2020 BMW 330i xDrive Review by John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2020 BMW 330i xDrive
ENGINE: 2.0-liter twin turbo 4
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 255 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm/295 lb.-ft. @ 1,550-4,400 rpm
WHEELBASE: 112.2 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 185.7 x 71.9 x 57.0 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 17.0 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway/41.5 mpg test
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 15.6 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,764 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Buick Regal, Acura TLX, Jaguar XE
STICKER: $58,770 (includes $995 delivery, $15,525 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The BMW 330i is a classic BMW in performance and style, but it is way overpriced.
Sit behind the wheel of a BMW and you expect certain things. First, there’s the twin kidney grille up front. Second, there’s conservatives styling behind the grille. But primarily you expect performance.
The 330i has excellent power from its twin turbo 2.0-liter 4. Sometimes there’s almost too much power. For example, I had trouble keeping my speed down on Interstates. Real cruise control might have helped, rather than speed limit. But you can learn to live with it. The heads up display made it easier to keep tabs on my speed. Also, as long as I stayed with traffic, the tendency to speed wasn’t bad. We drove in EcoPro mode most of the time (as opposed to Normal or Sport), which accounts for the phenomenal highway mileage.
On the other side of the coin, the 330i offers great acceleration when merging. This is always an asset when most of the other vehicles on the road are much bigger.
The engine develops 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque to propel the 3,764-pound 330i.
Ride quality is hard, thanks to a short wheelbase and firm M-style suspension. The benefit here is very good handling. We traveled over some nice winding roads in Virginia that were fun to drive on. If only there wan’t the chance of someone coming the other way. The xDrive all wheel drive system was convenient in rain. If nothing else, it gave me confidence.
There’s good side support to the front seats. After five hours I was thankful for the heat and lumbar support. Rear seats have tight legroom. Also, front and rear entry was a continual challenge as we regularly bumped our heads on the door openings.
I mentioned up front that the 330i is conservatively styled, but there was a $2,000 (total) charge for the Sunset Orange Metallic exterior paint. Nighttime driving revealed light purple highlighting on the dash and doors.
While the BMW 330i is a compact car, it has a very good trunk with a remote opener.
Shift into reverse and there’s a “standard” rear view camera view displayed on the infotainment screen plus a 360-degree “overhead” view that is very convenient when parking. For safety there a blind spot monitor with a large triangular warning light. Rear cross traffic alerts are handy when you‘re driving a compact car.
On the negative side, I don’t like the constant map display in the middle of the instrument panel. It is basically useless as a map and it clutters the normally clean instrument panel. There is no apparent way to shut it off.
Overall, while the performance of the BMW 330i is typically BMW, and the quality of the build is especially good, the exorbitant sticker is not justified for a compact car.
(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate