Interested in a BMW 3 Series 30i M SPORT?
    Let us help you take the next step
    Pros
    • A fairly complete offering
    • Sumptuous interior appointments
    • Now with five-year warranty
    Cons
    • Considerably more expensive now
    • Ride is too firm, even on adaptive dampers
    • M340i xDrive is just a few grand extra
    Specs
    6.5L
    190kW
    149g
    5 Star

    The BMW 3 Series range has been slapped with some sizable pricing adjustments in 2023, and the recipient of the biggest backhander is this one right here, the 330i.

    I was not alone in previously labelling the 330i as the pick of the range – it used to make so much sense in this spec, but with the price now well over $90,000, that label has been called into question.

    Yep, the price of this model went up more than $10,000 as part of the 2023 range change, which also saw adjustments for other variant pricing… including an effective drop for the next model up the range, the enticing six-cylinder M340i xDrive.

    And this particular test vehicle was equipped with a host of optional features that pushed it very, very close to that range-topping (regular) 3 Series.

    How does the BMW 3 Series fare vs its competitors?
    View a detailed breakdown of the BMW 3 Series against similarly sized vehicles.

    How much does the BMW 330i cost?

    The 2023 BMW 330i Sedan is priced from $93,400 before on-road costs, with the Touring wagon asking for $4000 more.

    There’s more detail about the standard equipment below, but you should also know that this car had a chunk of change worth of optional extras, too.

    First was the $4800 Visibility Package, including metallic paint, a sunroof and adaptive LED headlights. Then there was also the $3100 Comfort Package, including steering wheel heating, front seat heating, and a harman/kardon surround sound stereo system. 

    Finally the $500 package including “M high-gloss Shadowline with extended contents”. All told, the before on-road-costs price of this 3 Series totalled $101,800.

    One thing that is worth noting, is the Visibility Package seems like good value when you consider that BMW charges at least $2000 for metallic paint as an option for Black Sapphire (the colour in these images), M Portimao Blue, M Brooklyn Grey, Skyscraper Grey, Melbourne Red and Mineral White.

    You’ll need to fork out $3850 forTanzanite Blue or Dravit Grey, while the only no-cost option is Alpine White solid.

    The 330i is the only variant (other than the M3) to be available with a Touring wagon bodystyle, too, but as noted earlier it’s $4000 more.

    If you’re curious about competitors and what they cost, the obvious ones include the Mercedes-Benz C300 at $93,500, while the Audi A4 45 TFSI quattro S line looks like the bargain of the century in comparison, at $75,700 for the Sedan and $78,200 for the Avant wagon.

    A Genesis G70 with a 3.3-litre twin-turbo six at $75,067 looks pretty attractive (literally and financially), and there’s the gorgeous Shooting Brake wagon version, albeit with a four-cylinder engine, at $78,191. All prices exclude on-road costs.

    2023 BMW 3 Series pricing:

    • BMW 320i: $78,900
    • BMW 330i: $93,400
    • BMW 330i Touring: $97,400
    • BMW 330e: $97,400
    • M340i xDrive: $104,990

    Prices exclude on-road costs

    What is the BMW 330i like on the inside?

    Okay, so it looks like a million bucks inside, let alone a hundred grand.

    The cabin is finished in ‘Vernasca’ leather with cognac decor stitching, while the treatment on the dash is an open-pore oak grain wood. While that might sound like it would be just as much at home in a ‘70s cigar smokers’ den, just check out the images and see if that’s the vibe you get.

    Honestly, it’s a really lovely, high-end feeling cabin, and while the materials are one thing, the metallic trim finishing, the tactility of the controls and the curved twin screen array really make this feel like a classy clash of luxe and tech. 

    The main screen is the centre infotainment display, which offers a choice of touchscreen interactivity for the massive 14.9-inch wide panel, or you can use the lower rotary dial and buttons to jump between the menus.

    And there are a lot of menus. Frankly, I didn’t spend enough time in this car to get to grips with all of its intricacies and idiosyncrasies, but the main functions of the touchscreen were easy enough to get to terms with.

    The fact there is a ‘hard’ button section that stays at the bottom of the screen for your climate controls is a nice touch.

    There are simple ‘buttons’ for temperature adjustment, but I still find it frustrating to have to touch the screen multiple times to adjust the fan controls.

    I guess you could use the voice control system, if you wanted to. Or the gesture controls, if they work for that specific task. As you can probably tell, BMW wants you to interact with the car in as many ways as humanly possible.

    The practicality side of things is decent, with a pair of cup holders that can be closed off and there’s a wireless phone charger shelf as part of that same cubby, plus there’s a large covered centre console bin, and there are bottle holders in the doors.

