Home / Home / BMW 330i Road Test Review – Pure Petrol Pulse


The petrol-powered BMW 330i is a properly refined, more powerful, and potent 3 Series for the performance-seeking petrolhead. We get behind its wheel for a road test…

BMW 330i M Sport

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Purists. What do they want? Unadulterated performance? Sport-luxury with a pronounced emphasis on “sport”? Essence of Bimmer distilled and fed into a spark-ignition motor driving a prop-shaft to the rear axle of a smallish car with a lot of oomph going to the wheels? Precisely. Perhaps.

This is the new G20-generation 330i petrol. The quintessential BMW for many. The car that defines the brand and their sheer driving pleasure mantra. So, what of the new car? We drove the 20d turbo-diesel only last month and, here, now, is the petrol with an identical displacement, an identical peak torque output and a full 68 hp more! More importantly, this is the new BS VI-compliant petrol engine. This enhanced output is presently available here only in the 630i GT and it’s mighty impressive even under that long bonnet.

After testing the 320d, I praised its magnificent steering feel, wider wheel track, impeccable handling, larger proportions yet lighter body, and the unbelievably well-tuned ride quality across all surfaces. This time, I laid off the rough and stuck to the urban jungle.

The day began with dark clouds a heavy shade of grey. Only the BMW 330i’s Mineral Grey paint shade stood out as the darkest shade in the visible grey spectrum. The LED lights pierce the void and the M Sport trim details soon stand out: the kidney-grille in high-gloss black and the 18-inch alloys with mixed rubber, in particular. Entry is keyless, but you need to hit the fob’s unlock button. The “M” door-sills look sharp. Get in and the cabin feels low and driver-oriented; as it well should be. The seating is low and the driver’s seat is accompanied by a scooped-out floor hosting the two pedals. The base of the seat is literally just 14 inches off the ground. It’s sports-car low and just as effective at titillating the racing driver in you.

BMW 330i M Sport

Quality finish is a given and the cabin holds everything anyone would want from a modern sport-luxury saloon. From the all-digital driver information console stretching across what looks like three screens with an almost airplane like wraparound ― two large shapely dials with more info within them, flanking the navigation display on either side ― to the large centre screen and iDrive controller, the thoughtfulness of the use of dials and buttons, placement and overall ergos are commendable and have a distinct focus on the driver. This is evolution. Yes, things have changed, but the essence is still present, along with some serious added luxuries — a sunroof, climate control, Live Cockpit Professional, voice-activated personal assistant, multi-way adjustable seats, Cognac tan upholstery and generous room front and rear. The centre tunnel makes the 330i ideal for 2+2 seating and points to another essential driveline trait.

As is primordial, the BMW 330i is front-engine and rear-drive. Anything else would be preposterous. Just as I began to accept the 30i as a four-cylinder turbo unit and not an engine with a third of its cylinders hacked off, they go on and make a four-cylinder 35i; and with 306 hp and 450 Nm — the same as the 3.0-litre six used to make. While that may annoy purists and enthusiasts alike, there is no denying the evolution of the petrol combustion engine. That said, this one beats its six-cylinder naturally-aspirated “N53B30” relative, far up the family tree, on torque and closes in further on its horsepower peak too. Furthermore, this is the BS-VI ready version, which is basically the same engine as the Euro 6d-TEMP version used in Germany right now. That means it gets the works — the latest high-precision direct injection with the bar raised even higher in terms of pressure, Valvetronic fully variable valve control, and double VANOS variable camshaft timing as well as BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology with a twin-scroll turbocharger providing versatile boost, with advanced emission control to clean up even better. The end result is a peak 258 horsepower at a lowly 5,000 rpm. Fret not, it revs up to 6,500 and maintains the same peak power all the way. The peak torque of 400 Nm is strong and leads to a meaty mid-range. Peaking from 1,550 rpm, or so they say, it stays until 4,400 rpm. That said, stay at anything upwards of 2,500 revs and you’re always in the zone.

BMW 330i M Sport

More on page 2 >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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