BMW's latest 3 Series gets plug-in hybrid eDrive power

The heart of BMW's model lineup, the 3 Series, has a trick new 330e plug-in hybrid variant that promises vastly improved fuel economy and spirited performance.

The 330e doesn't shout about its electrons. Chris Paukert/CNET

FRANKFURT -- BMW may have unveiled the updated version of its bread-and-butter 3 Series sedan back in May, but only now is it showing what is almost certainly the model's most technologically advanced model, the 330e.

Featuring modular eDrive plug-in technology derived from the company's i3 electric city car and i8 supercar, BMW's 330e offers a combined 252 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque from its 2-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor.

Like other eDrive models, the rear-wheel-drive 330e is capable of hitting 75 mph running on electric power alone. The juice supplied by its 7.6-kWh lithium ion battery pack will supply about 25 miles of EV range, too.

BMW's 330e PHEV promises 25 miles of range on pure electricity. Chris Paukert/CNET

Despite the presence of the heavy battery array and motor, BMW claims the 330e still maintains perfect 50:50 weight distribution, and the model boasts a still-swift 0-to-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. Best of all, on the European cycle, the 330e is estimated to return the equivalent of between 112 and 124 miles per gallon.

Unfortunately, for the moment, EPA economy figures are not yet available. In fact, it's possible such official metrics will never be available, as BMW has yet to confirm that the 330e will be sold in North America.

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