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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best plug-in hybrid to drive

The best plug-in hybrid cars offer a long all-electric range, reducing fuel consumption, emissions and tax bills. Yet they must still drive well and not compromise on practicality...

The BMW 3 Series has always been a great executive car. But the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) 330e M Sport’s specific magic is in being all things to all drivers.

It’s great at shrugging off long motorway trips and has loads of space and class-leading infotainment. And while the M Sport isn’t the smoothest-riding version in the range, it makes up for that by displaying an agility and sense of fun in corners that few executive rivals – and certainly no other plug-in – can match.

BMW 3 Series 12-19 interior

The 3 Series appeals just as strongly to the pocket. Keep its battery fully charged and it’ll officially manage up to 36 miles on electric power alone; that’s enough for most commuter trips, and further than its Volvo S60 T8 and Mercedes C-Class C300de rivals will take you.

When its battery is flat, you can expect around 37mpg on the 2.0-litre petrol engine alone in real-world use. So, company car drivers will save on tax and private owners will appreciate potential fuel savings, but the way the 330e PHEV drives will make anyone grin.

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Read about more Car of the Year 2021 winners >>