Click here to print page

BMW 330i: An invigorating driving machine

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 25, 2019

It's a constant cycle. A new 3 series is launched, rivals are launched later, boasting more and calling into question the abilities of the BMW over its production life. Then the new model is launched rendering all previous criticisms irrelevant and raising the bar.

The 2019 BMW 330i represents the seventh generation of an industry icon and the standard bearer in the compact luxury sports sedan segment -- a segment it invented and continues to lead.

The world is currently sport utility vehicle crazy, so manufacturers have to put everything on the plate in the other automotive categories. For the 330i, this begins with its appearance. Covered in M Sport accessories the new 3 series is a handsome sedan that turns heads with sharp and muscular body lines. The new LED headlights and grill are modern interpretations of classic BMW design elements.

The interior is much like the outside, modern, angular and covered in high quality-material. Yet it harks back to the days of old, hiding away all the technology. Buttons are few to be found as most of the functions are either now in the iDrive infotainment system or can easily be set to operate automatically and forgotten about.

Lights, wipers, and even parking are automatic. BMW takes it one step further with Reverse Assistant as the 330i records up to the last 50 metres of steering wheel activity, once activated the car will steer that 50 metres backwards, a massive help in getting out of tight spaces.

In ECO-PRO or COMFORT mode, the car goes about its business as premium transportation. There's plenty of space for all passengers and their gear. All can sit back and relax, revelling in the light airy cabin, especially when the sunroof is open, while jamming to the great stereo system in the quiet interior. These all combine to make the BMW 330i a sedate cruiser relieving the driver of anything other than just controlling the vehicle.

For those with petrol in their veins the 330i easily switches from comfortable cruiser to sports sedan with the press of a button. In SPORT or SPORT+ modes the car comes alive like no other in its class. The excellent power seats can be adjusted to race car low for that perfect driving position and race car tight for maximum lateral support.

With a stab of the accelerator the same engine that sips fuel with AUTO STOP/START in an attempt to deliver up to 50 mpg, unleashes its 255bhp with the vigour to satisfy any keen driver. The transmission, smooth in daily traffic, wakes up and gets in on the action, swapping gears, holding rpms, and automatically blipping the throttle on downshifts.

It can be left alone to do its own thing, or engaged manually using the shifters. Completing the driving package is the chassis. Sublimely tuned, it works in all conditions, soaking up the roughness of broken pavement while transmitting feedback to the driver, bank vault stable at triple-digit highway speeds and yet agile enough to offer confidence on narrow curvy country lanes.

It's this very flexibility that defines the 2019 BMW 330i, on one hand it is a refined, premium daily driver delivering all the comfort and tech one could want, and on the other, a wonderful invigorating driving machine.