BMW330e M sport Saloon Auto Test Drive
With the government pushing us to go green and wanting us to drive electric cars, manufacturers are frantically producing new models to fit this gap. Personally I think there is still a way to go before we can all go electric, it’s not because I don’t agree with them, it’s just the logistics and for many it’s just not practical for everyday driving. Don’t get me wrong if you do standard journeys to and from work with the occasional long journey or you are very well organised and can plan your day out to allow for ½ hour stops to charge your car up then Electric is great.
Unfortunately that’s not me, I’m lucky if I remember my phone, keys, wallet, laptop, sandwiches and coat so to plan a whole day of driving, allowing for regular stops and being on time isn’t going to happen! Not only that I would probably forget to charge the car up the night before so my first job would be calling the customer to say I’m running late whilst sat at a charging station.
So for someone like me,what is the solution?
Well, I have been handed the keys to a BMW 330e M sport Auto saloon. It has a 2.0 litre petrol engine producing 185bhp and a battery that produces a further 108bhp giving a total of 292bhp. It will whisk you to 63mph in 5.8 seconds and will take you 34 miles on electric only.
This means that you can do most of your short trips, taking the kids to school, popping down to the shops or visiting the in laws all on electric only and when you need to do the longer trips you have a petrol engine to assist.
Driving up the motorway today I managed over 40mpg which surprised me and better than I was expecting. I was also recharging the battery whilst driving so when I got to a town I could switch to electric only mode so for me this is the perfect solution to the electric problem.
This is the new 3 series which has now been out a couple of years and I’ve got to say I am very impressed with the car. The car I drove was in Portimao Blue with upgraded alloy wheels and sun protection glass, it really made the car stand out.
Inside you get all the mod cons that you would expect from a premium car with sat nav, bluetooth, DAB radio, heated leather sports seats, front and rear parking sensors and a rear reversing camera. BMW have both a large touch screen and a traditional dial by the gear leaver which is a nice touch as I find they are easier to use whilst driving. I’m a big fan of the BMW MMi as its fairly easy to use and you can be on your way quickly. You can also spend hours looking at all the other features when you are stuck in a traffic jam!
This new 3 series feels plusher than the previous version and has a premium feel to it with solid plastics above and below the eye line. The old 3 series always felt claustrophobic whereas this feels more spacious.
As with all BMW’s you have a sportier drive, the handling is precise and direct. Paddles on the steering wheel or click the gear leaver to the left allows you to drive in manual mode so you can push the car if you fancy being more like Stirling Moss. There is also a choice of sport, normal and electric mode from the switches next to the gear level. With 292bhp under your right foot acceleration is swift when required so overtaking is relaxed rather than fraught with will I make it!!
So, are there any downsides to the BMW? The one that sticks out most to me is the batteries take up some of the boot space but for once BMW offer rear seat folding as standard instead of an optional extra so that helps and if you do lots of load lugging then you can always choose the estate version.
For anyone doing more than the standard to and from work and wants to take a step towards going green then the 330e Hybrid should be on your short list. Company car drivers will see a massive drop from their current diesel cars P11d values for example a 2.0 diesel BMW will cost you £215pm as a 20% tax payer whereas the 330e will cost you £70pm, a saving of £145 and if you are a 40% taxpay you can double that to nearly £300pm.
Vehicle: BMW 330e M Sport Saloon Auto Fuel: Petrol Electric Plug in Hybrid
Co2 emissions: 34g/km
Max range on electric only 33 miles
EC Combined fuel figures 188.3mpg (Battery completed 34mpg)
NCAP rating 5
P11d value £42079.99
BIK 20% £70.13 / 40% £140.27
20% taxpayer £70.13pm
40% taxpayer £140.27
For more help and advice on electric cars, get in touch with the team at www.mphvehiclesolutions.co.uk.