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BMW 330e hides electric smarts under sport sedan body

With its new 330e, BMW promises a combination of electric drive efficiency and traditional sport sedan handling.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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BMW expands its 3-series lineup for the 2017 model year with the 330e plug-in hybrid.

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The 330e includes a standard electric vehicle charging port on its left-front fender, letting you charge its 7.6 kilowatt-hour battery pack from the grid.

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Along with its 87 horsepower electric motor, the 330e gets propulsion from a turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower.

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Beyond the charging port and eDrive badges, the 330e looks like a standard 3-series.

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The plug-in hybrid drivetrain lets the 330e drive as an electric car for 14 miles before the engine kicks in.

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With a 50:50 weight balance, the 330e handles very well, as expected for a BMW.

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The total drive system output for the 330e comes to 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

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The kidney grille remains a standard BMW design cue.

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LED headlights on this example use much less energy and will last much longer than HID lamps.

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eDrive badges sit on the C-pillars.

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The 330e invites both economical, everyday driving and rear-wheel-drive sport handling.

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