Is the BMW 3 Series facelift the most fun mid-size sedan? 2023 BMW 330i M Sport driving REVIEW
Yes, SUVs are on the surge but the BMW 3-Series remains one of the core BMW models. A sedan or as estate touring, of course. Here now recently facelifted, we have today, the 330i sedan for you with Thomas on Autogefühl. Let's take a closer look in full HD.
Wait a minute, we have 4K now! Full 4K, full screen, and full-length. Let's go! What an impressive stance the 3-Series has already as the standard model now, especially since the facelifted version where you have this shark nose accentuation right here in the grill. Then, this one is equipped with the M-Sport Package.
That means we have sporty accentuations here. Different graphics in the lower part. And as for the double kidney and also the accentuations in the kidney, you can get different versions. For example, bright frame.
This one here, a black frame you can get in the Extended Shadow Line. And then also what you have here on the inside, here it's all the way black with the Extended Shadow Line but you can also, for example, get them bright inside here. You really have to check the configurator for the individual options. It's a little bit complicated. There are a lot of options, but at least then you can get the ones to your liking. Headlamps have also been upgraded here.
Nice integration and transition from the grill. Here, blue accentuations and also different LED specs are available. The ones you see here are the adaptive LED headlamps. And you can see here, the daytime running lights. When you have the turning indicator activated, the outer part switches to the turning indicator of that daytime running lights. This is a very beautiful integration.
In the rear, turning indicator appears right here underneath this rear signature. This also looks pretty modern. The length's at 4.71 meters or 185 inches. Here, we have 18-inch wheels today in black M Styling. You can get up to 19-inch wheels.
18-inch would be the standard size for the M Sport package. This one also has the M Sport Package Pro with even more sporty accentuations. Here, by the way, you have also the M batch then.
Also the M Sport pack. And you can see here, high gloss black around the windows then. Standard would be a normal black, then you can also get this high gloss black. But you can also go for that classic chrome styling if you prefer that. Let's talk about the suspensions because you get a base suspension, then a fixed M Suspension, or the Adaptive M Suspension.
Do you realize? Yes, two of them are actually with this very sporty accentuation, and we'll talk more about that in the driving part today, which is the best choice for you. Also, want a strong rear design here. I think it just looks really awesome in here when you get these optional M Sport Package or Sport Package Pro.
You have even more accentuations. For example, this additional spoiler then with the black contrast. Also in the lower part then here. Diffuser style. And real exhaust tips, so no job for the Autogefühl Fake Exhaust Police here for today.
The taillamps have this three-dimensional shape in a beautiful horizontal integration. 330i It's one of the most common models actually, the 2L four-cylinder. In this case then, with 258 horsepower.
You will see this four-cylinder visualization. And you get four and six-cylinder engines. 2 liter or 3 liter, both petrol and diesel side ranging from 150 to 374 horsepower in the M340i And of course besides that, there's still the M3. This is the car key which also has M Colors here at the side when you have this M Sport pack. And then you just use your one finger to close it, and here also the mirrors fold in. That's I think, always a nice option.
You put your hand on the inside to open it like this. Door closing sound... is okay. Can be better, I think. But yeah, I can definitely live with it.
Oh no, I closed it again. There we go. And let's open it. So the inside of the doors is soft touch here on the top part. That's nice. And also the build quality here at the handles and the window levers, I really love that Matte styling.
Not a lot of high gloss stuff. That's really good. This spec then also here with the M Entry Batch. That looks beautiful. And we also have the M Steering wheel. You can see it here.
There's different form and also as the M Badge right here. A nice option is always the heated steering wheel. Good for winter times. And I appreciate it that we still have real buttons at the steering wheel here for example for the cruise control. More assistance systems are standard with that facelift.
And also the biggest change, look at that. This curved screen. One layout.
There are two individual screens, yes, but it appears it would be one. And it is a new integration, and also the OS8, the new BMW operating system. The seats here, in this case, animal-skin. However, you can also get perforated Sensatec in different colors. Like red as well, but also black or beige.
Depending on the market, but they are in most markets now standard. And the German market for example also receives some fabric seats or fabric Sensatec mix. So it depends on the market how much choice you have, actually. The perforated Sensatec seats are by the way, softer as for the surface and also more breathable because they're perforated. So I do prefer them as for the seating comfort and as for sustainability. The whole circle really, you know, from production process to later on recycling or re-using is better with them.
