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Fleet World Fleet: BMW 330e M Sport

Alex Grant takes the keys for our new 330e plug-in hybrid long-termer.

Our 330e long-termer

With the Government changing the goalposts on the phasing out of combustion engines this month, I’ve found myself pointing out yet again that the automotive market is changing at an unprecedented pace. The 330e is a case in point; who could have predicted, five years ago, that a high-perfaormance petrol plug-in hybrid would become a mainstream part of the 3 Series range? And yet, it’s one of the UK’s best-selling plug-ins full-stop, and it’s been an important part of BMW’s fleet line-up amid uncertainty about diesel.

A bit like the old car, any driver picking this one can feel like they’ve drawn the long straw. We’re a few weeks away from a final decision on the tax reforms outlined last July (though they look likely), and these should give a further shot in the arm to a car which already offers six-cylinder petrol performance, double-digit CO2 emissions and BMW badge cachet. Particularly as WLTP re-testing is likely to nudge many petrol and diesel cars up a Benefit-in-Kind band or two in April. As I said, it’s all moving quickly.

Regardless of testing elsewhere, it’s also building on the last car’s capabilities. The old 330e was a clever car, but my lasting impression was that the packaging compromises of its bulky hybrid components didn’t offer enough of a trade-off in terms of real-world range. Its successor retains all of the useful technology – which I’ll outline in later reports – but with a (WLTP) electric range of 37 miles. At roughly twice what I was getting from the previous generation, that should be enough to make real difference to fuel economy over a long distance. Cold weather hasn’t helped energy economy so far, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how it stacks up over the coming months.

P11D (BiK): £39,925 (16%) MPG/CO2: 176.6-201.8mpg (WLTP) / 38g/km (NEDC Correlated) Test MPG/MPkWh: >99.9mpg/2.0MPkWh

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.