BMW 330i built for speed
The 3 series, dating back to over four decades, has been an iconic model for BMW, and the company is on track to wow the market once more. With a history as rich as this, most persons have their preference for which generation they fell in love with first, and what shows up most often is the E30 (1982–1994) or the fourth generation E46 (1998–2006).
It has developed a set of loyal fans who helped make it BMW’s best-selling model, and their engineers have gone above and beyond to make the current model stand out.
At first glance, the 2851mm wheelbase easily puts it in the category of a compact saloon as it appears to be pushing into 5 series dimensions. This does come with some advantages as rear-seat passengers have more leg room while sitting in the comfortable leather-wrapped seats. There are also rear A/C vents, and with a wider layout than the previous model, passengers will feel less crammed.
From a design perspective, everything seems to be done with the purpose of improving performance. There is also a sprinkle of the past as its hardcore exterior pays some homage to its predecessors, with the customary front grille. Now, there are also movable vents located behind the kidney grille that reduces air resistance when closed to improve aerodynamics.
Another observation is the angular lines leading from the lower grille straight to the intimidating laser headlights. These headlights are considered laser-created lights that fires through a series of mirrors located within the headlamp assembly, This reflects and focuses the light into a lens. All that is to say, it gives better visibility at nights and can illuminate the road up to 600 metres ahead.
There are also functional air vents in the front bumper and a distinctive character line, which runs along the lower half of the car. To complete the look, the model comes with 18” double-spoke rims wrapped in 225mm low-profile tyres, which give it an overall aggressive and sporty appearance.
The rear design sticks with the overall theme, with the ‘L’-shaped red lights that hug the car and the Chrome high-gloss twin-exhaust system at the bottom.
Driving for fun
Sporting the ‘M’ badge on the side fender, this is BMW’s way of saying that this vehicle is built for speed. With that as its premise, the two-litre twin-turbo engine does not disappoint as it is actively ready to accelerate. Even in the tamest driving mode, comfort, the vehicle felt peppy, which was a sure sign that it is a driver’s car. This means that the eight-speed transmission wants to be engaged as the accelerator and precision steering respond to every input.
Given the trust of torque, there’s also a little swing in the rear, which happens unintentionally as it makes use of the 258bhp. BMW also made some remarkable improvements from the previous model as this one has a 50/50 weight distribution and the centre of gravity has been lowered by 10mm. This means that it takes corners perfectly, without any body roll or the driver feeling like he is losing control.
The suspension has an overall sports tuning, however, with adaptive dampers that adjust to the driving mode, there is a ride experience for everyone. In sports mode, the suspension is the firmest and works best on smooth roads.
To make the selection a fluent process, BMW placed all the driver-selection options to one side of the gear lever. There are also the options to engage the rear-wheel drive transmission through the paddle shifters and the tiptronic system. Either way, the engine felt refined as the gear changes are rapid and smooth.
Looking in the dial cluster, there are no analog gauges, and the speedometer is in MPH, not KMPH, which means that you’ll have to do some conversions when reading our speed limit signs. In addition, there is a 5.7-inch driver information display, which shows everything from multimedia data to gas consumption.
Quiet in the cabin
High-quality leather is mostly used throughout the interior to give the vehicle an upscale look with a sporty edge and keeps road noise at a minimum. The first thing that caught my attention was the multifunctional M Sport seats, which comes with adjustable side bolsters to ensure that the driver has a snug fit. They are wrapped in a unique Alcantara and Sensatec combination, with blue contrast stitching, which provides a subtle complement to the already impressive interior.
The centre console is angled slightly towards the driver, and it houses an 8.8-inch touch screen, which is usually rare in German cars. Taking cues from techno giants like Google and Apple, BMW now has an assistant that can be activated by simply saying ‘Hello, BMW.’ This function can be used to execute simple commands like changing the temperature.
Staying with the infotainment system, a 10-speaker stereo comes standard, and the audio quality is great. This can be tweaked through BMW’s iDrive system, which is the hub for accessing the car’s brain. It also works in tandem with the vehicles many sensors used to assist the driver with lane departure, parking, and cruise control, to name a few.
Another nice inclusion is the glass roof with slide and lift function, including an electric sliding inter-roof and anti-trap protection. The integrated wind deflector prevents draughts from developing in the interior and ensures a lower level of wind noise.
It is clear that BMW aimed to make this a fun car to drive as well as tried to find a way to stand out in a market that is replete with noteworthy contenders.
- BMW 330i
- $8,995,000 FD and $7,995,000 Concession.
- Vehicle provided by ATL Autobahn, 38-42 Lady Musgrave Road, Kgn 5.