Now we did a deep dive with that together with BMW engineers and so on, and they also ensure actually the same or even more durability due to long-term testing. Here the seating position, steering wheel up and down, in and out. Very smooth process.
I like that. And the headroom here in the front, 1.89 or 6'2 in height. Still, a lot of headroom left.
There is also a panoramic roof option available if you like. The seat ergonomics however could be a little bit better. I found that the base seat form, for example, is in this segment, better with the Audi A4 and A5 or with the Volvo V60 or the S60. So BMV...BMV?
BMW. Because in Germany, we say 'BMV' So BMW is 'BMV'. There's also a separate episode, by the way, about pronunciation of German car brands. We also have that on our channel. So the base seat ergonomics, not the best in this segment here.
You get along, yes. The 5-Series will also be better. We also have a comparison test, 3-Series vs 5-Series. So yeah, so many other videos here to discover on our channel definitely.
12.3 on the left, 14.9 on the right. Really clean layout.
Nice integration of the ambient lighting right here. The only knob you can still turn is here for the volume. Everything else, uncluttered. So the AC unit is no more here but it is here in the screen.
Okay. Now here, the BMW O8, you see here when you show all the apps, it's just overloaded. The OS7 was easier. You have to focus in a way. I'm missing the Vehicle hotkey right here because I like to be able to access... Here, you're going into 'Vehicle apps' and then 'Live Vehicle' This screen, I like to access a little bit faster actually.
But here what is cool, visualization here in this Melbourne Red exterior color also looks great here on the inside. This is actually an accurate average consumption here for the 2L four-cylinder. And most of the time, you will probably use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto... When you cancel the route guidance, then you get to the car's internal GPS which also has some landmark visualization. That's also nice.
It's also quite responsive indeed. So you get along with the system a little bit better. And the wireless connection is to me, I now feel also a little bit more reliable. As for the sound system, Harman Kardon sound here is really very nice. A very true in-depth sound. Really like that.
And one of the other advantages is when you have here the Apple Maps for example or then Google Maps inside Android Auto, then actually, you can also get this map in the digital instruments which have this function that you can switch the content through here. Assistance systems... here...
and then there it is. This is then the map from the Apple CarPlay. Only works with Apple Maps in Apple CarPlay. Not Google Maps.
Google Maps just works when you have the Android Auto connection. Yeah, it's probably some Apple thing. It's not BMW's fault actually, in this case. Otherwise, you can also have the car's internal GPS right there. And you can also switch the whole layout like this or like this.
But I actually prefer the more, let's say, centralized layout we had initially. But that's of course, just a matter of preference. One of the things I don't like is that we have here the climate unit now in the screen. Yes, it works. It stays in that same place, but I'm not sure.
Am I too old-school to prefer the real dials? And if you by the way go to the Climate Menu here, that's one thing otherwise done with software update here. AC On and Off. That function where you can have the air more or less humid then for like the real cooling in summertime, And BMW listened to our reviews and also customer feedback that they have re-integrated this as a function which it initially didn't have. You can also then control the vent strength for example, and also the seat heating But that is then always done in the screen unless you use the voice control. Hey BMW, activate seat heating.
-Sure, I will activate the seat heating for the driver. -And the head-up display, always great to have. I adjusted the brightness.
But it doesn't flicker on the real eye by the way. And even in here, this information (for) GPS, are actually from the Apple Maps. That's very peculiar. In the lower part, I think it's really cool that you have this surface which is not high gloss black.
So not getting fingerprints or scratches and so on. And below that here, we have adaptive cupholders and inductive charging pads. And it's also cool that you can still control the infotainment system from here especially while driving and also with some hotkeys here like map and stuff. And this is special with the facelift, all now get automatic transmission, 8-speed. And with this very short shifting lever, not the real one. Yes, it looks sleeker and cleaner here.
But for BMW, I would prefer the real thing or what's your take? And this is where you switch through the driving modes. We will talk more about it, actually in-depth when we drive it very soon. And under the armrest, there you have the USB-C charger and some more space. You wanna know about the stickers, by the way? Maximum 240 km/h This is here with these winter tires, it says. Mit diesen Winterreifen.
