Amazing Things Come In 3s

Designated lots for charging

The famed sporty attributes of the BMW 3 Series bundled with the green credentials of super low petrol consumption (47.6km/Litre) and less CO2 emissions than a running man (allegedly), add to that the convenience of charging lots (yeh! free electricity!) reserved solely for plug-in hybrids and how could anyone not want a 330e?

How about three brag-worthy things in the BMW 330e that could make you the most envied (or annoying) person at the next class reunion, with the added drub that these features are not in the other 3 Series models nor in the Audi A4 or the Mercedes C-Class?

Head-up display

Eyes forward

Your speed projected on to the windscreen so it’s eyes on the road at all times. When you’re using the built-in navigation system it also displays turn-by-turn directions, the speed limit and the distance to the next navigation point, like the exit.

The latest generation iDrive Controller
Already considered one of the easier-to-use proprietary infotainment systems, (it’s a toss up between this or Audi’s MMI as the more intuitive, after all, when was the last time you read an instruction manual?), this version in the 330e adds voice command to input destinations into the satnav. In earlier versions for the Malaysian market, it was either squiggling letters on the touchpad of the dialler or selecting each letter by rotating the dialler.

To get around any confusion caused by variances in accents and pronunciation of words from the different local languages, the destination name is spelt out. It even understands Petaling Jaya’s numerically divided road system with its unwieldy combination of section number-stroke-road number.

The final goodie, is the BMWConnect App. In every new BMW sold in Malaysia since 2016 is a GSM SIM card that is part of their ConnectedDrive service. The App when connected to the plug-in hybrid takes the service to a whole new combination of convenience and digital sophistication by connecting you to your car. You can check every petty niggle without having to be within sight of the car. It’s also something interesting to play with if you’re bored – or show off with – and you can do it from your phone or your smart watch.

  • Did you leave the window open or may be you can’t remember if you locked the car? You don’t have to go back to the car – check and sort it out through the app.
  • Scorcher of a day and parked in the hot sun? No need to get into an oven. Switch the air-conditioning on remotely to cool down the car before you get in.
  • Can’t remember where you parked? The car’s location is in the app. In a crowded carpark, you can zero in on on the car even more quickly by flashing the headlights or tooting the horn from the app.
  • You don’t have to be in the car to input sat-sav destinations. You can search for a destination on the app at any time and send it to the car. When you’re ready to go, it’s waiting in the iDrive inbox. Select and go.

Other features in the App are service due dates, the percentage of charge in the battery, petrol levels, info on your mileage and fuel economy… the really important aspects of car ownership that any responsible owner would want to know

Is the BMW330e the best car in its segment? We would call it the most entertaining – and not just in the driver’s seat.