boxster to a 100km/h), it failed to make much of an impact locally.

The new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid takes the lessons from the ActiveHybrid further, combining a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an 80kW electric motor – this time with a focus not solely set on performance.

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Total power output sits at 185kW with a maximum torque of 420Nm. And while it’s not as fast as the ActiveHybrid (6.2 seconds vs 5.2 seconds to 100km/h), it does have a claimed fuel economy figure of just 2.0L/100km on the European test cycle (as opposed to 5.9L/100km for the ActiveHybrid).

In fact, given it utilises a plug-in recharge system, the 330e can travel around 35 kilometres in electric mode only, even at speeds of up to 125km/h (normal top speed is 225km/h). In full-electric mode the car emit zero emissions, while in standard mode it averages to 47g/km of CO2.

In theory, owners that travel short distances to and from work can simply charge the car during the work day and enjoy a fossil fuel-free experience.

Will it come to Australia? “We are having a look at it, definitely.” BMW Australia’s director of corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher, told CarAdvice at the launch of the updated 3 Series in Munich this week.

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The BMW 330e remains under study for our market and yet to be confirmed. It would seem a likely choice however, considering BMW Australia has already confirmed it will bring in the X5 plug-in hybrid – and the two model ranges are the top two sellers in the Bavarian brand’s range.

Times have also changed for plug-in hybrids and electric cars in general, which may work in BMW’s favour.

“There’s a lot more awareness in the market, there’s a lot more knowledge around the idea of sustainability and I think it’s something that BMW has certainly promoted very strongly through all of it different technologies.” Fletcher said.

The introduction of the BMW 330e will see it go up against the Mercedes-Benz C 350 Plug-in hybrid.




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