Entry-level hybrids unveiled in Europe with 150kW plug-in systems, up to 61km of electric range.
- shares

The 2021 BMW 320e and BMW 520e plug-in hybrids have been unveiled, ahead of their European market launch in March 2021 – however, Australian launches for both models are not in the brand's local plans.

Unveiled as part of a raft of Model Year 2021 updates for the wider BMW line-up in Europe, the new 3 Series and 5 Series plug-in hybrids mate a 120kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for combined outputs of 150kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Drive is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, with the 320e Touring wagon available with 'xDrive' all-wheel-drive as an option.

Zero-to-100km/h sprint times range from 7.6 seconds for the 320e sedan to 8.2 seconds for the 520e wagon, with top speeds pegged between 218km/h and 225km/h depending on the model.

A 12.0kWh lithium-ion battery shared by all five models – namely the 320e sedan, 320e Touring, 320e xDrive Touring, 520e sedan and 520e Touring – enables distances of 46 to 61 kilometres (depending on model) to be travelled on electric power alone before the petrol engine switches on.

Top speed in all-electric mode is rated at 140km/h.

When connected to a 3.7kW AC charger – as you'd find from a dedicated home wall-box – BMW claims the battery can be recharged from zero to 80 per cent in 2.6 hours, or from empty to full in 3.6 hours.

Despite the battery's positioning underneath the rear seats, the plug-in 3 Series and 5 Series offer less space their petrol-powered counterparts with the second row in place. Capacities 320e and 520e are rated at 375 litres (down 105L) and 410 litres (down 120L) respectively, while the 320e Touring and 520e Touring claim 410 litres (down 90L) and 430 litres (down 130L) respectively.

Standard features on both models in Europe include automatic climate control and support for the My BMW smartphone app.

While the more potent 330e and 530e are offered in Australia, the entry-level hybrid models won't make the trip Down Under, with a BMW Australia spokesperson telling CarAdvice this week there are "no plans" to offer the models locally.

The 2021 BMW 320e and 520e will go on sale in Europe in March 2021.