What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with ONTO
Electric Car Awards 2021: Best hybrid executive car
With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric executive car...
BMW 3 Series 330e M Sport
If there's one car that does everything for everybody, this is it. The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid is pure electric commuter, petrol-powered thrill-seeker and luxurious executive saloon all rolled into one.
The official electric range of up to 37 miles is on a par with rivals such as the Mercedes C300e and Volvo S60 Recharge. It’s smooth, hushed and peachy to drive even if you skip on to the motorway for a few miles on electric power. When the 330e’s 2.0-litre petrol engine kicks in to join the electric motor and deliver the full, combined 288bhp, you get even punchier acceleration to better enjoy the handling.
The 330e sets the benchmark for being the best driver’s car in the class, and that’s saying something, given the competition it faces.
The S60 Recharge is faster and has four-wheel drive (you can add BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive to the 330e), but the 330e with rear-wheel drive is sharper and more engaging than the S60 on a good road.
It’s composed everywhere else, too. The optional adaptive suspension is worth it if you want the most comfort without compromising on handling verve, but even on standard suspension the 330e is easygoing in an across-town muddle and effortless on a motorway.
It’s not just about the way it drives, of course. If you’re buying a posh saloon car, you want a posh interior, and the 330e doesn’t disappoint. The driving position is near-perfect, with a seat that holds you snugly in place and has a good range of adjustment. There’s also decent visibility in all directions.
The M Sport version we favour gets clear digital dials, plus a 10.3in colour touchscreen you can control with a dial that’s really easy to use when you’re driving. We rate it as the best infotainment system around.
Maybe an Audi A4 has the 330e licked for the finer degrees of interior quality, but the general ambience in the 330e is still one of precision and lustre; it’s likely to deliver all the premium executive finish you want.
The whole family will be well catered for, too. There’s plenty of room for two adults in the back, even if front seat occupants are tall, and a third person will be able to squeeze in if necessary. Bear in mind, though, that the boot is smaller than it is in regular petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series because of the space taken up by the battery.
Overall, it’s hard to find fault with the 330e and it really is the epitome of an all-rounder. It’s super-affordable for company car tax, competitive on purchase price and monthly costs, and cheap to fuel, yet also brilliant to drive, sit in and live with. You really can have it all with the 330e.
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