BMW, a name very familiar to anyone, everyone. It is one of the most popular names in the world. It is also one of the biggest car brands from Germany alongside Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Volkswagen. To Malaysians, BMW has a certain place in their hearts. Not because it has some heritage in Malaysia. It is because they are BMW, they are nice cars. Compared to Mercedes-Benz, people always say that BMW caters to a younger crowd anyway with that aggressive looking kidney grilles.
The Kidney Grilles is the hallmark trait of a BMW though and it is not going away anytime soon. Like it or not also, BMWs are proper drivers’s cars. They focus on the driver more than anything else, because at the end of the day, the drivers makes the choices. That is why the BMW 3-series, their most popular model and almost the range that defines what BMW’s whole branding moniker is, are made to be as driver-centric as possible. The 3-series are usually known to be some of the best drivers cars in their class, because they feel like sports cars; bargain sports cars.
There was the BMW 330e last year with some M Sport badges here and there. The headline figures though is the number of horses that lived under than bonnet and its fuel economy thanks to the battery powered motor helping the engine work better. But that platform is getting a little old, a little outdated. So we need a new BMW 3-series, they answered with the BMW 330i M Sport.
So, the new BMW 330i M Sport. The brand new legend, as BMW’s marketing blurb puts it. It packs more power than any of the non-hybrid units before this, it packs 258hp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It has about 400Nm of torques as well that propels the car from standstill to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds. That is less time than me getting myself out of bed every morning. So it has no lack of speed, just like a BMW should be; fast.
The speed is only half the story though. A 3-series has to scream performance but must be practical at the same time. So it is, it has four doors and seats that can fit 4 adults comfortable, technically 5 if you include the middle seat. The seats are plush leather so it is comfortable to rest your bums on them for a long time. There are some nice ambient lighting as well for you to look like some broody secret agent at night. Then there is the dash, oh the dash.
We have to talk a little bit about the dash of the car because there is a new infotainment system for the BMW 330i. It is BMW’s latest iteration of the iDrive system. It is currently in its 7th generation and is miles of an upgrade from the first generation of iDrive systems. It now stretches to the instrument clusters too which looks amazing. It looks more sporty, more hip, more modern compared to the old, analogue dials. Well, digital systems are also more accurate in keeping track with the engine speed anyway. In the middle of the cluster can be any information from your speed to your navigation to keep your eyes looking forward instead of looking at the center dash all the time. There is one thing that we do miss though is the head-up display (HUD) unit.
The BMW Operating System 7.0, as they know it now can be operated via touch and the traditional knob and buttons. Beside that is your gear selector and your sport, comfort, and eco buttons are. There is a traction control on/off button there too but you might not want to touch it especially in wet conditions. The steering wheel is the usual beefy fat wheel with aluminium paddle shifters. To go into manual mode you simply need to flick either paddles, or kick the gear selector to the left when in D. Oh, it has 8 gears now for better fuel economy.
The new BMW 330i also packs plenty of things like Parking Assistant that helps you navigate around tight parking spaces. It even parks in parallel parking spaces so you do not have to be embarrassed for taking 10 minutes to try to park in that type of spot just to give up. You can even unlock the car using your smartphone’s NFC now. Well, you have to specifically use a Samsung’s system for it. That is still pretty cool no?
There is something called the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant; voice control. The idea is to not take your hands off the steering wheel at all and just command the car to do things for you, like: “call home”, or “set the temperature of the car to 20-degrees”. We did not get to test it extensively, but in our experience, voice controls in a car tend to be a little frustrating to work with. Imagine; “BMW, text my wife that I will be home late for dinner”, BMW responds with; “messaging Mother, I am messing around with your daughter for dinner”. Not fun.
The all-new BMW 3-series is now available across the nation though. You can view them in any of BMW’s showrooms. The 330i M Sport comes with Portimao Blue, Black Sapphire, Alpine White, Mineral Grey and Sunset Orange. The interior also comes with some new options; you can go the full black leather trim or go for Cognac Leather Vernasca (Brown) upholstery matched to the Aluminium Tetragon finish. You can get your’s now at MYR328,800.