Listen and repeat, Winterreifen - winter tires in Germany. So these are these stickers that the winter tires are only allowed to drive at a maximum 240 km/h. Yes, very important information for the German autobahn. Yeah, such a German thing, right? 240 kilometers an hour. I even don't drive that fast on the autobahn! The rear head restraints here have a nice functionality.
You can fold them up then. So they're then functional. And here, you can press and fold them back. That way, you have a better visibility again to the rear when you're not using them. Soft touch also for the rear doors. That's actually nice.
Very good build quality. And then yeah, it's quite dark in here in the rear. The only bright accentuations are these contrast stitches from the M Package here. Really nice. So yeah, it's an option once again but it brings some more color in here. And in the middle console, you have two USB chargers here now.
Seating comfort is not the best in the rear, I have to say. A little bit limited here from the shoulder area. The bench itself was actually quite okay, not too long though. And you don't have much legroom when you're a tall person here. So I would need the driver's seat to be a little bit higher.
Then I fit better with my knees in that recess here. Then it's okay. So it works with four tall adults but it's close. Competitors are also not that much better. But still, it doesn't offer much legroom here.
In the middle part, you can also somewhat sit for shorter trips. It's a little bit stiffer from that area. Headroom-wise, with 1.89 meters or 6'2,
I can still put a hand over my head. Yeah, but I slightly touch the ceiling when I put my spine a little more up. Trunk opens right here underneath the BMW logo. 480 liters. If you want to go more and even more accessible, you need the touring version for the estate.
Here, you're limited a little bit here. A meter or 40 inches in length, and also a little bit less than a meter or 40 inches in width but very well usable. The height here, a little bit more than 50 centimeters or 20 inches. So it's a very good sedan trunk. And here, you can unleash the seats and then you can score some 175 centimeters or 68 inches in total length to the front seats. Welcome to Thomas's Driving Lounge.
BMW 330i in autobahn That was a 60 to 120 km/h acceleration. Already pretty nice. What about more? 180 So, good sound actually and really nice driving behavior. 200 km/h - 125mph Wow, it stays so calm and collected here on the German autobahn. Really, really nice.
Yeah, it's almost feels like nothing. Here of course at really high speeds, the wind noise are also picking up. But it's still very well insulated here on the motorway.
Here also, that rather stiff suspension plays a good role to keep me in the balance. Steering feel also in this very version better than I recently felt in the 3-Series. I'm not sure. Some of it might be tire configuration, suspension configuration. Yeah.
So I tend to say that the 3-Series steering is not the most natural in the feeling. It is precise and agile, but maybe lacks a little bit of resistance in the low-degree area. So like here, you know? Also at higher speeds, I would expect a little bit more resistance in these areas here to give me some more stability and feeling for the car. But here, yeah, very well done here at higher speeds. In that Sports mode, the Adaptive M Suspension also goes to a stiffer dampening mode; which is when you're driving about bumps, just too bumpy actually. But here, it's actually very, very nice.
Let's compare that. If we go to the Comfort mode, it also goes back to the comfort setting. And yeah, you can breathe a little bit more. So yeah, you definitely feel it.
There's a huge difference, you know? So this span between comfort setting and sports setting is really large indeed. You have three different dampers available. The base dampers. Then you have the M dampers. Base one is fixed, and then the adaptive M Suspension.
So they also have a sportier setup. But then between comfort and sportiness, there is, you know, a wider span. And yeah, after having driven all of them, I have to say never go for the fixed M suspension. It's just too rough, too stiff.
Doesn't really make sense in my opinion. And here the adaptive M dampers, if you want it sportier, definitely, but still want to have the possibility for a comfortable feeling. But I would rather say, save the money and get the base dampers and don't spec the 3-Series too high because then you end up paying so much money for a mid-sized sedan or estate if you go for the touring version. And that's just not justified if it's so expensive. Also, we're going to talk about the price later on.
And I really want it. The Adaptive M Suspension is really a lot of fun here on the motorway and also when I do some lane changes. Wow. Yeah, it acts similarly from the steering like the Alfa Giulia which also is really aggressive and precise. But again, to my taste, too... Here, not enough resistance.
