BMW has expanded its 3 Series line-up with the addition of a Touring estate version of the plug-in hybrid 330e – a first for the model.
Available to order from summer, the 330e Touring makes use of the same petrol-electric powertrain as the saloon variant, which pairs a 181bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor integrated into the gearbox.
The motor produces 67bhp in normal running mode and 111bhp in Sport mode for bursts of up to 10sec, giving the 330e peak combined outputs of 289bhp and 310lb ft. BMW claims this is enough to push the Touring from 0-62mph in 6.1sec – just 0.1sec slower than the saloon – and on to a top speed of 136mph.
Both versions of the 330e can now be had with four-wheel drive as an alternative to the regular rear-wheel drive. The xDrive models can determine how much power to send to each axle depending on the driving situation. The option reduces the saloon's 0-62mph time by 0.3sec and the estate's by 0.1sec while ensuring "maximum traction and driving stability in all road and weather conditions".
Like the 330e saloon, the 330e Touring can run on electric power alone at speeds of up to 68mph in hybrid mode or at speeds of up to 87mph when eDrive mode is activated. Its 12kWh lithium ion battery offers an official electric-only range of 34 miles, which is on a par with what the rival Volkswagen Passat GTE can achieve.
The 330e Touring is officially capable of 176-201mpg – although a figure nearer 50mpg can be expected from real-world use – and CO2 emissions of 32-37g/km. BMW claims a charging time from empty of 3.4 hours from a 7.4kW charger. Regenerative braking is included, sending charge to the battery under deceleration.
BMW claims the battery, mounted under the boot floor, only marginally diminishes boot space, with the 330e Touring offering 1420 litres of space with the rear seats folded.
Standard equipment on the 330e Touring includes pre-conditioning functionality, parking assistance, voice control, sat-nav and smartphone compatibility. An optional M Sport package brings adaptive sports suspension, variable steering settings and uprated brakes.
Prices for the 330e Touring and new xDrive models are yet to be confirmed, but they're likely to command a premium over the current, rear-wheel-drive 330e saloon, which is available from £37,885.