SPENDING time behind the wheel of BMW’s 330i Touring edition is dangerous. It doesn’t take long to sell yourself on all of its merits: practicality, ride, drive train, tech and performance.
This shouldn’t surprise us. After all, we did love the 330i sedan when we drove it – but the Touring edition requires even less justification to yourself. Starting at $73,900 plus on-roads, it is a lot of car.
While it doesn’t look like a big car from the outside thanks to the bold styling and sleek lines, the 330i Touring is surprisingly roomy inside. Leg and headroom in the back seat weren’t an issue for our 6-foot test subject, even with the front seats all the way back.
There is also the benefit of 500-litres of boot space – which puts it in a similar league to Subaru Forester’s 498-litres, and a fraction shy of Honda C-RV’s 522-litres. For a more brand specific comparison, the much larger X3’s spec sheet shows 550-litres.
What sets this car apart from others is its versatility. It has many personalities, depending on the driving setting. From the meek and conservative Eco mode for a quiet, comfortable and frugal drive, to the comfort mode’s happy balance of all the elements.
Put it in sports mode and it becomes the life of the party, opening up nicely to provide a beautiful exhaust note from the TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder. The M-Sport additions give it a good dose of performance for what is essentially designed as a tourer.
No doubt an M340i will be a true performance car and would make for an undeniable family weapon – we just hope an all-wheel drive 6-cylinder version is on BMW’s consideration list.
There is also the clever adaptive setting, which stiffens or softens the M-Sport suspension and changes the engine map to balance the car across the three profiles, depending on your driving habits at the time.
Our mix of driving was weighted more towards the spirited end, and we managed to keep the average fuel consumption under 10.0-litres/100km – even around town.
The new 3 Series features all the tech you would expect from a premium marque such as head-up display, AEB, multi-angle parking cameras, lane departure warning, speed zone detection and adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving aids.
What impressed us was the integration of some of these systems. As you’re on the highway, the new speed limit will be detected and rather than having to manually adjust the set cruising speed, it takes just one push of the set button to confirm the new speed.
The same function can be used with BMW’s speed limiter function – however there is a flaw in this, as it doesn’t hold its speed on downhills, and putting the foot to the floor seems to override the system.
A couple of other interesting features (which we would have loved to have tested but weren’t able to) is BMW’s new app-based key, removing the need for a physical key, and customisable driver profiles.
It appears this goes beyond the usual seating position adjustment and goes as far as remembering climate, radio and host of other individual personalisations, such as dash and lighting settings.
With striking looks, understated performance and the practicality the 330i Touring edition boasts, it’s easy to see why the new 3 Series is having a run of award wins both locally and around the globe.
It’s definitely one of our favourites at the moment – though we’re not sure about that cream interior option.
Really, the only thing we can fault is BMW’s own lack of confidence in the car, with the base offering of a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. BMW does however offer fixed price inclusive servicing for a range of time and distance options.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW 330i Touring, contact your local BMW dealer.