BMW 330i

Sporty Ger­man sedans com­bine class, cred and will­ing per­for­mance. Craig Duff ad­ju­di­cates

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

Misses out on the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, from adap­tive cruise con­trol to au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, but oth­er­wise well equipped. The war­ranty is three years/100,000km and ser­vic­ing costs run to a bud­get-boost­ing $1240 for five years/80,000km. That’s cheaper than many capped price deals from main­stream brands.

DE­SIGN/TECH

There was noth­ing wrong with the looks so the midlife re­vi­sions are rel­a­tively mi­nor. Front bumper air vents are re­pro­filed and LEDs il­lu­mi­nate the front and rear. Head-up dis­play (an op­tion on the Benz) is al­ways wel­come. The dash has more chrome bling and a sliding cover for the cuphold­ers re­places the in­el­e­gant liftout lid that marred the pre­vi­ous in­te­rior. Soft-touch plas­tics en­hance more sur­faces and leather up­hol­stery is stan­dard.

EN­GINE

An eight-speed auto is stan­dard across the 3 Se­ries range, matched to BMW’s mod­u­lar de­sign en­gines where each cylin­der is 500cc. The 330i shares its 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine with the 320i but it is wicked up to de­liver 185kW/350Nm. Claimed fuel use is a mod­est 5.8L/100km yet the sporty sedan can hit 100km/h from rest in a more than re­spectable 5.8 sec­onds.

SAFETY

The phys­i­cal safety of the 3 Se­ries can’t be ar­gued. ANCAP tested the 320d in 2012 and it scored 36.76/37. The 330i steps that up with blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing, lane de­par­ture alert and light emer­gency brak­ing to min­imise im­pacts at up to 60km/h, backed by six airbags. The 3 Se­ries will also steer it­self into a par­al­lel or right-an­gled park­ing spot.

DRIV­ING

Adap­tive dampers are the de­fault set­ting and un­der­body changes have helped re­store the bal­ance be­tween com­fort and cor­ner­ing. It still isn’t as con­vinc­ing over low-speed lumps and bumps as its ri­val but it is great through the cor­ners. The en­gine is a will­ing col­lab­o­ra­tor in ev­ery­thing from cruis­ing the ’burbs to crank­ing it on the back roads. The eight-speed auto is also a touch smoother on the early up­shifts than the Mercedes seven-speeder.

$69,900

21.5pts

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.