BMW 3 Series 330i Sedan Luxury Review
The Iconic Drive

clifford chow
22 Nov 2019
 

The seventh generation G20 BMW 3 Series is an important car for the Bavarian company, as it is seen as the heart of the brand.

Recently, Khim Yap tested the M Sport version of the BMW 330, and marvelled at how advanced the car was. This time round, we get our hands on the Luxury trim model.

The seventh generation G20 BMW 3 Series is an important car for the Bavarian company, as it is seen as the heart of the brand. 

While the silhouette is instantly recognisable as a “BMW 3”, the new car is longer by 72mm. And while it is a larger car, it is lighter by 25kg, yet still more rigid than its predecessor. An increased track width by 43mm front and 21mm rear, also contributes to the car’s added stability.

A larger front grille for improved airflow, also utilises slats to regulate how much air is needed. Air curtains are integrated into the outer air intakes, in the form of a horizontal T shape, adds to improved stability and reduced wind buffeting from the front wheels at speed.

Horizontal LED tail lights, darkened out, with its L-shaped fins which extended further outward, gives the rear end an added sense of girth, and a lower stance.

A little detail I personally like, is how BMW has integrated its Hofmeister kink into the C-pillar, and have gone a step further to emphasise this with a frameless edge on the rear quarter glass.

Inside

With the new car, BMW has also included their new BMW Operating System 7.0, which includes a 12.3” digital instrument cluster and a 10.25” Control Display. The system can be operated with BMW’s intuitive iDrive controller, by touch or even by voice, through the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, with the prompt “Hey BMW”. Gesture control, is also available as a cost-option.

In ensuring that your new 3 Series is more accessible to those close to you, they have also included their BMW Digital Key, which allows you to open the doors and even start the car, either with the use of a key card, or through the use of your mobile phone. Connectivity to do this is through the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Currently, only Samsung mobile devices with NFC capabilities can be paired with the system to work. Starting the car is as simple as placing the key card or mobile device into the wireless phone charging dock and hitting the ‘Start’ button.

Six choices of Vernasca Leather upholstery and a selection of wood and aluminium trim allows you to personalise the interior to your liking. Seats are supportive, and legroom for rear passengers is generous. 

The 330i gains points for its generous 480 litre boot. Its rear seats fold in 40:20:40 fashion for added versatility, while an automated boot lid, allows for hands free operation. 

The Drive

Power is supplied by a 2.0 four-cylinder turbocharged unit. In traditional BMW style, the engine is mounted longitudinal fashion, and driving the rear wheels, via a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission. Power is rated at 258 bhp, while its 400Nm of torque (50Nm more than the previous car), which is available as low as 1,500rpm, ensures that this four-cylinder is very responsive.

On full whack, the 330i hits 100km/h in a very impressive 5.8 seconds, and combined fuel consumption at 15.6km/l is a decent price to pay for performance this good.

While the suspension on the ‘Luxury’ trim car is tuned a little more for comfort, it is able to take a series of directional changes in its stride, and there is good enough play allowing passengers to enjoy their journey. Sure the M Sport suspension will benefit those who love a sporty drive, and believe me; while the M Sport variant’s handling is phenomenal, most drivers would not even bring the 330i halfway close to its handling limits.

New to the range is its Reversing Assistant, which allows you to backtrack on the path you took, up to a distance of 50m. Great when you have driven into a dead end on a narrow road, and visibility is an issue… and it is raining heavily… you get the drift.

Other features like the Parking Assistant, which helps park the car for you, makes living with the car even easier.

Our Thoughts

I believe that the Luxury model is truly the sweet spot in the 3 Series range. Being built on already impressive architecture, it handles like a dream, even without the technologically advanced M Sport suspension. 

The 2.0 litre engine, with its improved power and torque delivery, coupled with an overall lighter weight, also means that even as a larger car, it is more agile.

While we can’t wait for the 6-cylinder 340i to hit our shores… which is a different animal altogether; the 330i truly is an impressively engineered machine.

In Summary

We Like

Well engineered, great handling, impressive performance, styling, loaded with kit.

We Don't

Some minor wind noise, BMW Digital Key not fully compatible with other mainstream brands yet.

Verdict

Even with the softer-riding suspension, the G20 BMW delivers well on its handling. The high-powered 2.0 delivers all you really need in the car. You also pay about $10k less than the M Sport variant, for similar frills. We like how well equipped it is, although a car with its extensive list of features does not come cheap.

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1998cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (94.6 x 82)mm
Power 258bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 1550rpm
Power to Weight 167 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 5.8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 15.6 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type FR
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4701 x 1827 x 1435) mm
Wheelbase 2851 mm
Kerb Weight 1545 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 59 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs