BMW tries to mimic the efficiency brilliance of the C 350 e plug-in hybrid with its own take, the new BMW 330e.
The Bavarians are unveiling their first plug-in hybrid based on the current 3 Series generation at this year’s IAA Frankfurt motor show, next month. Time for the first static comparison between the BMW flavored eco mid-size sedan and its Mercedes nemesis. In both cases, much of the powertrain feels eerily familiar.
Let’s start with the newest model to grace the segment. The BMW 330e features the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine as used by the 320i. Good for 184 HP, the conventional unit is augmented by an 88 HP electric motor, for a total system power rated at 252bhp and a mighty 420Nm of torque. The electric motor sits between the main unit and the eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance is brisk given the 225 km/h top speed and a 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 seconds.
The C 350 e follows the same recipe, but ups the power stakes with a hefty overall output of 279 HP and 600 Nm. The 2.0-liter turbo internal combustion engine is lifted straight from the C 250 and delivers 211 HP at 5,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 350 Nm. The complementary electric engine contributes with an extra 82 hp and 340 Nm, all resources being sent to the rear-axle via a revised 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission. Under this setup, the green C-Class sedan can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 250 km/h, trumping the 330e in the process.
The water-cooled 6.2 kWh Li-Ion battery sits under the trunk of the C 350 e for better weight distribution. The downside is the C 350 e offers 335 liters of cargo space as opposed to 480 liters in standard guise. The BMW 330e also features a 110 liters smaller trunk compared to other conventional versions down the range, at 370 liters versus 480 liters. This is still more than the Mercedes, though. The Li-Ion battery also sports a larger capacity, 7,6 kWh. Charging time take 3 hours and 15 minutes. The Mercedes is faster, the battery reaching its full capacity in 3 hours sharp when plugged to a 230V conventional wall plug.
The fiercest fight concerns the CO2 emissions and consumption figure. In BMW’s case, these amount to 44-49 g/km and 1.9-2.1 l /100 km, depending on the tires used. Total range is 600 km while in Max eDrive full electric mode this reduces to 40 km. The Mercedes-Benz C 350 e on the other hand can run exclusively on electric power for about 31 km and returns an impressive fuel consumption, rated at 2.1 l/100 km. Emission figures also compare favorably to the BMW, at 48 grams per km.
While the new BMW 330e is currently only available in 4-door sedan guise, its Mercedes counterpart also addresses the big families with a T-Modell variant. Deliveries will start in 2016 for the Bavarian with the green C-Class already available on the market.