While I’ve already luggage tested the BMW 3 Series and discovered that its trunk capacity falls far short of the 17 cubic-feet BMW reports it to have, there is one member of the latest 3er family that’s not applicable to those original results. In the past, that could mean a wagon or the short-lived Gran Turismo, but today, it’s the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid model that loses trunk capacity due to its battery requiring extra real estate.
According to BMW’s specs, it has nearly 4 fewer cubic feet of space than the 330i and M340i. This time, that totally checks out even if the official number of 13.2 cubic-feet remains totally incomparable to the volume figures of other brands.
The M340i is on the left and the 330e is on the right. The floor between the wheels is clearly higher in the plug-in hybrid.
But yeah, what’s going on with the floor in the 330e?
The floor panel bends and lowers to increase space, or, create a normal flat floor. It’s very easy to do this and the panel is well-engineered.
If anything, it seems like the lower position might be a bit lower than the M340i’s. Although only slightly, and there’s no way around the fact this gives the plug-in hybrid a distinct disadvantage.
On to the luggage. As with every luggage test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
First, the weird floor does make it hard to load bags, particularly with the hill in the middle. It took a couple of Tetris attempts to find the maximum of my bags.
So, what’s the difference? The M340i could fit the five biggest bags, but the smallest (fancy) bag had to stay behind. The 330e could fit the five smallest bags, including the fancy one, but the biggest bag had to stay behind. There was room left over in each for a large shopping bag and other extraneous items.
So really, the difference isn’t that big, but the 4-cubic-foot difference makes sense. That’s greater than what you would’ve found in the old 3 Series sedans and coupes (E46 and E90/92), which surprisingly I discovered, only differed by 1 to 3 cubes.
Also, the amount I could fit inside the 330e is the same as the Cadillac CT4, which is listed as having 10.9 cubic-feet. That number seems more applicable to the 330e’s space than its official 13.2 number (which is probably what the M340i and 330i have when using a more common measuring method).