It is the most popular BMW in history, with many clients during its 40 years career. The BMW 3 Series, recently launched in Europe at the beginning of this year, is now benefiting from a hybrid version.

The BMW 330e Saloon delivers up to 50 per cent increase in electric-only range and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 10 per cent.

A major new feature of the new 330e is the standard-fit XtraBoost, technology (also seen on the X3 xDrive 30e) increasing the 252hp by a further 41hp at the touch of a button.

As well as the extra power, the updated plug-in hybrid can cover a distance of up to 37 miles using electric power alone, while average combined fuel consumption is now up to 201.8mpg with combined CO2 emissions of just 37g/km.

In order to save space, the BMW 330e’s electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. This means the hybrid-specific transmission is only 15mm longer than the corresponding versions for conventionally powered BMW 3 Series saloons.

The BMW 330e also offers a model-specific sound design which delivers a suitably throaty engine noise when the car is put through its paces. The aim is to offer the emotional impact of sports-car performance together with the proven qualities of a plug-in hybrid model. The hybrid-specific optional equipment list also includes an acoustic pedestrian protection function so that those about to cross the road can hear the car approaching when it is in electric-only mode at low speeds.

The 12.0kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery in the new BMW 330e Saloon is positioned underneath the rear seats, while the fuel tank is located above the rear axle to ensure optimal luggage capacity. The total storage volume is 375 litres but can be increased by folding down the rear-seat backrests, which are configured in a 40:20:40 split (standard on all models apart from 330e SE where optionally available).

Almost the entire range of optional equipment features for the new BMW 3 Series Saloon are also available for the plug-in hybrid models. The new 330e comes in four different models: 330e SE Pro, 330e Sport Pro, 330e M Sport and 330e M Sport Plus Edition.