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2023 BMW 330i Touring Review Singapore - M Sport Pro

The 2023 BMW 330i Touring M Sport Pro is the only other wagon in the lineup other than the M3 Touring. Packing 242bhp and 400Nm of torque in a rear wheel drive setup, the 330i slots in between the base BMW 3 series sedan and the more power M340i sedan. The M Sport Pro package comes with BMW's integrated curve display instrument cluster, M sport bodykit, wheels, brake callipers, and steering wheel.

A Wagon to Stand Out From the Rest

There was a time when the traditional folks in Singapore would shun the idea of owning a wagon. "It looks like a hearse", they would say. I'd like to believe those days are over -sort of. As a car enthusiast, I like wagons, especially if they are quick and sporty. It is therefore heartening to see that in recent times, a few sports wagons have emerged - catering to the preferences of the few. There was the WRX Wagon, the Skoda Octavia Combi RS, the BMW M3 Touring, and now the BMW 330i Touring. Due to rarity of wagons amid a sea of SUVs, the styling of the 330i Touring definitely stands out from the crowd. As to whether the car stands out in a good way or a bad way, it depends on the person you ask - but if you ask me, I think the 330i Touring is an extremely appealing vehicle.

If you're a fan of older BMWs, you'll be glad to know that the 330i Touring escapes the oversized grille treatment found on the 4 series and the M3 Touring. Instead, it gets a regularly sized kidney grille that works well and feels proportionate to the rest of the car. Currently, the 330i Touring is only available in M-Sport Pro trim in Singapore, which means that the car features blacked out trim, including the front grille - ensuring that the 330i still looks properly sporty despite the lack of an oversized grille. Around the car, additional M badging, an M leather steering wheel, M brake callipers, and M sport suspension help to round off a package that looks sporty yet luxurious.

A Better Buy than an M3 Touring

I apologise in advance if the sub-heading is misleading - because there is no substitute for the M3 Touring. It's a brilliant car and there isn't much not to like - except perhaps the fact that it can feel a little too high-strung for day to day driving. Thankfully, that's were the 330i Touring slots in perfectly. Unlike the B58 6 cylinder engine found in the M340i, the 330i Touring runs a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged B48 engine that has been tuned to achieve 242 bhp and 400Nm of torque, propelling the 330i from 0-100km/h in a very respectable 6.1 seconds. In fact, its just a tenth of a second slower than a BMW i4 eDrive35.

Because of this engine setup, the 330i displays excellent balance between performing as a city car in start stop traffic conditions and as a highway cruiser on longer journeys. In town, the car settles down nicely and delivers smooth and brisk inputs of power to get you on your way. Out on open roads, it's a smooth and capable cruiser with a wide torque band and assured road manners. Equipped with M sport suspension, the 330i tackles a corner just as well as the next BMW, and because it's still rear wheel drive only, also feels a little bit more fun and engaging to drive than its all wheel drive siblings. When it all comes down to cost, in Singapore, the 330i Touring is about 60% of the price of the M3 Touring, but it is definitely more than 60% of the car that the M3 Touring is - making it, loosely speaking, a better buy than an M3 Touring.

Impressive Day to Day Versatility

Not often the case, but the mid-spec 330i is in our opinion the gem of the entire 3 series lineup. Easier to drive than an M3, but more practical than the 318i Sedan and the M340i Sedan. It's an unusual situation, as most times, it is either the base car or the top shelf variant that appeals most. The former because of value, and the latter because of performance. In this case however, it can be said that the 330i Touring is like a one-man rock band that is capable of playing almost every role that you need the car the play.

Come to think of it, the fact that the 330i Touring is a wagon means that it has all the practicalities of an X3, without the unnecessary mass of an SUV. More importantly, the 330i would also offer significantly better driving dynamics over an SUV in the same segment. Less body roll in the corners. Less weight. Less wind roar at higher speeds. I could go on - but I think you get the point. Unless you're thinking of going off-roading, a wagon is clearly more desirable than an SUV.

Who Will it Appeal to?

The fact that the 330i has been offered only as a Touring in Singapore is an interesting thing to read into. One might say that the more powerful version of the B48 engine that it carries will be something that caters to the car lovers who appreciate a good and powerful drive as much as they appreciate a wagon - making this a very well thought out variant. You see, unless you're a petrolhead who loves wagons, you're likely to just purchase the 318i Sedan - a very good car in its own right. Its price difference of about $70,000 from the 318i Sedan is also likely going to mean that only those who truly appreciate the concept of a sports wagon will consider it.


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