But then when you get to this area, whew! And like, what the hell is going on? So, yeah. It's still okay and I'm talking about it on the high level definitely, but I'm happier in this case with the steering in the Audi A4 for example. On the A5. And talking about the difference, the 3-Series is the one... hey, most aggressive...
the most aggressive, 'let's attack' and so on, sportiest feeling. The A4, A5 delivers you the best comfort, seating comfort wise and also suspension-wise. And the C-Class, for example, Mercedes has the advantage that it offers the rear-axle steering already in this segment here which is very, very rare. And you can get more dynamic feeling at lower speeds and also have a small turning circle, and parking in and out is easier and so on.
So the three main competitors, they all have their pros and cons definitely. But super interesting definitely. Here, I think the biggest con... 'Con'? is the seating comfort.
It's of course, okay. But I feel in comparison to the competitors, they have not the best seat ergonomics especially for tall drivers. And I feel that the more and the longer I drive. On short trips, it's not the most crucial thing. But when you drive for a longer period of time, it does indeed matter. So you see, we have a German autobahn specially here today.
And interesting are always these transitions between the autobahns. Let's go to the right lane here. Here now in the Comfort mode, the steering... Yeah again, I don't have the best control of the vehicle. It is precise, but doesn't give me the best feedback of what I'm doing on the road actually.
And that should be better for the 3-Series. Still, it feels a lot of fun here also going at the corner. Wow.
Now the Sports mode and when that Sports damper is on, it's so rough when we're going over some bumps. It is fun to drive definitely but really rough. By the way, here's S Shifting mode. Then you hear the RPMs are turned up higher. So this gives us even better acceleration. Now let's do another 80 to... let's see.
140 160 and 180, that's it. Wow. Yeah, that's a really nice sound for a four-cylinder engine.
Of course, working with that sound actuator. But that is done actually in a more natural way. And I'm not sure if you can see it on the camera, but it is so bumpy here in the Sports mode. It is fun but you almost feel like, Hey, I'm on the racetrack in a real sports car, you know? That's in the way, cool if you want that sporty ride. And if you buy this stock BMW 3-Series and think like, Hey, it almost feels like an aftermarket suspension. Yeah, but I think it's not that good for the normal customer, you know? But in the Comfort mode, it's definitely way better.
So here, I can also relax a little bit more on the motorway. Assistance systems, I can put into the assisted driving mode. That is the most elaborate one.
Then also the car is kept in the lane itself. Distance to the car in front of me is being kept as well. Of course, I can always cancel it or override it just by hitting the throttle or hitting the brakes. That's a good thing actually. We have a lot of freeways.
It's a Sunday today when I'm filming this one. That's why it's rather free on in German autobahn and we can drive a lot of high speed here. And you see, this combination is also possible - Comfort driving mode with comfort suspension setting, but S Shifting mode. And then, the RPMs are turned up higher. It's shifting up later and it's shifting down earlier.
This is actually a nice saloon. Yeah. You also see some weird things on the road definitely. So when I set the cruise control with the assisted driving mode here, and the steering, let's see here we have a slight right bend. Is is doing it in a smooth way? Yes, you see here, no sudden or hectic driving movement.
So they upgraded the assistance systems with the facelift here. More assistant systems are also standard. And also the optional ones have been recalibrated, updated, and so on and they work flawlessly.
You also have a blind spot monitor. But since I'm driving quite fast today, I've seen no one overtaking me. So I'm not sure if the blind spot monitor was visible at some point. Now getting off the motorway, which is always a lot of fun and a good test as well for that vehicle. So I'm still in the S Shifting mode.
Now you feel the car shifting down earlier. I have more engine braking. So if I also compare it here to the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4, I feel this one is a little bit more 'nervous' in a way a little more 'hectic' And the question is for you, do you want that? Is it something that you appreciate actually? Or do you rather appreciate a more, you know, drawn back subtle driving experience? So I think it's good that the brands here, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, have their own focus and you can't really say like, Oh, this the best or this the worst. But more like, for which purpose or which preference? I already told in the A4 vs C-Class review, you can also check that out, my important aspects, I would like how's the steering feel and how comfortable are the seats.
That's two things that are very important to me. And these two things would drive me rather a little bit away from the 3-Series, but maybe other things are more important to you like the real sporty feeling for example. Interesting here, I have now this traffic light indicator. It shows me a red traffic light in the instruments. You heard that.
