BMW 330E: car review

Ghost in the machine: BMW’s wonderfully realised 3-Series iPerformance hybrid puts Martin Love in mind of an old friend

Price: £34,475
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 6.1 seconds
MPG: 148.7
CO2: 44g/km

When Pam Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, my chum Andy was onboard. We’d met at university, though he dropped out before he graduated. He was brilliant – and maddening. I think of him often, but last week, en route to Edinburgh, we pulled off the A74 at Dumfries to visit the town’s tree-ringed cemetery where all 270 victims (259 on the plane, plus the 11 killed on the ground) are commemorated. Andy was just 24. He hadn’t really started. Yet when I spooled through everything he’d missed, the life he hadn’t had, I ended up at this blooming car, gleaming in the sunshine next to me. “He’d have loved this BMW,” I said mournfully, turning to my incredulous wife. The thing is, he really would have. And, without sounding crass, I imagined the fun it would have brought him – and that cheered me up a bit.

BMW has taken its award-garlanded 3-Series and blended it with a plug-in electric hybrid to produce a quiet masterpiece

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