2021 BMW 330e vs. 2020 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The 330e’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The ES Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 330e has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The ES Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 330e offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the 330e and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The 330e’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ES Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 330e for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Lexus pays for maintenance for the ES Series (3/36,000 vs. 1/10,000).

There are over 43 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 330e’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 330e has a standard 720-amp battery. The ES Series’ 603-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 330e is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 330e’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The ES Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The 330e’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 73 more horsepower (288 vs. 215) than the ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The 330e’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder hybrid produces 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 267) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 330e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the ES Series:

MPGe

330e

RWD

Electric Motor

72 city/80 hwy

AWD

Electric Motor

64 city/71 hwy

ES Series

MPG

FWD

300h 2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

350 F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

The 330e’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 23 miles, about 14 times as far as the ES 300h’s 1.6 mile range.

Transmission

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The 330e’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The ES Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 330e’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

330e

330e opt.

ES Series

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.1 inches

The 330e’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 330e has larger standard tires than the ES Series (225/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).

The 330e’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The 330e’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 330e has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ES Series.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 330e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The ES Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 330e has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The 330e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.3% to 50.7%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the 330e more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 330e’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the ES Series’ (37.2 feet vs. 38 feet).

Chassis

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The 330e is 10.2 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the 330e easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the BMW 330e amounts to more than styling. The 330e has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is lower than the ES Series (.26 to .29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 330e get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The 330e has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 330e’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the ES Series’ useful trunk space.

The 330e’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 330e is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the ES Series. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the ES Series, the 330e has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The 330e’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ES Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Both the 330e and the ES Series offer optional heated front seats. The 330e also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ES Series.

The 330e’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 330e is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because typical repairs cost much less on the 330e than the ES Series, including $199 less for a fuel pump, $311 less for a timing belt/chain and $512 less for a power steering pump.

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