The BMW 330i is the most powerful model in the new 3 Series line-up at launch, but is it worth the extra cash?
BMW’s nomenclature is now well out of sync with the engines you’ll find under their bonnets, so it’s no surprise that this new 2019 BMW 330i model uses a 254bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine.
Still no straight-six here owing to the quest for efficiency – and on that subject this car will return as much as 47.9mpg and emit 134g/km CO2 in M Sport trim as tested.
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However, this is sportiest 3 Series available from launch, and with this seventh-generation model’s renewed focus on driving dynamics, this is the car that showcases what the new 3 Series can do.
With 400Nm of torque spread between 1,550 and 4,400rpm, you don’t always have to rev the 330i, but when you do there’s a nice rasp as you ramp up towards its 5,000rpm power peak. However, it does feel a little flat after this, so you’re best shifting up.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is as good as in the 320d. It’s smooth and switches gears quick enough for the engine performance on offer. The package delivers a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, which is certainly quick enough.
Our test car was fitted with optional 19-inch wheels (noticeable over 18s) and the steering felt marginally better weighted than in the 320d as a result.
Variable Sport steering is also standard, and there’s less of a difference between this adaptive set-up and the regular tune than with previous 3 Series.
The rate of response is easy to get to grips with and it quickly becomes natural tipping into roundabouts. It’s adjusting your line through a faster corner where this set-up feels more settled and better matched to the car than before.
The 330i also gets a locking M Sport differential as an option, which boosts the agility and the 3 Series’ trademark rear-driven feel. You can subtly adjust the car’s line with the throttle and as xDrive isn’t available as with the 320d, this is the purist’s choice.
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