A sound. I waited intentionally to accelerate because then, that sound appears like "Hey, Thomas! Lazy man, traffic light is green now. Start accelerating."
So that is like a traffic light reminder when the traffic light is red and you may be talking to the passenger, you're talking to the viewers, or you're NOT using your smartphone while being in a traffic light. So this is then the reminder of 'start driving' So these new software versions here, they have a lot of advantages as well. I think the digital driving display here and instruments is also very visible. I like that.
Very clear and crisp display. Meanwhile, I got along a little bit better also with the consumption figures on the right side. They are a little bit harder to access it at first. When you learn to use the system a little bit more, it improves. Still the OS7, the older infotainment system software is easier to use.
Yeah, but this one also has the advantages that the wireless connection on the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is a little bit more stable. So pros and cons there definitely. And it of course also looks more modern. Controlling the climate unit while driving, it is somewhat okay because it always stays in this direction.
Yes, probably most of us here like the manual climate unit which is easier to control while driving. But I also talked to, you know, some younger people recently and they told me this is the better solution. I mean, "It's totally old school when you turn on or press something." I'm like, really? Am I too old for this meanwhile? I don't know, yeah.
But I don't know. Is it a thing of generations? Maybe we can comment, you know? You say like, Hey, I'm this age and I really prefer having all things in the screen. Or like, I am this age and I want to turn it. Maybe they're also, say like, Hey, I'm 19.
I just got my first vehicle, my own first vehicle and I prefer to have manual climate knobs. I would be looking forward to that. Or maybe you say, Hey, I'm like 60 and in the screen, it's more modern.
That could be. I don't know. Really waiting for your comments on that. Looking forward, you know, how that is. You know, more countryside or city speeds here.
There, it's where the car feels let's say, 'underused'. So this 3-Series here, especially when you go for the M Sport pack, always tells you 'Let's go!' Let's ride. Drive me sportier. Accelerate more! And that can be a problem with speed cameras indeed. So, this indeed where the C-Class and the A4 give you more relaxation. Once again, the question is what you prefer and what you like best.
But I can really tell that in this segment here, this is a very engaging ride. It's always telling you to keep on driving, drive sportier, keep it further. And yeah, it's also a lot of fun to put it left and right, left and right.
And there is, you know, close by here, a nice road going up the hill. You know it. It's called Autogefuhl's Peak aka... You know, named after Pikes Peak. And from time to time, we drive this hill with really sporty cars.
But I think this vehicle here today even though it's just a 330i, deserves to be put up that hill. And here we are. And if you want to, can you also shift down even quicker? Yes. Left pedal, hold it and then it comes to the M Sprint function.
The Sprint mode for example works when you are in a higher gear and then it shifts down multiple gears. Like here, for example, fifth gear. So it shifts down multiple gears at once. But in this case here, of course, it's better for us when we have the Sport driving mode and the S Shifting mode or shift ourselves manually down left and right. And here now, winding corners.
Yeah, it's so much fun. Here's also the rear-wheel drive. This is the rear-wheel drive only version here of the 330i Gives me a little wheel spin here because sometimes, you know, the road is maybe a little bit moist and also some leaves on the road as well. And this is so much fun to get out of the corners with. Like a limited wheel spin.
We have experienced it in driving the 3-Series vs 5-Series, that comparison, that when the road is even wetter even in the Sports mode, the stability systems here do limit the rear-wheel drive. So you are so much safe. But the cool thing is even if you don't have use ESP sports here, which you can also use, by the way, if you want more spin but not recommended on public roads. Yeah, it just gives you so much fun here when you're in the winding corners here.
Yeah, you even hear that that 'dha dha dha dha' That's beautiful. So much fun to drive the 3-Series up the hill here. This is again, where this vehicle here scores the most points in the driving fun. It can still do it and does so still with that facelift here. Of course, you should tune in to the C-Class vs A4 review.
And if you want it sportier here with a six-cylinder, the M340i of the 3-Series facelift, by the way. Fuel economy here, 8 liters on 100 kilometers. 29 mpg US, 34-35 mpg UK. It's not really much lower than with the six-cylinder. So yeah, maybe check out the 340i then.