BMW G21 330i M Sport Pro Touring Drive Review Update : 30-Something
Singapore - 30 and a bit is a great age to enjoy, because you’re somewhat financially independent and more likely than not, straddling that fine-line between life’s serious commitments and enjoying your disposable income.
It’s hard to explain why petrolheads love the 3 Series Touring – or any other stationwagon / estate variant for that matter – and while we’re enamoured of the epic M3 Touring, it is a stretch price-wise (~S$640k) for regular folks, especially those who want the Touring style, but not necessarily the speed of the M3.
This is where the (~S$380k) 30-something Touring enters the picture, as the 330i Touring with M Sport Pro package lets you enjoy a similar ‘Touring’ style as its big brother, the M3 Touring, albeit at slightly lower performance (and running costs / price, naturally).
However, fret not, because it is no slouch in the performance stakes, with its turbocharged 2.0-litre delivering 245hp, 400Nm and 0-100km/h in 6.1secs.
The punchy performance, which is delivered by way of the snappy 8spd auto, is accompanied by sporty aesthetics, but it’s nevertheless ‘sleeper’ enough to fool the folks who don’t know better.
The M Sport Pro elements include body-kit, M Sport brakes, double-spoke 18-inch M light alloy rims (that sit under the phat arches), blacked-out extended M high-gloss Shadowline trim, as well as the signature BMW kidney grille with double bars in black.
There’s also a big hexagonal air-intake with a honeycomb structure that sits below the kidney grille, which is surrounded by vertical air curtains.
The cabin is familiar territory to current BMW fans, with the two screens (12.3- and 14.9-inch) dominating the proceedings, while the cargo area’s 500l is expandable to 1510l with the 40:20:40 split-fold rear-seats folded down.
In particular, we like how the BMW Touring features the nifty split-opening tailgate, where the upper glass windscreen opens independently of the entire tailgate. It’s great when you’re stashing smaller items and/or don’t have the height to open the tailgate fully.
There’s no denying the 330i Touring um, sports a sporty stance, as it exudes enough street presence to keep petrolheads gawking.
Around Singapore, there’s good grunt from the 30i’s turbo’d 2.0-litre to make brisk progress in traffic and certainly, up to highway cruising speeds.
However, there’re ample reserves from the engine (and space a-plenty for the family’s barang-barang) for when you take it on cross-country jaunts up North to Malaysia and even Thailand – highways optional!
At this level of performance, the rear-wheel drivetrain imparts a good sense of agility and playfulness to the 330i Touring’s repertoire, so the keen driver can keep himself entertained, even without breaking the speed limit.
It also helps that the 330i Touring comes as standard with M Sport suspension and variable steering to keep the committed driver suitably engaged behind the helm.
It’s no fast and furious wolf in sheep’s clothing like the M3 Touring, but the 330i Touring will stand its ground when the going gets winding, because that’s where all good driver’s cars assert themselves… and not the drag-strip as some mistakenly believe.
If I had a think about it, the appeal of the Touring is probably down to the incongruity of its shape, as well as the fact that we prefer something built lower to the ground than the average crossover.
Tourings continue to enjoy a niche appeal, and it’s a camp we’ve erected a permanent building in, because the problem with being the 40-somethings we are (as opposed to bright-eyed 30-somethings), is we’re always grateful for the cargo space to carry our ‘excess baggage’.
PHOTOS David Khoo / Clifford Chow
(Prices correct at time of writing)
BMW 330i Touring M Sport Pro
Engine 1998cc, inline4, turbocharged
Power/rpm 245hp / 4500rpm
Torque/rpm 400Nm / 1600 - 4000rpm
Transmission 8spd auto
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.7l/100km