Sprint Review: BMW 330i Sport Line

The other day someone alleged that the automobile and internal combustion had reached their peaks. With the help of this brand-new BMW 330i, I would like to strongly disagree.

What you need to know: The 330i moniker is quite legendary for it harks back to the days when those numbers still promised what was in the tin. 3-Series Bee-Emm, three litres of roaring petrol power divided into a row of six fuel-injected cylinders. A friend of mine bought a 330i in 2005 and, wouldn’t you know it, he’s just upgraded to this new one.

Its engine has two fewer cylinders and a turbocharger to produce – drum roll please – almost identical power and torque figures to ye olde 3L straight six. BMW actually discontinued those (and other naturally-breathing) power units a while ago for the sake of utmost efficiency.

More facts: Progress and efficiency also apply to its host body, this new G20 3-Series sedan. Depending on the chosen model and options, it spoils you with every contemporary safety, luxury and convenience aid. Our Sport Line test car featured goodies like digital instruments, adaptive headlights and a full deck of media/connectivity.

Watch out for: Naturally the price has risen with all that engineering and gizmo progress (never mind inflation) yet a BMW 330i still represents excellent bang-for-your-buck. But more of that later. One thing I personally lament is that the Three-Series has lost its identity. It’s by no means ugly or dull, it just looks too much like a 5-Series from the front; or a Lexus from behind.

Where we went: Work, home, shopping centres, highways, friends, cars and coffee. That’s when a fellow petrol-head asked for a ride, I gave it horns and suddenly realised what a sheep-shaped wolf I had underfoot. Joined with a superb 8-speed automatic gearbox, I never had the need to floor it until then…

But when I did, my Goodness! Despite sounding a little gruffer, this 2L need not fear any comparison with its 3L namesake. BMW claims 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds and our best time was a phenomenal 5.3! This red sedan also stopped from 100km/h in just 2.48 seconds and 35.2 meters.

Why you’ll want one: Properly exciting performance wrapped in a highly refined sedan with easy everyday drivability and fairly good fuel efficiency. BMW claims 6.4, we got around eight. Be wary of costly (and often gimmicky) optional extras and ride-ruining low-profile wheels when ordering your sporty new 330i.


Engine: 2L i-4 Turbo-petrol
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic, RWD
Max. Power: 190kW
Max. Torque: 400Nm
Avg cons.: Approx. 8L/100km (claimed 6.4)
0-100km/h: 5.30 seconds (claimed 5.8)
Top Speed: 250km/h (claimed)
List Price: R676,016  

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