For many years, the BMW 3 Series went mostly unchallenged as the preeminent European sport sedan.But, as we all know, things are much different now.Brands from all over the map have taken BMW’s formula, refined it, and are delivering some incredibly dynamic and capable luxury-oriented sport sedans.And this is the environment into which an all-new 7th generation 3 Series arrives.
It’s hard to think of a car that has meant more to us here at MotorWeek over our 38 years than the 3 Series. It’s up there with the Porsche 911 and the Chevrolet Corvette, as cars that set the standard of their respective categories.
But, this is the start of what will forever be known among Bimmerphiles as the G20 generation.For many, BMW is not getting off to a good start by not even offering a manual transmission.But, the standard 8-speed automatic is pretty fantastic.
This base 330i gets a 2.0-liter I4 turbo with 255-horsepower. The M340i has a turbocharged inline-6 delivering 382-horsepower. xDrive AWD is available for both engines, with an increase in its sporty rear bias.
The new 3 Series is still plenty sophisticated though. Numerous advanced safety, driving, and convenience features you may or may not want are available, including self-parking and Gesture Control. There is also an Intelligent Personal Assistant ready at your beck and call.
We’ve come to expect each new generation 3-Series to grow bigger, but perhaps not as much as this car’s additional 3-inches of overall length. BMW did maintain an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, and there’s about 100-lbs. less heft than before to distribute.
Indeed, the suspension is well-sorted. The car also absorbs rough road impacts and imperfections without batting an eye.
Steering feel has returned too, though we’d still like even more. Under full throttle, the 8-speed auto quickly bangs through gears without disrupting the proceedings in any way.
The interior of the new 3 Series has received quite a makeover and now includes some of the best seat comfort we’ve seen from BMW in years. Much more controversial is the trading of real gauges for a virtual panel.Purists won’t be fans, but it is clear and works well.
For our complete road test of the 2019 BMW 330i, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3843 that begins airing June 28, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.
The 2019 BMW 330i does indeed bring more than a little of that driving joy back, while still being what BMW is all about, moving forward. It a total package that still delivers what fans of the Roundel, including us, desire… better than anything else.