When they told us we are not part of the ‘established media’, we thought wow! What does it mean to be ‘established’ and why did he think that we ever wanted to be part of the so-called ‘established media’. The arrogance, the drip-feeding of a lack of self-awareness, seemingly entombed in a rabbit hole with no way out… we never wanted to become part of any such meaningless existence. We never set out to become ‘established’. Let me tell you what the established media do. They lie, print lies, spread misinformation, phone hack, manufacture consent, divide and conquer, print libelous statements and get sued for printing libelous statements. Journalism does not exist in the ‘established media’ because the profession has been captured by corporations. Journalism is a commodity to be bartered for and journalists have become spokespersons acting on behalf of their media mogul overlords. Journalism is owned by a few billionaire media moguls who promote their corporate agenda by dividing and conquering, printing libelous statements, phone hacking, spreading misinformation.
If he wants to salivate at the feet of this ‘establishment media’ then we say good luck with that. It’s very much mission completed. What Martin was probably referring to was control. If they can not control the messaging, i.e. “BMW is peerless”, then only the established media has enough lack of integrity to be considered trustworthy allies. The established media is very powerful but the foundations they are built upon are often fragile. And this fragile state exists at the behest, and often at the whims of the powerful billionaire media mogul. And this fragility is easily exploitable if advertising revenue is at risk.
Nevertheless, we’ve never been more motivated to review a BMW and put that motivation into good use by getting our hands on a test sample. And here it is, the BMW 3 Series 330E Plug-in Hybrid Touring.
The BMW 330E Plug-in Hybrid Touring is powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine which is good for 190bhp. Together with a 111bhp electric motor, the combined output is 289bhp. The clever engineers (who are way more appreciated than the messengers who are designated to represent them) have found a way to combine two opposites to work as one.
While the BMW 3 Series 330e Plug-in Hybrid Touring offers around 28 miles of range in pure electric mode, the truth is it is only useable for city driving. If you give it full electric beans on the motorway then expect the electric range to deplete quicker than the time it takes to unwrap and eat a mini Snickers treat.
The people who end up buying the 330e Plug-in Hybrid often do so to get a tax break. Yes the BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid is a cleverly disguised tax hack. And these tax hackers have no interest in saving the planet for future generations to enjoy. And they certainly have no interest in recharging the batteries on a regular basis.
But if you are so inclined to do so then expect to fork out extra cash to install a home charging unit. Doing so will enable you to recharge those depleted batteries you can’t be bothered with from 0-100 percent in 3.25 hours. Or you can simply use a 3-pin plug which extends the recharge time by an extra 2.2 hours. But the tax hacker owner more than likely can’t be bothered to do that task either.
So the 330e Plug-in Hybrid has the best of both worlds because it has a BMW petrol engine and an electric motor. Sounds like a plan, a very good plan. But in truth, opposites do not attract because the performance of the entire package is demonstrably poor. Because of the extra weight of the battery pack and electric motor technology, the petrol engine struggles to shift the car with the dynamism expected by the BMW marketing literature.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine feels horrible by BMW standards. The engine over-revs in an effort to carry the burden of the hybrid system. Engine vibration can be felt through the throttle, and it resonates like a diesel at idle and under acceleration. It feels and sounds like a Volvo diesel from 5 years ago. The whole package, the performance, feels sluggish.
The only relief comes when the car switches to EV mode, this is when the BMW feels much more refined, the power much more accessible. You also get to admire the standard, M-Sport, steel sprung suspension. The ride and handling is first class, the 330e soaks up bumps and potholes with grace and fortitude. It feels very close to air suspension. And nothing in its class can touch the BMW 330e for handling. Personally, I don’t care about rear-wheel-drive bias, all I want is stability in all conditions, and in all conditions, the 330e felt secure.
As for the interior, I didn’t like the driver’s seat. It just felt as though it was trying to squeeze you out, like a bouncer throwing out a rowdy customer. I am not big in any way, but I felt like a giant living in a shoebox. The back seats are a struggle for adults and from the driver’s seat, I would prefer more elbow room. However, the interior is excellent. No complaints about the quality or use of materials. It feels solid and feels premium. You get a giant central touch screen infotainment system and a fully digital driver’s binnacle. And this particular test vehicle had a heads-up display which always feels like a step into the future even though it’s a decades-old technology.
All-in-all the 330e Plug-in Hybrid was reasonably well equipped. Just as long as I have heated seats, Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto), an Automatic transmission, decent sound system then the rest of the equipment is a bonus. What isn’t a bonus is the rear boot capacity, which is effectively downgraded in order to stuff in the battery pack. It’s a first-world problem and in no way is it a deal-breaker for the tax hackers who will buy this vehicle.
Unless you are a company tax hacker, I can not recommend buying this car because the overall package is woeful. We’ve read the positive ‘established media’ reviews for the 330e, however, you can not define the overall package of any car based on its rear-wheel-drive bias. At £40K you are better off buying a fully electric car. The BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid simply doesn’t make any sense on any level. You either go electric or not. There are so many good electric cars out there, the only one I would recommend is the Tesla Model 3 or even a used Model S.
And no we are not partnered with Tesla, we also pissed them off a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. In conclusion, the BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid is waiting for the future to arrive, it doesn’t realise it is already here and will only improve from this point going forward. But this 330e Plug-in Hybrid will not be joining the future.