Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE DRIVE -

In con­junc­tion with BMW Mo­tor­sport Gmbh and Alpina, in 1985 BMW SA de­vel­oped an Sa-only per­for­mance flag­ship to ri­val the Euro­pean M3. Back when badges ac­tual rep­re­sented en­gine ca­pac­ity, this E30 model fea­tured a 3,2-litre, in­line-six that pumped out 145 kw. Tested by CAR in 1985, the 333i could reel off the 0-100 km/h sprint in 7,23 sec­onds.

Back when I was a school­boy, the 333i was my au­to­mo­tive Holy Grail and it was with a huge grin on my dial that I slipped be­hind the wheel. With just shy of 200 units made, who knows how many still ex­ist and I hon­estly didn’t think I’d ever get to drive one.

Although the dog-leg first gear in the trans­mis­sion takes some getting used to, it is an easy car to get a feel for, with a lop­ing ride qual­ity that adds to the ease of use.

Short gear­ing gives you im­me­di­ate ac­cess to the 333i’s per­for­mance po­ten­tial and a swell of 285 N.m of torque ar­rives at 4 300 r/min, which makes it feel re­ally quick. The dog-leg gear­box has a beau­ti­ful me­chan­i­cal ac­tion and the steer­ing wheel con­stantly re­lays in­for­ma­tion through the palms. It’s a sen­sory de­light in all as­pects.

BMW 333i

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