    Rear seat occupants also have bottle holders in the doors, a pair of cupholders in a flip-down armrest (and ski-port, if needed) but no map pockets on the seatbacks, because they are heavily sculpted M Sport seats.

    That’s a concern for backseat riders, too, as those front seats do eat into the space a lot. For someone my size (182cm/6’0) I felt a bit cramped in the back, and almost like I was stuck, such were the contours of the space.

    The second row is better considered a two-adult space, with a large transmission tunnel significantly hampering foot room for any middle-seat passenger, but if there are only two people (adults or kids) in the back, they’ll be happy with the fact they’ve got directional air-vents, a climate zone all of their own, and two USB-C charge points.

    I fit my daughter’s forward-facing child seat in without hassle, though I did have to shift the passenger seat forward a bit so she wouldn’t kick the seatback.

    If you have a child who is still in a rearward-facing capsule, I’d suggest a test-fitting before you buy, because the front seat occupant space will be impacted by that setup. Of course, it has ISOFIX points in the window seats and three top-tether points as well.

    As for boot space, there is 480 litres of cargo capacity, which is very good for a sedan. It is a big sedan these days, though.

    The 330i and the models above it come with a standard electric boot lid, which seems like overkill to me for a sedan, but the opening is wide which makes loading things in and out very easy. There’s no spare wheel at all, as the 3 Series has run-flat tyres.

    What’s under the bonnet?

    This version of the 3er gets a pumped up version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the model below it.

    The 330i is packing a healthy 190kW (6500rpm) and 400Nm (1550-4400rpm), which is an increase of 40 per cent for power and 33 per cent for torque over the entry level version.

    It runs an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, and is rear-wheel drive. 

    If you’re wondering what it can do for the 0-100 sprint, the claim is a sprightly 5.8 seconds – that’s plenty quick.

    How does the BMW 330i drive?

    The 330i’s big calling card is its engine, which offers terrifically refined and effortless power delivery.

    It’s a really enjoyable engine, and offers more grunt than most people will probably really need. Indeed, it’s one of the ways the 330i feels like it deserves the price-tag it has. 

    That eight-speed auto doesn’t require much thought, either – it seemingly knows what it needs to do in almost every situation, and there are paddle-shifters if you want to take matters into your own hands.

    The suspension features the M adaptive dampers, which you can adjust to offer a sportier or more comfort-focused ride, though I will say that the Comfort mode wasn’t quite as supple as I’d expected it would be.

    The 19-inch wheels are wrapped in slinky 255/40 R19 Pirelli P Zero run-flat tyres, which play their part in making the ride feel a bit sharper than it might otherwise be. 

    Indeed, at times it felt like it was ‘porpoising’ over bumps, a bit like an F1 car, and that was most noticeable at urban speeds on standard-quality back streets.

    Those tyres find their own when you find a stretch of corners, though, and so does the Sport suspension mode, as the 330i handles itself very confidently, with an assertive character and plenty of cornering confidence.

    The steering is weighted nicely, with a predictable amount of weight and nice speed to the way the car reacts to inputs. Thankfully, it’s also pretty easy to park, because it doesn’t get too weighty at lower speeds.

    Just one other consideration – there’s quite a bit of tyre roar evident inside the cabin at higher speeds on coarse-chip roads, so if those surfaces are prevalent in your area, maybe try to drive near home and see if you think it’s suitable.

    What do you get?

    320i highlights:

    • 18-inch M light alloy wheels
    • M High-gloss Shadow Line package
    • M Aerodynamics package
    • M Sport Suspension
    • Variable sport steering
    • LED headlights
    • High-Beam Assistant
    • Electric folding, heated side mirrors
    • Anti-dazzle driver’s side mirror
    • Anti-dazzle rear-view mirror
    • Rain sensor (auto wipers)
    • Active Cruise Control with stop&go
    • Head-up display
    • Driving Assistant
      • Lane departure warning
      • Lane change warning
      • Front collision warning
      • Front brake intervention (AEB)
      • Rear cross traffic alert
      • Rear collision prevention (AEB)
    • Parking Assistant
      • Reversing Assistant
      • Park Distant Control front, rear
      • Lateral Parking Aid
      • Reversing camera
    • BMW Live Cockpit Professional
      • 12.3-inch instrument display
      • 14.9-inch HD touchscreen infotainment display
      • BMW Operating System 8
    • Wireless smartphone charging
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
    • 10-speaker HiFi Loudspeaker system, 205W amplifier
    • BMW TeleServices
    • BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (Hey BMW)*
    • Remote Software Update (OTA)*
    • Connected Package Professional*
      • Remote Services
      • Real-time Traffic Information
    • Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery
    • 1 x USB-A and 1 x USB-C ports in front
    • 2 x USB-C ports in rear
    • 3-zone automatic climate control
    • Sport seats, front
    • Electric front seats incl. driver memory
    • Floor mats
    • Ambient interior lighting
    • Galvanic Embellishers for controls
    • M Interior trim finishers in Aluminium Rhombicle
    • M leather steering wheel
    • 40:20:40 split seats incl. through-loading system

