The 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine achieves an abundance of power from a small package through a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, plus Valvetronic and double-VANOS variable valve control; resulting in 255 max horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. peak torque within the band of 1550-4400 rpm. All this power allows you to go around switchbacks, backroads, and slight curves regardless of mountain steepness. At the same time, on the straight-away the handling gives a kind of agreeable rhythm to the driving experience.
The 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with automatic Sport and Manual shift modes, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow the driver more direct involvement in the driving process.
The engine performs at its optimum with the assistance of more control technologies, including electronic throttle control, Auto Start-Stop, direct ignition system with knock control, and electronically controlled engine cooling.
EPA fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, for a 30 mpg combined average. My weekly driving consumption was 27 mpg combined.
The 330i handled superbly, whether in heavy freeway traffic or on less excitable country roads. The Enhanced Servotronic power-steering made driving easy while twin-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers added to the comfort of the ride. Road-hugging stability is much enhanced by 5-link rear suspension with cast aluminum upper traverse arms.
The exterior of my test 330i was flavored with a Portimao Blue Metallic paint that is exclusive to the M Sport trim. Chrome line exterior trim and LED headlights provide eye-drawing accents over the exterior paint color.
The 2-way power glass moonroof opens up the boundaries of the cabin for the occupants. Meanwhile, rain-sensing windshield wipers with adjustable speed and automatic headlight control work to keep the windshield clear and the path well lit.
All this beauty rests on 18-inch V-Spoke bi-color orbit grey wheels, wearing non run-flat all-season tires.
Inside, 14-way power front seats with memory system, 40/20/40 split fold-down through-load rear seat, automatic climate control, and HiFi Sound System with AM/FM/HD Radio help establish a quality and relaxing interior environment.
Live Cockpit Plus (A $2,800 addition) replaces the traditional analogue instrument cluster with an intelligent display, which works together with the main infotainment display to provide optimized critical info, such as speed, navigation, and Intelligent Emergency Call. The multi-input iDrive system supports voice commands, touchscreen input, and touchpad input.
You have to be careful when depositing your beverage in the very small cup holders. Every time I attempted to place my beverage, I accidentally hit the touchpad controller. This tends to change the radio station, turn off the navigation, or have “The Voice” telling me I need to reprogram the route. There is simply not enough room between the cup holders and the touchpad controller.
I liked the spirit of the BMW. It handled well and showed great quickness. It does sit low, but after all, that’s part of the 330i sporty personality. You have superb visibility and nimbleness, making it easy to park.
The MSRP for the BMW 330i starts at $40,750. The M Sport model costs an additional $5,200 and brings some go-fast upgrades, such as M Sport suspension and aerodynamic kit.
The test vehicle had an additional $9,992 in options packages. One outstanding packages was the $2,450 Track Handling Package featuring performance items like M Sport Brakes, M Sport Differential, and Adaptive M Suspension. Then there is the $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package containing features like Extended Traffic Jam Assistance and Active Driving Assistance Pro. The $2,350 Premium Package adds active blind spot detection, head-up display, Apple CarPlay support, Park Distance Control, plus many more features to improve your driving experience.
4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
4-year/unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance
12-year/unlimited mileage Rust Perforation Limited Warranty
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or [email protected]