- Interior Design
- Exterior Design
- Fuel Economy
by: Mike Ginsca, MGReviews.com
Arguably, the E46 generation of the 3-series is widely regarded as being one of the best generations of the compact luxury car (in particular the M3). The generations that came after were bigger, heavier, and lost some of the character that the E46 and its predecessor had. Now in its 7th generation, dubbed the G20, the 2019 BMW 330i xDrive brings back what the early generations had; comfort, luxury, & fun.
Two engines are available with the 3-series, a 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 in the 340i or a 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 as equipped in this 330i. The 2.0L engine produces a healthy 255hp and 295 lb-ft of torque at just 1,550 rpms and keeps that peak torque figure to 4,400 rpms. The low and flat torque curve means that this BMW 330i feels like it accelerates faster than what it says on paper. Officially it can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 5 and a half seconds but from behind the steering wheel, it feels faster. Turbo lag is virtually non-existent as the throttle response in Sport mode feels as instantaneous as though it were a naturally aspirated engine. With the Sport mode of course, there is some fake engine noise being pumped through the stereo system. But from the outside, the 4 cylinder engine has some nice tones through the rev range… if you’re close enough to hear it.
Being just recently released, there are no official fuel economy figures at the time of writing this article. But in my week of testing it, I averaged 8.2 L/100km (28.7 mpg) in 50/50 city & highway driving. Not bad for an all-wheel-drive luxury sedan.
Going around corners is what made BMW cars famous and the envy of others. The new G20 generation has brought back the enjoyment of driving around a twisty mountain or canyon road. The steering is precise and unbelievably quick. The front end darts to wherever you turn the wheel like a mosquito. Unfortunately there isn’t much feel through the steering but it stiffens up nicely at higher speeds for better stability and lightens when maneuvering around a parking lot. The steering wheel itself is contoured and is on the thicker side. Some drivers with smaller hands may not like the size but for me, it’s a good size thickness.
This being a sports sedan, the ride is on the firmer side. On smooth roads, it’s barely noticeable but once the roads become cracked or badly potholed, the firmer ride can make things uncomfortable. I’m not saying it’s as bad as a Lotus Elise but the Mercedes-Benz C300 is more comfortable over rough roads.
The design of the cabin is what one would expect from a modern day BMW. It looks like it belongs in the current century without it being too over the top. The instrument cluster is fully digital but it’s not as customizable as Audi’s virtual cockpit which in my opinion defeats the purpose of a full digital display. To the right is the infotainment screen with smartphone-like resolution. It looks stunning. And below it are physical buttons and knobs for the climate and stereo. The trend these days is to move away from piano black and auto manufacturers are trying new materials and patterns. The 2019 BMW 330i has a diamond-like silver pattern on the cup holder cover, center console, and passenger side of the dashboard. I think it’s a great alternative to piano black or the more traditional wood.
Odds and Ends
The 2019 BMW 330i xDrive is well equipped and can be further equipped with a lot of gadgets and gizmos. The more traditional features like navigation, heated seats, heads-up display etc. are all there or can be equipped. But things like Back-up Assistant where the car remembers how you parked and can then back out of a tight spot automatically without any steering input from you is a new feature. Gesture control is also a neat new feature where the car recognizes certain hand gestures to control radio volume or skip track among others. It is also available with something called Extended Traffic Jam Assistant which is just a fancy name for semi-autonomous driving. Basically the system will take over driving at speeds up to 60 km/h without having to have your hands on the steering wheel. Unfortunately this system was not equipped on the demo vehicle.
In recent years the competition has been catching up, and in some cases, surpassing the BMW 3-series as the best luxury sedan. But with the release of the latest generation of 3-series, the benchmark has once again been raised by BMW for all others to try to reach.
Thank you to BMW Canada for providing the vehicle. www.BMW.ca
Read the full article and view more pictures at: MGReviews.com/2019-BMW-330i