To call the 330Ci Sport a car is a misnomer. It is more an instrument of driving because you are never in one of these machines, but part of it, a bit like an extension of yourself. So how can this be? My appraisal of the BMW system is that everything is engineered to respond instantaneously to input. Not only this, but to also provide feedback that is intuitive to the driver, i.e. you instinctively know how to respond.
My last car, an Audi 4.2 Quattro Sport, and the 330Ci Sport compare like night and day. The BMW feels like a living thing with the way it communicates to you. The Audi is more computer game – there’s a lot going on in the screen, but nothing really to tell you you’re actually doing it.
In my opinion the 330Ci Sport is a beautiful car. I really like the E46 (latest 3-Series) in any guise, but with the Sport options such as lower suspension, 18” MV wheels & aerodynamic styling II, I think it looks fantastic. It gives as much pleasure to look at as it does to drive, leaving you with a feeling of ownership satisfaction.
The ride comfort is supreme given the M-Sport suspension and 18” wheels. It simply does not crash over poor road surfaces, unlike the Audi that used to make me wince every time.
High speed stability is excellent. Aerodynamic Styling II really does work, as I find the car becomes more stable once you reach 120mph. Incidentally the 330Ci Sport seems to surge after 115mph. So it is faster between 115 & 130 than it is 100 & 115. There aren’t many cars capable of producing this kind of accelerative force well into treble figures. Just remember, under that practical bodywork is a thoroughbred sports car.
Being a bit of an engine fanatic and possibly knowing a thing or two about them, the inline straight-six is a piston-heads’ dream, especially the 3.0-litre. It is smooth, powerful, and produces a sound that has you wanting to drive mid-winter with all the windows down!
The interior is superbly designed and gives you that sense of being ‘wrapped around’, but without restriction. The seats are exceptionally comfortable given their sporty nature. The dash is uncluttered and easy to use, and the silver dial surrounds are a nice touch on this particular model. The other thing about this car is the marvellous through load facility. What more could you ask for?
The 330Ci Sport is a car you will want to hang on to. You will find it difficult to pick faults, if any. It is clear that BMW have thought long and hard about every aspect of this car. I’ve had mine for six months now and nothing appears to be an afterthought. It is truly a well designed package where you feel every component is meant to be. It is also cheap to run since nothing goes wrong, and where else do you find a 3.0-litre engine returning 30mpg? It will last years too. The body is 80% galvanised, the engine is legendary in its reliability and service life, and the suspension is aluminium and uses hydraulic anchor points.
I’ve chopped and changed through several cars in the same number of years and all have been disappointing. Finally I’ve found what I’m looking for in the 330Ci Sport and I would consider myself extremely discerning.