Seventh Time's the Charm: Norev 1/18 BMW 330i M-Sport (G20)
In the past year, Norev has upped the ante with tons of great new 1/18s, especially those from the German big three. Although their new Mercedes and Audis are great, they really hit it out of the park with the newest batch of BMW models. Although I was fortunate enough to review the F90 M5, G15 M850i xDrive, and G29 Z4 M40i on LaLD Kinja, I decided to save the G20 330i as my first DriveTribe review. Needless to say, I hope you guys enjoy this.
I found myself in the mood to further deplete my bank account late one night, which led me to look at my saved sellers' new items on eBay. The BMW dealership I bought the F90 and G15 from had literally just listed the G20 and G29 within the past few hours from the moment I saw them, which meant I needed to add them to the collection immediately. Needless to say, I bought both within five minutes of seeing the listings. I did get a great deal at under $70 with free two day shipping on each, which is nice.
When it arrived, I found that once again, Norev went above and beyond the call of duty in making the 330i. It looks sublime for a 1/18 model, especially considering I only paid $68 for it. The side profile looks like someone shoved a real G20 in copy machine and shrunk it down to 1/18 scale. When details of this car leaked earlier this year, I had assumed that they'd use an M340i for the model, but I'm just as happy they decided to use the volume-seller here in the US. There's something special about a normal car made into a 1/18 model. This seventh-generation 3-Series is an excellent platform to materialize that idea.
The detailing throughout the car is truly exquisite, but I do secretly wish they had chosen a non-M-Sport 330i in Blue Ridge Mountain Metallic. Beggars can't be choosers, so here we are. Although some people complain about how Norevs feel and look inferior to AutoArts, we have to keep in mind that this cost me about 1/3 of what an average new AutoArt costs. Is it 66.67% less appealing and well-made? Of course not. This is just as nice to me as my LC 500 and GT3 RS, but for different reasons. Norev is really trying to capture that mid-market between Maisto's inexpensive 1/18 models and the exquisitely detailed AutoArts of the world.
Do I have any criticisms of the model? Sure. No model is perfect. This one, for example, has a sealed trunk just like the M850i and Z4. Does that put me off? Not really. Considering how often you'll open and close the trunk on a single 1/18, I haven't found myself missing it since the day I took delivery of it.
Norev did an excellent job in recreating all the fine details from the closed kidney grille when the car's off to the honeycomb pattern of the lower grilles on the front.
The trade-off of having a sealed trunk? Intricately detailed, unbroken taillights that look just as nice on this model as any of the cars on the showroom floor at my local BMW dealership.
The style 794M wheels are meticulously recreated to look just as nice on this model as they would look on any well-optioned G20. Although it's hard to see, the Estoril Blue M-Sport brakes are faithfully recreated with the M lettering, which is excellent to see.
The B48B20 engine looks as plasticky as ever, which is kind of a compliment in this case. It looks faithful to the original.
The LED headlights are beautifully recreated, but when looking at the grille, I can't help but wish they'd gone full send with an M340i.
Inside, we find that the black interior is accented with blue stitching on the seats and aluminum tetragon trim on the dashboard and center console.
Considering how dark the interior on the Norev D5 A8L looks in all-black, I'm glad the added a splash of color to liven it up. I do, however, wish this had a Cognac interior.
In the back, we find adequate space for the average 2.2 1/18 adults. It's not a G11 7-Series, so don't expect any luxury amenities fit for a Fortune 500 CEO.
The model, overall, looks absolutely exquisite. Norev once again proves to the world that they can make models that punch well above their price range. Although most people would brush this car off as a boring model of a lease special car you'd see littering the streets of your average suburb, I've found myself loving every bit of this thing. Although this is my first 1/18 3-Series, I damn well know it won't be the last.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. You may not like mundane cars as much as I do, but there's a certain charm to them that can only be appreciated in person. For the price, you can't go wrong with this model. I just hope they get around to making it in a different color.