New model comes standard with improved EV range and an electric 'overboost' mode
The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid has been unveiled overnight, ahead of a global on-sale date in the middle of 2019.
Power in the 330e comes from a plug-in hybrid drivetrain combining a 135kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Typically the electric motor is rated at 50kW, but the system can crank out 80kW when required. Total system output is rated at 185kW of power and 420Nm of torque.
The new plug-in hybrid also comes standard with an "XtraBoost" system, which uses a high-voltage battery to provide an extra 30kW of power for short bursts. The added punch is available when kicking down aggressively, or if the transmission is manual or sports mode.
Equipped with a 12kWh lithium-ion battery, the 330e has an electric-only driving range of up to 60 kilometres under the WLTP testing regime, a 50 per cent improvement on the previous-generation model.
Top speed in EV mode is 140km/h, or 20km/h more than the outgoing model. The 330e can be optioned with an acoustic pedestrian warning feature, which operates at low speeds when the car is running silently on battery power alone.
Overall fuel economy is said to be 1.7L/100km, while the 0-100km/h standard can be knocked off in 6.0 seconds flat.
With the car's high voltage battery located under the rear seats, and the fuel tank placed above the rear axle, the 330e has 375 litres of boot space, down slightly on regular internal combustion versions of the new 3 Series.
The 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat can be used to expand storage space if required.
The 330e goes on sale in Europe during the northern summer of 2019. We're waiting to hear back about Australian availability and timing.