The old norms of the automotive industry are shifting quickly. Ten years ago, someone shopping for a compact-executive saloon would most likely have opted for a German premium brand, probably with a four-cylinder diesel under the bonnet. Today’s would-be 320d driver not only has a compelling plug-in hybrid version to consider, but some very credible battery-electric alternatives too.
Having tested the water with the left field ActiveHybrid 3, BMW has since made electrification a mainstream offer. The outgoing 330e was one of the UK’s best-selling plug-ins, and a quarter of 3 Series customers are expected to opt for it this time around. That’s helped by a broader range of variants - there’s a new Touring version, and four-wheel drive is available too.
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