A Mid Life Crisis, I think so. Brand new the BMW 330ci was listing for around $120k back in 2002. It was around 3k more than its respective brother the Coupe 330ci. That was a fair bit of money back over 10 years ago to be earning but the standard of living was cheaper. It came with everything as standard that most Toyota’s and Mazda’s could ever dream of. From Leather seats, to Sat Nav and a Television. The sound system is at BMW’s best with an 11 Speaker Harmon Kardon Speaker system all around. Boot space is relatively small due to the car being a convertible but none the less it’s still capable of holding golf clubs. The 330ci back in 2002 was the be all end all car, ensuring bang for your buck. The 330ci had everything a car enthusiast could want plus the added bonus of being able to put the roof down.
For a 2002 model the BMW is still a real head-turner, It was designed with gentle curves that come together to blend nicely into the traditional BMW kidney grille. It’s fairly bubbly and still looks modern in today’s world. The 330ci has a world winning In Line 6 engine producing 170kw and a staggering 300nm of torque mounted to the rear wheels. Simply put in 2002 this was a car that was well ahead of its time. Maximum torque for the 330ci is at 3000rpm yet put the car in “D” and it will cruise along the twisty winding roads all the way to Palm Beach. It’s a very forgiving car yet the downside to that along with being a convertible is the car loves to drink fuel. The best i have seen fuel wise is 14L/100KM and that is predominately city driving. The 330ci is mounted to a 5 speed semi-automatic gear box which in today’s world is a dinosaur compared to the likes of Dual clutches and DSG transmissions.
The BMW pulls with ease from the lights and at cruising speeds around 1500rpm the car is extremely quiet, however the rattle from the soft top roof can become a little distracting especially on the freeway. One of the best aspects to the car is the fact that its rear wheel drive, the car handles and drives like nothing I’ve ever driven before. Being a BMW it has one of the best driving positions any driving enthusiast could want. Also being a convertible i can imagine BMW did soften the suspension, yet it still wants to go around corners and be driven like it was meant to whilst quietly absorbing the painful pot holes on Sydney roads.
For safety the 330ci has dynamic stability control system and ABS brakes with brake assist. More importantly it has a rollover protection system that keeps the car stable and will ensure the family are kept safe in the event of an accident. Not to mention front and side airbags all around along with front and rear parking sensors that will help put driving at ease. For rear leg room, well what rear leg room? The 330ci might as well have been a two seater, it is very cramped in the back especially if you have drivers over 6 foot tall. The boot is very small but with the roof up you can close its holding mechanism to give you a bit more storage, however i don’t suggest going to Ikea in this car.
Having done 150,000km the car doesn’t need to be serviced as much, however a normal oil change service and routine check is around $400. It’s a BMW so in my eyes if you can afford to drive a high end German car then you can afford the servicing costs. It’s like owning a Ferrari and complaining about fuel costs. Having covered just on 150,00km the car feels brand new, the seats and leathers are still in showroom condition. The upholstery is sound and all the buttons do work, yet at times the TV system does cut out because it’s still a now of days “ancient” Analogue system. To sum this car up in one word it would be Wow! It crushes the competition the likes of the Mercedes CLK and yet still begs to be driven. However it may be old, heavy and drink fuel like crazy but all those aspects go out the window once you have truly experienced what the 330ci has to offer.