2021 BMW 330e Essentials: Get your groceries with a charge

Our Opinion: At speed, the 330e drives pretty much as you’d expect a standard 330i to drive — at least if the 330i is equipped with the standard suspension and the tamest all-season tires. The 330e’s steering is a bit busier, and its ride firmer, than a big 745e with the same hybrid tech test driven at the same time. And this hybrid makes real shifts up and down when you step on it — firmer or smoother, depending on the circumstances — without that dreadfully stretchy CVT drone.
It’s all part of BMW’s plan to basically reassure buyers that a 330e is just your familiar semi-sport sedan with better overall fuel economy and some useful electric range. To sweeten the deal, the 330e adds something BMW calls XtraBoost. Think of it like push-to-pass.
In sport mode, XtraBoost raises peak output from the motor 30 hp (to 113) for up to 10 seconds when you floor it. It works even if the battery is ostensibly depleted because there’s always a reserve of about 20 percent. This raises peak powertrain output to 292 hp and 310 lb-ft, or 38 hp and 16 lb-ft more than the conventional 330i. This car can be quick, and it might shave a hair from the 330i’s published 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds (the 330e is heavier). It also increases top speed from 130 mph to 143, if you care about that.
What about that electric-only range? The 330e has been rated in Europe for 60 kilometers of electric range, and you might think that translates to 37.2 miles of electric only-range in North America. It might not. Under the EPA’s system, the 330e will probably be certified somewhere below 37 miles of electric range, but it should at least double the previous 3 hybrid’s 14-mile electric range, and that should be legitimately useful.