By Amanda Mfuphi
The new BMW 3 series hit the market a few months ago in South Africa and true to its heritage (with over 15 million units sold since its launch over the past 40 years), the latest iteration promises to be a high selling vehicle for the brand. We attended the launch of the new 3 series in March this year and got to sample both the 330i and 320d. We subsequently got the chance to sample the 330i for a longer period and we found it to continue the 3 series tradition of being able to deliver good driver satisfying performance and being a decent family car effortlessly.
As indicated in our launch article, the new 3 series is slightly bigger than its predecessor in terms of length, width and height however it gets a reduction in weight size ensuring a lighter vehicle that is built for better performance. Our 330i looked the part with the optional equipment including the M Sport package, 19-inch runflat tyres with M Sport brakes and glass sunroof added. The Dravit Grey Metallic colour of our 330i also had character and added to the exterior looks of the car.
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Hello. It’s Friday and we are pushing the new @bmwsouthafrica 330i. Appropriate for the Friday feeling – classy, punchy but not over the top. It’s still a work day. 🙂 The top selling BMW model has been re-engineered to remain a true driver’s car whilst able to diligently perform family duties without complaint. #bmw #bmw3series #3Series #newcar #friday #sedan #performance #topseller #sales #sheerdrivingpleasure #quality #luxury 📸 @salaontop
Other stand out of our test 330i was the larger black grille which complemented the wider front and rear bumpers and redesigned LED headlights with daytime running functionality. Speaking of headlights, I particularly enjoyed seeing the blue BMW Laser-Light light approaching my office’s parking basement. I can imagine seeing those just making any hard day at the office all worth it as you are getting into your 3 series. Finishing the exterior look of the 330i are the redesigned rear L-shaped LED lights which add to the wide profile of the car, double exhaust system and the legendary BMW shark fin antenna.
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Most of us will see this view of the 330i… 😅 The beautifully designed new 3 Series is a delight to look at from any angle. Here at the rear the new L shaped LED lights make quite a statement. The leading 3 Series continues to get better. #bmwsa #bmwsouthafrica #bmw #bmw3Series #3Series #premium #sedan #luxury #performance #speed #agility #premium #style #city #durban #johannesburg #capetown 📸 @salaontop
The increase in size is immediately felt in the interior of the new 330i with its longer wheelbase giving the vehicle a roomier feel with more legroom and shoulder room for the rear passengers. Getting inside our 330i was not short of a luxurious experience with its combination of the redesigned decluttered dashboard and fine-wood trim oak grain and light brown leather finishes. The new touchscreen infotainment screen, instrument cluster and digital cockpit ensure that the dashboard of the new 3 series is not saddled with a lot clutter as most functionalities are accessible on the digital platform removing the need for too many buttons.
Our 330i came in light brown leather seats which had electric seat adjustment functionality for the front seats and M seat belts. Connectivity and entertainment were not an issue in our 330i which was Apple CarPlay enabled and a total of 4 USB ports with 2 upfront and 2 at the back. The back passengers also had their own climate control which was independent of the front passenger and driver. The boot space of the new 3 series is also spacious coming in at 480 litres and it was able to easily fit a baby stroller with some space to spare.
Ereng Friday mood? Today we welcome the new @BMW_SA 330i which we enjoyed driving at launch earlier this year. We were quite impressed by its new imposing look underscored by new lights, bigger grille & wider bumpers. See some details from the launch here: https://t.co/GwXsvtBQKD pic.twitter.com/tqtOC7bQw4
— Khulekani on Wheels (@khuleonwheels) May 31, 2019
On the technology front, our 330i came with various parking assist features such as a 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors to ensure that you are easily able to pilot yourself through any parking situation. The 330i also came with Cruise Control with Brake Function and a live navigation system. Although the latter got most city destinations correctly, it did get us lost on our way to Limpopo and we had to deploy Waze to assist, which was easily connected through the Apple CarPlay in the 330i. I also found the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to be responsive and helpful when asking to take me to the nearest fuel station as I was testing the system.
The 330i is powered by a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 190kW of power and 400Nm of torque. The engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and power delivery was not an issue on any my trips with the 330i, as it would be expected. The new 3 series comes with driving modes being the Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro modes. Most of the trips were done on the Comfort mode as it provided sufficient power delivery for any situation I confronted on the road and it provided a comfortable ride. The Sport mode offers an exhilarating drive with the suspension tightening up and the steering wheel firming up for better handling. The Eco Pro mode offers a lazy drive (but still gives sufficient power delivery) and helps with fuel consumption.
Our @MfuphiA has been spending time with the @BMW_SA 330i. The new 330i continues on the fine tradition of the 3 Series – being able to deliver good driver satisfying performance and being a decent family car. pic.twitter.com/TzPE4Tjc39
— Khulekani on Wheels (@khuleonwheels) June 2, 2019
True to its German engineering heritage, the engine of the 330i remained smooth and refined even when that quick acceleration was required on the road to get out of a sticky situation. Even though the new 330i appears like a relatively big car, I did not feel any body roll cornering even on higher speeds. True to form, the vehicle felt fairly planted on the road. I headed to Limpopo with family over a return distance of approximately 400km and by the time we returned to Pretoria, our fuel consumption was sitting at 7.8L/100km from starting fuel consumption of 10.8L/100km. We also encountered some gravel road driving on our trip to Limpopo and the comfort levels of the 330i remained relatively good.
Taken as a whole I enjoyed spending time with the new 3 series and found it to be a good value proposition for both young single buyers (in the market for luxury sedan) due to its aesthetics and power delivery, and a small sized family for its comfort levels and the decently sized cabin and boot space.
The base price for the new 330i is R649,000 and our test model came in at R881,515.52 with all the optional equipment added into the spec. The price includes a five-year/100,000km maintenance plan and two-year/unlimited mileage warranty.
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