I am surprised. This is not the direction that I thought BMW would take with this car. This new 330i is currently the fastest new 3-series on sale, but only because the range is so new. Regardless of what the name suggests, there’s only a two-litre four- cylinder motor in here; there’s a six-cylinder 3-litre M340i on its way this year and, of course another new M3 to come. Which is why I expected the 330i to be a middle of the road kind of machine.
It is anything but. It is a sports car merely wearing the clothes of a four-door saloon.
I miss the sweet howl of the six-cylinder engine, but there’s no doubting the ability of this raw and rorty four to get the job done. But it is the way the car handles that sets it apart from anything that might fancy itself as a rival. This is the best balanced, most deftly damped car of this kind there has been. Larger though it is, this is a car that’s aiming to capture the same sort of audience which raved about the E30 3-series 30 years ago.
But this approach is not without its downsides too, particularly the suspension settings which are challengingly firm on less than the smoothest of roads.
My advice when you test drive it is this: don’t just be seduced by how dynamic and engaging it feels. Think about how easy it will be to live with too. If that and the strange instruments don’t put you off, there’s precious little else here that will
BMW 330i M Sport
Engine 2.0 litres, 4 cylinders, turbo
Power [email protected]
Power to weight 164bhp per tonne
Transmission eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Top speed 155mph
Verdict Sportier that you’d ever think
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