    *3-year subscription

    330i adds:

    • 19-inch M light alloy wheels
    • Adaptive M Suspension
    • M Sport Brakes incl. Blue painted calipers
    • Driving Assistant Professional
      • Cross traffic warning front, rear
      • Steering and Lane Control Assistant
      • Lane keeping assistant
      • Side Collision Warning
      • Crossroads warning
      • Evasion Aid
    • Parking Assistant Plus
      • Active Park Distance Control front, rear (sensors)
      • Reversing Assistant
      • Surround View (360 cameras)
      • Panorama View
      • 3D View
    • Vernasca leather upholstery
    • Auto tailgate
    • Instrument panel in Sensatec leatherette
    • M Sport Seats
    • Lumbar support, front

    I’ll let you judge for yourself whether the $14,500 jump from 320i to 330i is justified.

    Is the BMW 330i safe?

    This generation of 3 Series scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating back in 2019 for 320i, 330i and 330e models, but M340i xDrive remains unrated.

    It scored 97 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 87 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 77 per cent for safety assist.

    Standard safety features include:

    • 8 airbags
    • Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go (up to 210km/h)
    • Driving Assistant
      • Lane departure warning
      • Lane change warning
      • Front collision warning
      • Front brake intervention (AEB)
      • Rear cross traffic alert
      • Rear collision prevention (AEB)
    • Parking Assistant
      • Reversing Assistant
      • Park Distant Control front, rear
      • Lateral Parking Aid
      • Reversing camera

    330i adds:

    • Driving Assistant Professional
      • Cross traffic warning front, rear
      • Steering and Lane Control Assistant
      • Lane keeping assistant
      • Side Collision Warning
      • Crossroads warning
      • Evasion Aid
    • Parking Assistant Plus
      • Active Park Distance Control front, rear (sensors)
      • Reversing Assistant
      • Surround View (360 cameras)
      • Panorama View
      • 3D View

    Now, I’m not saying this has any bearing on safety, because I’m sure BMW has stringent build quality standards worldwide… but did you know the 3 Series is made in Mexico? How about that?

    How much does the BMW 330i cost to run?

    Aussies asked and BMW listened – you now get a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty for any model in the range, which is on par with the majority of luxury brands.

    You also get three years of roadside assistance included at no cost.

    Servicing is on a condition-based basis, so the car tells you when it needs maintenance, but you can buy a five-year/80,000km Basic Service Plan for $2150, which means you’re looking at a pretty reasonable ownership cost, based on a year-by-year average ($430).

    When it comes to fuel consumption, the official combined cycle fuel use figure for the 330i is 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres for the 330i Sedan. That’s identical to the 320i, and a wee bit less than the 330i Touring wagon (6.7L/100km).

    I didn’t quite get that good a consumption figure over my week of driving, with a return of 8.2L/100km after a couple of hundred kays of mixed driving. It requires 95 RON premium unleaded at minimum, and the fuel tank capacity is 59 litres.

    CarExpert’s Take on the BMW 330i

    At this kind of money, I can’t really see the reason you’d choose the 330i if you want a 3 Series Sedan.

    The 320i is notably more affordable yet still offers enough performance for most buyers needs.

    And, if you wanted the serious performance of the M340i xDrive, you could up your finance payments by the cost of a few take-away coffees per week – and why wouldn’t you? 

    It’s still a very impressive luxury sedan, one that’s extremely liveable and likeable. I just don’t think it is as clear a pick as it once was.

    Click the images for the full gallery

    MORE: Everything BMW 3 Series

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    8.1
    Overall Rating

    Cost of Ownership8.4
    Ride Comfort6.8
    Safety9.1
    Fit for Purpose8.4
    Handling Dynamics8.4
    Interior Practicality and Space7.8
    Fuel Efficiency8
    Value for Money7.5
    Performance8.6
    Technology Infotainment8.3
    Pricing
    Tell us about your car
    Share your thoughts and write a review of a car you own or have owned
    Tell us about your car
    Share your thoughts and write a review of a car you own or have owned
    Also on CarExpert
    review
    2024 BMW i4 review
    review
    2024 Tesla Model 3 review