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2023 BMW 330i, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car

 

BMW 330i

The BMW 3 Series is a line of compact executive cars manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. It is the successor to the 02 Series and has been produced in seven generations.

The first generation of the 3 Series was only available as a 2-door saloon; however, the model range has since expanded to include a 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible, 2-door coupé, 5-door estate, 5-door liftback (“Gran Turismo”) and 3-door hatchback body styles. Since 2013, the coupé and convertible models have been marketed as the 4 Series; therefore, the 3 Series range no longer includes these body styles.

The 3 Series is BMW’s best-selling model, accounting for around 30% of the BMW brand’s annual total sales (excluding motorbikes), and has won numerous awards throughout its history.

The M version of the 3 series, M3, debuted with the E30 M3 in 1986.

 

2023 BMW 330i First Drive

Gone are the days of the indomitable supremacy of the BMW 3 Series; it simply doesn’t lord over the luxury compact sport sedan segment as it once did. BMW of late has been attempting to bring the 3 back to benchmark status, starting with the introduction of the current G20-generation 3 Series for the 2019 model year.

We found the latest 3-er to be sporty and capable, even if its design was too restrained and its available M Sport suspension setup was punishingly stiff. But do those steps in the right direction continue with the G20 3 Series’ mid-cycle update? We hopped behind the wheel of the newly updated 2023 BMW 330i to see if any progress toward redemption has been made.

What’s New For 2023?

BMW updated the 3 Series’ exterior styling with a simplified headlight look, updated bumpers, an altered grille, and new wheel designs. The cabin receives attention, too, with slimmer vents, fewer physical buttons, and a standard curved glass unit that houses a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 14.9-inch infotainment screen. Otherwise, BMW keeps the 330i pretty much the same as the year prior.

2023 BMW 3 Series 2

Is The 3 Series Great To Drive?

BMW packed a lot of goodies into our test car. Notably, our 330i was outfitted with the M Sport and Dynamic Handling packages, adding performance goodies such as an adaptive suspension, variable sport steering, stickier summer tires, and blue-painted M Sport brakes. The kit also switches up the exterior styling, adopting a gaping maw under the kidney grilles and a restyled rear bumper.

The Bmw 330i packs unexpected charisma for an entry-level model, mainly thanks to its fizzy turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that spits out 255 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque. (The next-level-up 3 Series is the 382-hp, six-cylinder M340i.) In our testing, a 330i with the M Sport package ran from 0-60 mph in a brisk 5.4 seconds, which we expect to remain the same for the updated model.

The gutsy, smooth engine powers the rear wheels through a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s one of the best drivetrain combos currently available in the segment and does a great job of shuttling the 3 Series through traffic or sending it stomping up a mountain road. Great fuel economy is merely icing on the cake; the EPA rates the rear-wheel-drive 330i at 25/34 mpg city/highway.

With all of its M-branded equipment, the 330i also impresses on a curvy road. We’ve tested 3s with the fixed-tune M Sport suspension in the past and found the ride far too stiff for everyday commutes. The M Adaptive electronically adjustable dampers on this car do a far better job of both cosseting occupants on city roads and delivering excellent fast-road body control. Along with its M Sport limited-slip rear differential, the 330i deftly navigates corners with composure.

The steering is light and accurate even in Sport mode, and we preferred this setting given how featherweight and feedback-free the baseline Comfort setting is. Otherwise all of the primary controls have the same satisfying weighting; the brake pedal engages immediately and continues to provide natural feel and plenty of communication through the entirety of its travel, and the gas pedal operates with a similar heft. This is a compelling all-rounder, and continues the 3 Series’ redemption from its less coherently tuned predecessor.

2023 BMW 3 Series 12

 

How’s The New Cabin?

The seats are comfortable and supportive, with good but not too aggressive side bolstering. Even though the now-familiar iDrive control knob remains in its usual position between the front seats, BMW places a stronger emphasis on touch- and voice-activated controls with its new iDrive OS 8 setup.

