The new BMW 330e plug-in hybrid Bavarian meets a compelling Scandinavian rival, the Volvo S60 T8, in a battle that will reveal which constructor makes the best electrified mid-sized premium sedan. AutoExpress has brought together Sweden and Germany in a comparison test that aimed at revealing which is the leader in the segment mid-class premium plug-in hybrids. Standing brave and proud for Germany is the new BMW 330e, while the VolvoS60 T8 fights for the honor of Swedish engineering.
The journalists from the UK automotive publication reported that the 330e is quite on par with the S60 T8, even though the Scandinavian model has almost 100 hp extra than the electrified Bimmer.
The ride is straightforward in the BMW plug-in hybrid sedan: both comfortable and dynamic. The 330e packs a total of 292 PS (288 hp) of peak output, out of which the electric motor power reaches 111 hp. The electrically assisted steering has a better and sharper response in the BMW.
As well, the BMW 330e impresses with its refined build quality, with premium materials all over the interior. At the same time, practicality has been barely sacrificed, as the cargo volume in the boot decreases by 105 liters compared to the non-electrified 3 Series version to reach a total of 375 liters in the tested model. The Volvo S60 T8 is better here at 390 liters, but by a margin.
The BMW 330e is as roomy as a standard 3 Series combustion engine model, so the plug-in hybrid architecture did not jeopardize the cabin space. The same stands true for the Volvo.
When it comes to output, the 100-hp deficit is hardly an issue for the BMW 330e, which is also almost 200 kilos lighter than the Volvo S60 T8. Only at the 0-100 km/h sprint, journalists find out that the Swedish model is quicker at 5.0 seconds than 5.5 seconds achieved by the Bimmer.
The battery of the 330e has a higher net charge capacity at 10.4 kWh compared to 9.9 kWh in the S60 T8. Nonetheless, the 111 hp output of German plug-in hybrid extends the electric-only range up to 36 miles, equally as in the lesser-powered Volvo with 86 hp. Both cars show up low CO2 levels, but the higher kerb weight of the S60 T8 jeopardizes. The BMW 330e wins here with 38 g/km.
Total recharge time takes 3 hrs and 30 minutes in the plug-in 330e and 3 hours and 15 minutes in the Volvo S60 T8. Both cars have a flap cover on their front left wing which hides the charging socket of 3.7 kWh electric flow capacity.
Both contenders were specced with similar equipment, so there is no clear winner between the 330e M Sport and the S60 T8 R-Design Plus. A weaker point of the German model, compared to AWD Volvo S60 T8, is the fact that it is currently offered solely a rear-driven automobile, but we learnt that a proper xDrive model is on the way, given the 530e xDrive example.
In the end, AutoExpress journalists conclude the BMW 330e is the better choice of the two, being more comfortable, more robustly built, offering greater dynamics and driving fun, as well as proper top-level equipment and a decisively more attractive pricing.
Spending almost 10,000 pounds (approximately 13,000 US dollars) more on the Volvo for a comparable level of equipment and similar performance is just too much, even though the extra 100 hp advantage over the 330e would employ it.