The 2021 BMW 3-Series lineup offers something for everyone, including a new plug-in “e” variant. The 3-Series is a compact sedan with a decidedly sporty personality. It squares off against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60, and Audi A4, among others. In its latest generation, the 3-Series has regained a lot of the magic that once made it the class leader.



Last reworked for 2019, the 3-Series gains two bookends to its lineup this year. At the efficiency end of things, a new plug-in hybrid 330e with a 288-horsepower turbo-4 and an electric battery pack that team up for 22 miles of gas-free driving on a full charge. At the top of the performance ladder, there’s a wildly-styled M3 that comes with an enthusiast-pleasing 6-speed manual transmission option. Otherwise, the lineup sees newly standard lane-departure warnings and some minor trim package revisions.

The 3-Series comes only as a sedan, though it is closely related to the 4-Series coupe and convertible. The base 330i is plenty of sedan for most drivers. Its 255-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 can send power rearward or to all four corners in xDrive versions. This year’s new 330e should be a little quicker than the base 330i, making its $3,300 premium easier to swallow.

2021 BMW 330e Review



From there, the lineup goes into M territory—sports sedan drivers know that letter stands for Motorsport, not Mediocrity. The M340i puts 382 hp to the ground, while the ferocious M3 offers as much as 503 hp. An 8-speed automatic is standard fare except in the M3, which can be had with a proper manual.

Most versions of the 3-Series break little ground when it comes to styling with their conservative three-box bodies and relatively limited adornments. BMW saves all its outlandish styling for the edgy M3, a big-nosed beast that is definitely not to every taste.

2021 BMW 330e Review



Inside, all versions of the 3-Series are far more restrained and offer good comfort for passengers as well as plenty of technology including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility through an 8.8-inch touchscreen. Automatic emergency braking is standard, though adaptive cruise control and fatigue-reducing driver assist features can be pricey options.

2021 BMW 330e Review



BMW wants around $42,500 for the least-costly 330i, and options ranging from paint colors other than white, leather upholstery, and various convenience features can inflate that substantially. There’s not a bad pick in this lineup, but our tastes run toward either a restrained 330i (or a 330e if you do the math and find its electric range suits your commute) or the bonkers M3.

The 2021 BMW 3-series has truly reached new heights with the addition of the 330e plug-in hybrid. The 330e retains all of the fundamentals that make it a 3-series while infusing new found levels of efficiency.  Driven judiciously around town we saw almost 30 miles of all-electric range. So if you’re commute is on the smaller side but you’re not ready given up driving dynamics, there is no better choice.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Performance
Infotainment System and Tech Features
Fuel Economy
Value
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2021-bmw-330e-review-electrifying-a-legendThe 2021 BMW 3-series has truly reached new heights with the addition of the 330e plug-in hybrid. The 330e retains all of the fundamentals that make it a 3-series while infusing new found levels of efficiency.