Fortunately, the 14.9-inch central touchscreen is very responsive, and the speech recognition system accurately picks up most commands and can interpret more abstract queries. Asking a question along the lines of “Can you find me some tacos?” will result in search results for taco shops.

The interior is free of squeaks and rattles and BMW’s use of materials with interesting textures keeps the mostly businesslike environment from feeling too dour. The Sensatec synthetic leather in our test car felt expensive and premium, too. Though the lack of some physical controls is lamentable—especially if you’re coming out of a pre-refresh 3 Series—the screen-heavy new dash is at least clean and handsome.

2023 BMW 3 Series 8

How Much Does It Cost?

BMW asks $43,295 for a base 3 Series and the M Sport package ups that by $3,100. To get the Adaptive M suspension, buyers can purchase it as a standalone option on top of the M Sport package for $550, or as part of the $1,200 Dynamic Handling package.

Buyers who don’t need the extra sportiness probably don’t need to spend the extra money on either option, and will likely be happy with the base suspension setup. Those who desire a more entertaining driving experience, however, shouldn’t hesitate to drop the extra cash for an adaptive suspension-equipped M Sport.

The model we tested also came with the $700 Driving Assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist. One of the 3 Series’ weaknesses is its lack of standard safety features, although it did receive great crash test ratings for the 2022 model year, so it could be a prudent choice to check this box.

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Other options include stunning Portimao Blue Metallic paint ($650), the Premium package ($1,350), remote engine start ($300), and an incredible premium Harman Kardon audio setup ($875). All told, this is a solid compact luxury sedan for the as-tested price of $51,390, and right in line with rivals such as the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Genesis G70.

Not only does this 330i feel much better to drive than a 2019 M Sport model we tested years ago, but it shows that with the right equipment, the current G20-generation 3 Series can be a delightful sport sedan. Along with the latest 2 Series, which shares its bones, the 3 shows BMW still knows how to build proper driver’s cars. Following a few years of lackluster sporting products outside of its M division, BMW’s sport sedan comeback continues.

Looks good! More details?

2023 BMW 330i Specifications
Base Price $43,295-$51,390
Layout Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
Engine 2.0L/258-hp/295-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 8-speed auto
Curb Weight 3,536 lb
Wheelbase 112.2 in
Length x Width x Height 185.9 x 71.9 x 56.8 in
0-60 mph 5.4 sec (MT est)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 25/34/29 mpg
EPA Range, Comb 452 miles
On Sale Now

 

 

2023 BMW 330i Starting at $43,295

  • HIGHS: A trio of powerful, refined powertrains, balanced ride-and-handling, spacious cabin.
  • LOWS: Steering feel is lacking, some optional features are standard on rivals, we yearn for a six-speed manual gearbox.
  • VERDICT: The 3-series is a chameleon with multiple personalities, able to gracefully dance down a curvy road, tip-toe through town, or blaze down an Interstate as if it were an autobahn.

Overview

Few cars are capable of serving the gods of both comfort and sportiness as well as the 2023 BMW 3-series sedan. This perennial favorite can be outfitted as a corner-carving sports sedan or a well-appointed entry-luxury car—or a combination of both.

Its three available turbocharged powertrains deftly walk the line between power and polish. The entry-level 330i and plug-in hybrid 330e offer impressive performance with above average fuel economy, while the turbocharged inline-six in the top-dog M340i packs 382 of the biggest, strongest horses this side of the Bavarian Alps. The 3-series doesn’t have the style of the Alfa Romeo Giulia or the value-packed features list of the Genesis G70, but it’s so well-rounded, athletic, and engaging to drive that it stands at the very top of our segment rankings.

What’s New for 2023?

BMW’s quintessential sports sedan gets a tech-heavy makeover for 2023 that sees updated exterior styling and a dramatic new all-digital dashboard. Keen eyes will notice that this same monolithic display that stretches two-thirds of the 3-series’s dashboard is the same design as what you’ll find in the brand’s flagship 7-series and electric iX SUV. The wall of screens runs BMW’s iDrive 8 interface and includes standard navigation, a voice assistant, and a 5G Wi-FI hotspot.

