15,543,000. That’s the number of 3 Series that BMW has produced over the past four decades – and now seven generations – of the iconic sports sedan. BMW enthusiasts often argue about which generation is best.
The BMW 3 Series has plastered itself into the minds of car enthusiasts throughout the years. For many the love began with the classic E30 (1982–1994) and since then the evolution of the car has been a spectacle over the years and the love for the model has also grown exponentially across all markets.
The current 3 Series has advanced technological developments fitting perfectly into today’s fast pace life. The BMW 330d recently graced our driveway.
The BMW 3 Series comes with a lot more optional extras such as exterior paint finishes, leather variants and even interior trim strips. The exterior design is a lot sportier than previous models because of the sleek smooth lines and the beautiful big black kidney grille (get your mind out of the gutter). The new BMW 3 series sedan is 76 millimetres longer, 16 millimetres wider and only 1 millimetre taller than the previous model. The increase in agility is attributed to the 41-millimetre longer wheelbase and increased track widths.
The Oxide Grey Metallic paint is a new colour I find quite exciting as it displays a beautiful golden glaze when caressed by the sun. The test vehicle we received pushes a 3.0-litre six cylinder in-line diesel engine while the petrol has a straight-six engine, a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder engine. Even though the first 330d was released 20 years ago, this is the first 3 Series model that can be labelled quick with greater efficiency. The 330d pumps out 195kW of power and speeds up to 100km/h in an incredible 5.0 seconds.
I have read that starting the engine in cooler conditions the 330d has a distinct diesel sound to the engine, however, in sunny South Africa the 330d start up sound is relatively quiet and when cruising on the highway its virtually silent. Well, almost, have a look at our featured video above.
Out on the road the drive experience is rather smooth and is accompanied by sheer comfort whether you’re the driver or a passenger. Setting into the new 3 Series, the first thing that you notice is the lack of analogue gauges. The cockpit is now comprised of two displays, a large screen right in front of the driver and a second in the middle atop the centre console.
BMW has played with the arrangement of the driver’s display, and have unwound the tach(ometer) and speedometer to display them along the edges of the screen, instead of in the traditional circle. This allowed them to display more useful information in the centre of the display. Also, all of the driver controls have been centralised around the gear shifter in a tidier layout.The Harman/Kardon sound system coupled with the Bluetooth Apple CarPlay remains one of my favourite technological features in BMW’s followed by the gesture control which in my experience gets used more by passengers and not the driver.
So far I’m totally smitten with the 330d, and it’s not even the tip of the 3 Series spear. The BMW 3 series petrol engine derivatives are set at a starting entry price of R661 100 whilst a standard 330d can set you back anything from R829 300.
Some have argued that the car is overpriced, however, I feel the price is justified as this vehicle is an all-rounder, whether you’re a young executive with a small family or a more experienced driver spending copious amounts of time on the road. The BMW 330d covers weekly work commutes and doubles up as the family car on weekends seamlessly. The fuel efficiency also makes the 330d my go to for long distance travels. The added comfort and luxury make it the ideal car and the accentuated space of the cabin makes you want to spend a little more time in the car, no complaints.
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