Diesel has always been the default choice when it comes to owning a German car. The power combined with the wallops of torque has always made for a fantastic driving experience. Petrols have generally received the step motherly treatment in our market with only a single variant on offer as opposed to its diesel counterparts. But with the gap between both the fuel prices going down and uncertainty over diesels coming into the picture, buyers are now tilting towards petrols again. Which brings us to the car in this review, the BMW 3 Series 330i M Sport. The current gen 3-Series received an update (LCI) a couple of years ago and later BMW even launched the 320i petrol variant which met with a lukewarm response. But the 330i promises a lot for the enthusiast and it did end up putting a smile on my face. Read on to know more.
BMW 330i M-Sport Exterior
The 3-Series might be the oldest of the lot in its segment but it still looks the part even today. The facelift that it got in 2016 has added character to an already sporty design. The black kidney grille is flanked by LED headlamps along with LED DRLs that merge with the grille. There are sporty front and rear bumpers, side skirts, chrome exhaust tips and the 18 inch M-Sport alloy wheels look fabulous. The rear also features LED tail lamps and the front fenders also get prominent M badges. Our test example came finished in Alpine White exterior paint finish while a Black Sapphire is also available.
BMW 330i M-Sport Interior
The interiors of the 330i are pretty similar to the regular car apart from the M add ons. The three spoke sports steering wheel is meaty and gets superbly finished paddle shifters. The dashboard is slightly tilted towards the driver. Additionally, there are M-Sport door sills and also an HUD display. The silver accents across the dashboard look sporty too. An 8.7 inch screen for the i-Drive infotainment system sits in the centre and has crisp graphics. The instrument cluster remains an analogue unit. An electric sunroof is also standard. As much as the interiors have started to show their age now, quality along with fit and finish is still top notch.
The M-Sport front seats have fantastic support and have good bolstering. They also feature the memory function. The positioning of the seats gives you a feeling of driving a low slung sports car. The rear seats are adequately comfortable but space feels a bit cramped, and is best for two occupants. Standard boot space stands at 480 litres.
BMW 330i M-Sport Engine and Performance
Even though this BMW features the 330i badging, it is powered by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo charged petrol engine that puts out 252 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. The motor is punchy right from the word go. There is no noticeable turbo lag and the car accelerates effortlessly. Performance gets stronger as you build up the revs and mid-range is fantastic as well. 0 to 100 kph comes up in around 6 seconds with a limited top speed of 250 kph. The 8 speed ZF auto box is flawless with super quick shifts. There’s four drive modes as well which alter the characteristics of the power train: ECO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The best part is that the engine revs up to the redline in Sport and Sport+ modes before upshifting, giving a huge kick to the petrol head in you. The motor makes a lovely note too. ECO mode feels best in city driving where the gearbox shifts early and aids in better fuel efficiency. Performance is dull in this mode though.
BMW 330i M-Sport Handling and Safety
The 330i M-Sport comes with a stiff suspension setup. Go over potholes and broken patches of road at low speeds and prominent thuds will be felt inside that cabin. However, things get better as you go faster and the car feels very stable at high speeds too. Handling has always been a BMW virtue and the 330i is no different. It just darts into corners giving you complete control and grip from the low profile tyres is fantastic. Put the power down in an aggressive manner and you will be rewarded with tail out moments from this rear wheel drive sedan. Braking power is top notch as well.
Safety features include six airbags, ABS, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Side Impact Protection and Cornering Brake Control.
BMW 330i M-Sport Verdict
The BMW 320d is the more popular variant of the 3-Series in India. But the 330i M-Sport does come across as a great package. The M kit gives it a very sporty stance and the punchy petrol motor and excellent drivability is enough to keep the enthusiast in you happy. Sure there are some missing features and the model has now started to show its age. But if a high revving self drive petrol sedan with the fun to drive factor is on the top of your wish list, this sports sedan is definitely worth considering.
BMW 330i M-Sport photo gallery: