The new 3 Series BMW is the 7th generation of this highly regarded model from BMW.
The new car boasts, the latest in automotive technology, revised engines and a style that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. With a host of option packs a buyer can pretty much build a car to his or her own specification.
The 3 Series was always the go to choice for the keen driver so has it retained this mantle? I have been road testing the 330i M-Sport to find out.
The new range has 2 petrols and two diesels, and three trim levels, SE, Sport and M-Sport.
So has it got any street cred?
The new car is bigger, lighter (by some 50kg) and more aerodynamic, which is in itself a testament to BMW engineers. The side profile is familiar but the front now has a more aggressive stance and the rear is completely different and very attractive too.
So what's it like inside?
Overall the new interior is a step up from the old, with even better quality materials, more detailing such as aluminium and leather and of course its packed with new technologies.
The instruments are now digitally generated but I must say I do not like the “optional” Live Cockpit instrumentation in this test car with the rev counter that spins in the wrong direction. The large central touch screen boasts (optional) gesture control (you can adjust the volume of the sound system by moving your finger in a circular motion) as well as other gesture control modes and my test car had the optional Head Up Display too.
The sports seats are superb and the cabin is very comfortable for up to four adults.
The boot is on par with rivals in this class. Then there is the connectivity! Via BMW Connect, the car updates you on the latest weather in your area of travel, traffic, news, etc. You can also call the BMW centre and request the nearest restaurant, or petrol station, they then send the details to the sat nav and navigate you automatically to the requested destination. It goes on and on, if you have a smart devises at home such as you lighting you could even turn it on and off via BMW Connect from the car!
So what's under the bonnet?
The 330i is the bigger powered of the two 2.0 litre petrol four cylinder engines on offer. Producing 258 bhp and mated to the excellent 8-speed sequential gearbox its a very refined unit with plenty of get up and go. Its quiet too. In fact at motorway speeds its inaudible! Performance is excellent with great mid range shove from that turbocharged petrol engine.
Over my weeks test it burned just 7.2 litres of petrol per 100km which is very good and costs €280.00 to tax for a year.
Will I enjoy Driving It?
In short yes! The model on test here is sportier M-Sport with an M-Sport differential and its limpet-like grip in corners on even wet roads is quite impressive. There are different drive modes, Comfort, Sport, Sport Individual which allow you set up the adaptive suspension and engine and steering responsiveness to suit your driving mood. In short this really is a true drivers car and I loved every minute behind the wheel.
So what is the verdict?
BMW have done it again! They made an excellent car better. Keeping the good points of the previous model and improving areas that needed it. This car is not a giant leap forward as a basic car, but it did not need to be. The giant leap forward here is in the technologies and driver assist programs. Its a better car all round.
The BMW 330i M-Sport starts at €53,460, my test car with optional packages rolls in at €61,086.