 

Pricing and Which One to Buy

330i
$43,295
330e
$44,295
330i xDrive
$45,295
330e xDrive
$46,295
M340i
$55,845
M340i xDrive
$57,845

We’d choose the turbocharged four-cylinder 330i for its surprising power and inherently nimble behavior. We would equip our example with the M Sport package that brings additional features, unique styling bits, and a specially tuned suspension.

With it we’d choose the Premium package that includes hands-free passive entry, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, and more. We’d also spring for the Dynamic Handling package that optimizes the sedan’s driving dynamics via adaptive dampers and upgraded brakes—and makes it feel closer to the memorable 3-series sedans of the past.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The 3-series offers two smooth and potent gas-powered engines. The 330i features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and acts like it has even more power than that. The M340i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and a 48-volt hybrid system; total output is 382 ponies and 369 pound-feet. The 330e plug-in hybrid combines a turbo 2.0-liter engine with an electric motor that together generate 288 horses and 310 pound-feet.

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The plug-in powertrain offers a harmonious relationship between the gas and electric elements, and we like the Xtraboost function that provides a burst of power that feels like a small shot of nitrous. Each powertrain pairs with a telepathic and exceptionally smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. You can power all four wheels for a price but no amount of money will get you a manual gearbox.

Buyers can choose between several suspension setups on the 3: the base arrangement, the tauter M Sport tuning, or the Dynamic Handling package with its adaptive dampers. The four-cylinder Bimmer proved its worth by winning a comparison test against other sports sedans. We applauded its ability to transition from relaxed-and-refined to sharp- and-playful. The 330i also secured its spot at the top of its class by thwarting the gorgeous Alfa Romeo Giulia in a two-car comparo.

Our long-term M340i further proves the nameplate’s return to form, with its ripping six-cylinder and remarkable body control.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA estimates the four-cylinder 330i will earn up to 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The more powerful six-cylinder M340i has ratings that top out at 23 mpg city and 32 highway. The rear-drive, plug-in-hybrid variant has a combined estimate of 28 mpg and an all-electric range of 23 miles. Both figures drop by 3 for the all-wheel-drive PHEV.

We tested a rear-drive 330i on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and saw an impressive 42 mpg. Likewise, we conducted the same test with an all-wheel-drive M340i, which earned 33 mpg. For more information about the 3-series’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

 

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Inside, the 3 has a modern design complete with excellent materials and impressive build quality. Nothing feels cheap inside the 3-series, and its controls are well placed. The standard sport seats are well-bolstered and supportive, and they offer extensive adjustment so it’s easy to get comfortable. The car’s extra-cost content includes a detailed head-up display, customizable ambient interior lighting, heated front and rear seats, remote start, and wireless charging.

The 3-series has a big trunk with an available power-operated deck lid. With 17 cubic feet of cargo space, the gas-powered sedan can fit six carry-on suitcases back there and 17 total with the rear row folded. For comparison, the Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan held one fewer suitcase in both tests and the Alfa Romeo Giulia could fit five and 15, respectively. The 330e has less trunk space (13 cubes) because of its battery pack, and we haven’t tested its carry-on capacity.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Combined in a single panel, the 12.3-inch gauge display and 14.9-inch infotainment display float gently a top the 3-series’s dashboard. The high-resolution displays look great and are readable even in direct sunlight. BMW’s iDrive 8 interface is snappy and easy to navigate.

A plethora of features are standard, including in-dash navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot; the optional Premium package adds a head-up display. A wireless smartphone charging pad is available, as is a Harman/Kardon stereo system.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

BMW is skimpy when it comes to standard driver-assistance technology, providing only forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking. Other features are available, though. For example, the Parking Assistance package will practically park the car for you. For more information about the 3-series’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking
  • Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature

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Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

BMW’s limited and powertrain warranties align with those of rivals such as Audi and Mercedes-AMG. It provides longer complimentary maintenance than those two alternatives, but Genesis beats BMW with longer warranty terms.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles

 

2023 BMW 330i

MSRP range: $42,300 – $56,850 Price range reflects Base MSRP for various trim levels, not including options or fees.
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