For the past few years, people like me have been moaning that the BMW 3 series hasn't exactly been at its best.
Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad car by any means.
But the three series sold from 2012 through now just didn't drive with the Verve and sparkle we remembered from three series from the 90s and early 2000s BMW listened and claims its fixed a lot of our complaints and says that this 2019 330i is back on track to being the ultimate driving machine.
I think the only way for me to find out if that's the case is to take it for a drive.
And first impressions, it's really fun!
But before we get to that, lets just dispense with the specifications.
The badge on the back says 330i X-Drive.
That means I've got a two liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, eight speed automatic transmission, and all wheel drive.
The engine delivers 255 horsepower and BMW says it'll get this car to 60 in 5.3 seconds which is actually quite quick for being just the base 3 series, don't you think?
So right now I'm driving the car in sport mode, and honestly, it feels great.
Sport mode makes the engine a little louder, it gives me sharper frontal response, and quicker transmission shifts.
And this thing is super responsive when driven like this.
I've got 295 pound feed of torque, so there's always power when I want it, and the shift from the power shifters is really powerful and responsive.
This thing is really pretty quick.
It handles really well on a road like this too.
Part of that of course comes from the fact that the new 3 series is a little bit lighter than its predecessor and BMW says the body is 25 I like the sense.
Stiffer than before.
The suspension also uses a different type of [UNKNOWN] and body motions are really well controlled.
This road has a lot of elevation change, and dips and crest here.
You can set a line through a curve and hold it all the way through.
There's loads of grip.
The last three series, you could feel a little bit disconnected and distance on a road like this but this one is much more involving.
It makes me feel like I'm part of the action.
But the steering is still a little bit of a let-down.
There's just this vagueness on center and it's not specially crisp on turning.
There's a lot of other cars in this class that I think have more fluid sensation when you turn in and change directions quickly and that's perhaps the biggest let down I think in this 3 Series driving on a road like this Overall though, I'll say that this car is really, really involving and very fun.
And frankly, on a road like this, you can go way faster than you'd ever need to.
Back into comfort mode, the way you might drive around most of the time, the engine quiets down, or throttle response slackens up, and this car feels like a real luxury machine.
It's very quiet inside the cabin, even on the highway, wind and road noise are really subdued.
Its hard to tell without driving them back to back, but I'd say this ca is about as quiet as a Mercedes C class, which has always been my standard for quietness in these car segments.
Also noticeable in every driving mode Engines noise, vibration and harshness are all kept under really good control.
You can barely hear it or feel any shuttering through the Cameron when the engine kicks back on after the stop start system is turned on.
You don't get any of the clattering and thrashing noises that you noticed a little bit in the last three series four cylinder and that's really nice Ride quality is what I would call European farm.
By that, I mean it is compliant over bumps, but you do feel every single bump in the road.
Now, part of that, of course, is because this car is an M sport model so it's got slightly more aggressive suspension, 19 inch wheels, so it's not necessarily representative of how every single 3 series will feel.
But you know what?
Even if every 330i did feel like this, I think I'd be okay with it, I think it's a very good ride and handling balance.
It's comfortable enough over broken midwest roads, but the upshot is you get that wonderful handling when the road turns into a squiggle.
There is quite a lot of technology inside this cabin, and we don't have time to look at all of it, be You can find a full written review with more details on it at theroadshow.com.
Just quickly I have a color head up display in front of me.
As well as a huge 12.3 inch color digital instrument cluster right here.
You control most things in the car through this 10.3 inch infotainment system.
We don't have time to give you a full rundown of everything but whether you're changing car settings, playing music, phone calling using the navigation is really really easy to use.
Now if you want a little more details on the BMW drive seven system we've got a separate tech check video showing how this works in a BMW X5 you can find that at the road show com or on our YouTube channel Along with all of the expected safety features, things like surround view cameras and pre-collision braking, this three series has a couple of new driver assistant features.
One of the interesting ones is called back up assistant.
Basically, the car will remember how you steered into a tight parking space, and then when you want to reverse out, the car will help you steer back out.
That could be ideal if you've got a super narrow, but very twisty driveway.
There's also a technology called Active Driving Assistant Pro when you're using the adaptive cruise control on the highway.
That system can help steer the car within its lane.
Now, it's not really an autonomous system.
You can't take your hands off the wheel for instance, but it is nice to help Make those commutes a little bit easier.
Looking around the cabin of this car is a little bit of a mixed bag because although there are a lot of really nice materials and there are a lot of really nice materials.
There is also a lot of plain hard black plastics.
And this is not a cheap car, remember?
And then there is the basic layout of the dashboard, it's pretty much the same dashboard design the 3 series has had for a while.
There's nothing wrong with it.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
But I think that some competitors like Volvo and Mercedes are coming up with more interesting, more modern and frankly, just more attractive interior designs in this class.
It also took me a while to warm up to the way the new three series looks on the outside.
I couldn't quite put my finger on and I think it's very dependent on what color you see this current
This one, for instance, I actually quite like.
It's in sunset orange with black trim and 19 inch wheels.
But I do think that it's perhaps not the best looking 3 series that we've ever had.
The BMW 3 Series is back.
This is not just a new car, it's a new and much improved car.
The 330i starts at $41,000.
And this one, because it's got a lot of options on it, is now $59,000.
Now, I probably wouldn't option my 3 Series quite so expensively.
But for the way that it can be both a fun sports sedan and a really comfortable luxury car, I think it's worth the money.
And I think you're gonna love driving it.