ICONIC and classic, the 3 Series has always been at the forefront of the small luxury sports sedan segment. But now BMW has redesigned and reinvented it to further enhance the driving experience, with the 330i M Sport its current flagship model.
When you first look at the new 3 Series, you instantly recognise that the design is a major leap forward for BMW. It has a fluidity to it which is not only proportionate, but attractively sporty.
There are no offensive features which you may find in some other modern designs, and the whole package works together in a way that harks back to the classic BMW designs of the past.
You would be hard pressed to find someone who thinks BMW haven’t nailed the design this time round. Fitted with the M Sport package, the 330i’s exterior benefits from an M aerodynamics package to add to that look.
This includes larger 19-inch M light alloy wheels, M sport brake and suspension upgrades and some M sport badges and trim tweaks. On the inside, sports seats, an M leather steering wheel, and an M specific display on the instrument cluster are added.
One of the standout features of the new 330i is the BMW 7.0 operating system that pretty much runs the tech within this sporty sedan. It’s easy and intuitive to use, offering features such as BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
It’s a system that can learn and adapt to you and your behaviours to improve your driving experience. It can even educate you about your vehicle and its features, and it’s impressive.
Combine that with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional with navigation, and the driving experience comes to life through a 10.25-inch display which can be operated either by touch or through BMW’s iDrive controller.
The infotainment system is coupled with a digital 12.3-inch instrument display in the dash, which provides an impressive array of menus and information to keep you fully informed on your 330i’s performance.
With a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the 330i comes with parking assistant plus, steering and lane control assist, and active cruise control. BMW have added their own touch though and expanded on many of these systems to offer even greater protection.
Powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 190kW and 400Nm, the 330i has the athleticism to back up its sporting design. When matched to it’s 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, the 330i sprints from 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds.
That’s spritely by any standard. The fact that it returns a claimed 6.4-litres/100km combined fuel average just adds to the impressiveness. On the road, the 2019 BMW 330i M Sport is everything you would expect it to be.
It’s quiet, comfortable and composed. But it’s the whole car that makes it feel special to drive. From the lighting, textures, materials and displays to the ride and handling, and driving performance – it just feels like a complete package.
It gives you a feeling of sophistication that makes you want to keep driving past your destination, take the long way to work, or just go for a drive for the pure pleasure of it. And when was the last time you felt like doing that?
For us, this feeling is something its rivals struggle to match. While it may not be the most luxurious of its competitors, that driving experience sets it apart from the likes of the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
That’s some fierce competition, with battle lines drawn all the way down to drive away pricing, power figures and acceleration. In the Portimao Blue corner, the BMW 330i is priced at $77,105, offers 190kW of power and a 5.8 second 0-100km/h sprint time.
The Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro S-tronic is priced at $77,042 drive away, offers 185kW of power, and sprints to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds. The Mercedes C 300 sedan is priced at $79,421, delivers 190kW and bolts to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds.
Think that’s a coincidence? No. Neither do we. It’s no surprise then to find that these models share similar spec sheets in terms of performance and features, and similar levels of refinement and build quality, leaving only the badges and designs to be different.
And that’s what this comes down to really, badge preference and personal taste, because even the warranties are similar, with all three offering 3-year unlimited kilometre protection for your new car. BMW offers three years roadside assistance too.
Who gets to win the war, we’re not really sure. But BMW’s reinvention of the 3 Series has seen it rise to a new level of refinement. Add in the optional M Sport package and you have a car that looks sporty, with an engine and handling dynamics to back it up.
We loved the 2019 BMW 330i M Sport. The smile it puts on your face is testament to BMW’s tagline, The Ultimate Driving Machine. If you have a passion for cars and driving like we do, the 330i M Sport is for you.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2019 BMW 330i M Sport, contact your local BMW dealer.