G20 BMW 330i - Ultimate Daily Driver?
I recently spent the weekend in the new G20 330i and was blown away by the combination of refinement, luxury and excitement it had to offer.
The BMW 3 series is famed for being that executive saloon car which is not only good to look at, but also a proper driver's car. The G20 3 series is no exception. Now as we all know by now, BMW's choice to make their famous kidney grille larger and larger, has raised a number of eyebrows around the world. On the new 3 series, although it is more pronounced, I find that the whole car is extremely pleasing to the eyes. Those aggressive aesthetics certainly give it road presence and there is no question that it is instantly recognisable as that Bavarian legend we all know and love. Visually, I feel that the G20 3 series is not just one of the best looking executive saloon cars, but also one of the best looking BMW's at present.
The model I tested is the BMW 330i M Sport. Back when things were simple, '30i' would of course have meant that this car featured a 3.0L fuel injected straight six petrol engine. However, it appears times have moved on. The 330i features one of BMW's world leading modular engines - the B48. With 2.0L of displacement, 4 cylinders and a twin-scroll single turbo, this thing is no slouch. Power is rated at 258HP and 295 FT-LBs, and with the use of a twin-scroll turbo, lag is virtually non-existent. 0-60mph is quoted at 5.6s and top speed is limited to the good old 155mph. Of course in this application, that engine is paired with the incredible ZF 8 speed automatic gearbox, a truly sentient piece of engineering. This is a drivetrain setup I am very familiar with myself and I must say it works superbly well. The ZF's capability to predict the required gear means that leaving the car in fully automatic mode is a breeze. However find yourself on some better roads and with a quick flick of the beautiful aluminium wheel-mounted paddles, this car transforms into something quite different, and this is why I believe the G20 330i may just be the ultimate daily.
Sit on a motorway at 70mph and you will be as relaxed as you can be in a motor vehicle. Road noise is absolutely negligible and the engine is sat well below 2,000RPM. This thing will munch miles like you wouldn't believe, and once you arrive at your destination you'll feel just as refreshed as when you left. As an enthusiast myself, these characteristics would only accomplish half the job, however. The 330i delivers enough performance to enable you to deviate to a country road and actually really enjoy the drive. The mid-range torque that B48 engine produces is just incredible and you will find yourself firing the car from corner to corner at a truly impressive pace. The suspension feels very capable too - being able to soften itself off for the bumpier British B-Road and yet keep body roll to an absolute minimum. The damping is really quite superior, absorbing even the harshest of bumps and potholes like it's nothing. Of course being without X-Drive, this 330i is rear wheel drive. 258HP is certainly enough to make the back end get lively, yet nothing too 'imbecile' for what is a well sorted luxury car. This is a car that without doubt feels rear driven and offers what I would see as enough driver enjoyment for the average petrolhead to utilise on a daily basis. The steering is sharp and precise, making what is a 1,470KG car extremely easy to both place and predict. What's more is that it really does shrink around you at speed. The agility and handling capabilities of the G20 3 series deceive you into thinking you're driving something much smaller and more performance oriented. Despite the ever tightening constraints that are the EU emissions laws, the 330i still offers a very nice exhaust note. Yes, on the inside this is almost all fakery, but the burble emanating from those twin tail pipes really does let by-standers know this isn't just another 320d with an M Sport pack.
Of course being a BMW, the interior is a very pleasing place for one to be located. The use of materials certainly makes me feel that the £45,000 this car costs, is well spent. The fully digital instrument cluster, latest widescreen infotainment system and use of alloy metals on switch gear make it all feel like a very premium package. The seats are classic BMW, beautifully supportive, pleasing to look at and comfortable on those longer journeys. It's incredible how luxurious car interiors are becoming, and the G20 BMW 3 series really does feel like it's at the cutting edge of it all. You will not be disappointed with how the inside of this car will make you feel.
So what do we think then? Well, I have been truly impressed by the comprehensive package that is the G20 330i M Sport. As a buyer, if you are looking for something that can do a bit of everything but don't want to go all out on a 340i or even an M3 for that matter, the 330i really is your best option. It offers the best of all worlds - hugely practical, comfortable, economical and yet fun to drive. Maybe BMW's old slogan of 'the ultimate driving machine' is making a comeback?
Check out my video review here:
Thanks to Cooper BMW Teesside for making this review possible. If you're in the market for a BMW, make sure to pay them a visit. Please check out their links here: