A MONIKER that BMW stands for ‘BE MY WIFE’ seems not far-fetched.
This all-new G20 3-Series is proof that BMW is still willing to put the best of what it has into the previously-compact sedan line-up.
We tested the latest ‘beemer’ (I was told unrelentlessly) BMW 330i and heard turner it turned out to be.
Things are particularly elegant inside, where you’ll find an abundance of good-quality soft-touch surfaces, shiny but well executed alloy trimmings and the ultra-modern feel that comes with BMW’s latest digital instrument cluster. In terms of overall ambience, it’s a fairly big improvement over its predecessor.
While up to 55kg lighter than its predecessor, the G20 3-Series is a good 16mm wider and 85mm longer, and with an extra 41mm of that extra length having gone into the wheelbase, it is more spacious than before, with rear seat room now bordering on decent.
The funny part was when it was delivered it had to be parked the other ‘round, that astoundingly provoked my Gran to ask shyly- ‘why did they bring this big car?”
We took it to my village in Bokone Bophirima to prope this much improved sports version of the familiar 2-litre turbopetrol, now producing 190kW and 400Nm – which is 5kW and 50Nm more than before. It clocks 250km/h top speed.
Yes, one of the selling points should and will be its interior leather simply known as ‘Vernasca’ Cognac, for the uninitiated, following endless debates and head scratching amongst locals, who were taken aback by its presence. Ahem…
While the BMW enthusiast in you will still long for a silky straight six, the latest four-pot motor is really quite likeable in most respects. Floor the pedal and it leaps through all eight gears smoothly and rapidly, and it should never leave you wanting much in the way of acceleration or overtaking ability. But we had to behave on the roads as one traffic officer simply walked to us with a tongue in cheek “if you don’t’ behave in this beemer le tsena ka tronko” (if you misbehave jail awaits), really?
The 330i dynamic characteristics can be configured together or separately through an Individual mode, which is a good thing because you’ll want all the feeling you can get in the steering. As is the norm in this electric power steering era, you just don’t feel a connection with the road anymore, and even Sport mode does not bring enough fun factor in this regard.
However, despite its increased dimensions, the BMW 3-Series still feels incredibly agile and sure-footed through the bends and, all round, it has the feel-good factor that you get from a car that’s not too big or too small.
The suspension is a little firm (at least in our car’s case, with its optional M Sport package and 19-inch wheel upgrade), but the ride certainly wasn’t uncomfortable. Adaptive M suspension, with adjustable dampers.
The car’s system features the central infotainment system that can be controlled by screen touch, gesture, a traditional iDrive controller or by voice. The latter comes in the form of BMW’s “personal assistant”, which you can ask a range of questions, from destinations to music and car climate control, although it can be a bit of a “hit-and-miss” affair at times.
We could fill a book with all the gadgets available on this car and you need to be warned that a lot of the nice stuff is optional. Safety is of paramount significance, such as Parking Ass Plus. On safety any BMW range comes out top.
Tried to unearth anything untoward, controversial or a stick a mud- as it is our duty to- but failed dismally, apart from a front windscreen chip- thanks to some trucks that have disregard for other road users, especially in the evening- ‘bloody agents’.
It should also be commended for its average fuel, as we only had to top-up after two-days, thanks to its 2-litre engine, 4 cylinder turbo petrol and torque that goes at 400Nm @1550-4400rpm.
The 480 boot capacity meant all my Gran’s stuff from old carpets, wood to linens, curtains all fitted comfortably well, including my Cousins’ better half or ‘makwaphenis’ luggage, kiddies stuff included. Aha.
‘BE MY WIFE’ 3-Series is quiet and refined on the open road, feeling ever more like a luxury car than its sportier predecessors. Ok- who volunteers to be wifey then?
Ever heard of ‘Vernasca’ Cognac– now you know!
In terms of warranty 2-year unlimited km and 5 year
maintenance/100 000 km.
It retails for R699 816
Performance 1-10 (9)
Fuel 1-10 (8)
Image SLM (The all new Vernasca’ Cognac leather interior BMW 330i Sport. Enjoying the glistening sun and dust in the NW. It ticks all the right boxes).