Best cars & vans

BMW 330e - best low emissions green cars

While also being one of the greenest cars on sale, the BMW 330e also generates 248bhp

BMW 330e 2016 - front tracking

If you want a bit of zing with your green car, then BMW offers the great handling BMW 330e. This plug-in hybrid saloon delivers the kind of involving handling that BMW is famous for, but some of the low emissions magic of the i3 and i8 sports car have rubbed off on it. It's not a dedicated green machine, though, as BMW markets it as part of its iPerformance brand, which mixes low running costs with sporty driving dynamics. 

Power for the 330e comes from the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine from the BMW 320i, plus an electric motor. The 330e has a claimed combined economy figure of 148.7mpg, while emissions are 44g/km for the base SE model - higher spec cars on larger wheels have slightly higher emissions. 

Even better, the hybrid system makes 248bhp, which is significantly more than the rival VW Passat GTE. The instant torque from the electric motor boosts the 330e's responses at low revs, and it accelerates strongly through the rev range, although the car does run out of puff the faster you go.

Still, there's plenty of power available for everyday driving, while the 330e handles like a BMW should. There's some extra body roll in corners and the weight of the batteries in the back does dull the car's responses when compared to a conventional 3 Series, but it's still a lot of fun to drive.

The petrol engine cuts in readily, and there's no facility to run in pure EV mode, although you can store the battery charge for use at a later date. Of course, like all plug-in hybrids, the 330e's real-world economy will depend entirely on how you use it and how often you charge it. But with the petrol engine cutting in on a regular basis, the 330e is likely to be less efficient than a VW Passat GTE being driven in a similar way.

Best green cars 

  1. 1. BMW i3
  2. 2. Toyota Prius
  3. 3. Tesla Model S
  4. 4. VW Passat GTE
  5. 5. Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX
  6. 6. Nissan Leaf
  7. 7. Volvo XC90 T8
  8. 8. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  9. 9. VW Polo BlueMotion 1.0 TSI
  10. 10. BMW 330e

Recommended

BMW 3 Series review
BMW 3 Series - front
BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series review

The BMW 3 Series offers the perfect blend of performance, driving dynamics, low running costs, technology and refinement
26 May 2021
New entry-level BMW 320e and 520e PHEVs unveiled
BMW 320e - main
News

New entry-level BMW 320e and 520e PHEVs unveiled

BMW will soon launch cheaper plug-in hybrid 320e and 520e variants in Europe – both with pure-electric ranges of around 30 miles
27 Jan 2021
New pure-electric BMW 3 Series spied testing again
BMW 3 Series

New pure-electric BMW 3 Series spied testing again

All-electric BMW 3 Series saloon will rival the Tesla Model 3
4 Nov 2020

Most Popular

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021