By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: November 15, 2019 at 2:30 am
Back in 1975, BMW’s first 3 Series was touted as the ‘ultimate driving machine’. That DNA has flowed through the veins of successive models ever since.
Winner: BMW 330i
Variant: 330i STD
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo petrol
Transmission: 8-speed auto
ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars
Second place went to the Genesis G70 2.0T and the Volkswagen Arteon R-line placed third.
What sets it apart from the rest
The BMW 3 Series range has featured on Australia’s Best Cars podiums every year since 2011, occupying the top spot on 4 occasions.
The current 330i, launched earlier in 2019, is the seventh generation from the marque and is a product of evolution, with a carry-over 2.0 litre petrol engine and 8-speed automatic transmission, albeit with slightly more power and torque.
The interior has had a complete makeover with a multi-configurable electronic instrument cluster, colour heads-up display and 10.25-inch infotainment display. Leather trimmed seats deliver category-leading levels of comfort and the new design is more spacious, providing additional legroom in the rear.
- Cutting-edge interior and exterior design
- A 2.0 litre 190kW, 400Nm 4 cylinder turbo engine
- BMW’s M Sport package is a standard no-cost option
- A colour heads-up display and 10.25-inch infotainment display
- A near 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution
What it’s like to drive
BMW’s continuing pursuit of 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution continues to pay dividends, and this latest version is just as impressive as its forebears in balance and poise through the bends. The sporty flavour doesn’t compromise ride quality unduly, where the 330i remains at the forefront.
As a long-distance tourer the 330i would make an excellent choice. The 2.0 litre 190kW, 400Nm 4 cylinder turbo engine is more than suited to the task. Performance from the engine is deceiving, where it feels sporty and responsive, but with smoothness and quietness levels normally the domain of more luxurious and expensive models.
The 330i manages to capture a feeling of connection between man and machine, and is a deserving winner once again in 2019.
How the finalists compared (scores for each category from 1-10)
|Medium prestige over $65,000||BMW 330i||Genesis G70 2.0T||Volkswagen Arteon R-line|
|Cost of depreciation ($)||6||8||3|
|Running & repair costs||5||10||3|
|Warranty & dealer access||2||6||7|
|Build & finish quality||7||6||7|
|Smoothness & quietness||8||7||7|
Images: Mark Rogers, Magnum Photography Australia