Looks? Tick. Sporty performance? Tick. A ride that won’t totally destroy your lumbar spine? Tick. The purchase of my 2017-plated 330i was a big change from the cars I have previously owned (Think WRX/Golf GTI), and being an ageing millennial it was time to change into something a little bit more mature.
With that being said, the BMW 330i M-Sport was my pick with its simple yet aggressive looks, its premium interior and level of technology in its cabin. The gear changes are pretty much undetectable in Comfort mode, and oh boy does she go when you gun it on the on-ramps.
As soon as you hop in, the sweet smell of Dakota leather fills your nostrils, and if that doesn’t make you feel like you’re sitting in a well-built premium sedan, the visually stunning anthracite wood trim will. The attention to detail in the interior is phenomenal – all the way from the addition of interior mood lighting on the doors to the spacing between the individual stitches on my M-Sport steering wheel has been meticulously considered.
It’s obvious BMW got people who believe in simplicity and efficiency to design its iDrive system, as that is exactly how I would describe it. A slick rotating knob and pre-defined buttons for entertainment/radio/GPS etc make switching from GPS to my phone book pretty much seamless, and all this is also integrated to the HUD. I can change music, answer calls and navigate my way around an unfamiliar street without ever literally taking my eyes off the road.
Coming from a former WRX owner, I’m relieved to say that my spine is thankful for my most recent purchase decision. The suspension soaks up the bumps very well, however I do believe the level of road noise that infiltrates the cabin can be improved. The back seats leave plenty of leg room and the boot is pretty much standard for a sedan of this size. Something that doesn’t really seem fair considering BMW has taken out the entire spare wheel in favour of run-flat tyres; I expected more boot room in exchange.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, however, as the base stereo system that comes with my vehicle is sub-par at best, even after playing around with the audio and bass settings. I’m no audiophile, but my music simply sounds worse than it does through my Apple earbuds, and that’s saying something.
Also, the vehicle’s Eco-Plus mode is simply useless in my opinion. ‘Big difference, little change’ is how I would describe it, as it makes your 185kW car feel like it’s only got 90kW, yet the difference in fuel is minimal – perhaps an extra 5km at best.
Being a slightly older millennial now, practicality was on my mind when purchasing the 330i, and it has so far been fantastic. If you leave it on Comfort and take it easy on the throttle (albeit the occasional pedal to the metal moments on the freeway and red-light stops), you can easily get 650km in one tank.
Apart from making me feel slightly older now, the 330i is an absolute pleasure to drive. It’s got the performance, the premium feel, and it definitely has the practicality, however if you really like your music, definitely get the premium Harmon Kardon speaker upgrade ($$$).