All-business: 2019 BMW 330i (G20) M-Sport

2019-09-25 06:01
The 2019 BMW 330i (G20) M-Sport PHOTO: bmw-press

The 2019 BMW 330i (G20) M-Sport PHOTO: bmw-press

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AT SOME time in your life, you may find yourself with a significant other whom you love dearly and with plate-smashing passion. Life would be empty without him or her but you can’t live with them either.

BMW’s 330i M-Sport is something like that; it ignites your soul, satisfies primal urges and makes you feel invincible. But living with it for 60 payments, or even the industry-average 38 months, might be too much to ask.

The M-Sport package, built into a standard 330i at a premium of R45 400, includes M-Sport suspension with firmer springs and more responsive dampers. It’s also lowered by 10 mm, reducing ground clearance from the standard 136 mm to 126 mm.

Other items in the pack include Alcantara-Sensatec combination upholstery in black with contrasting stitching in blue; Anthracite roof lining; BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line; M Aerodynamics package with front apron, side skirts and wheel arch trims in body colour; rear apron with diffuser insert in Dark Shadow metallic; M leather steering wheel; sport seats with electrical adjusters for driver and front passenger; door sill finishers with M designation; M lettering on front side panels and double-spoke, Bi-colour 18” alloy wheels with run-flat tyres. Our test car had optional 19” wheels and combination tyres; 225/40 in front and 255/35 at the back. They add a touch more handling prowess and bragging rights and would set you back a further R15 000.

While on that subject let’s not speculate about punctures, at Baskant-van-Nêrens, on a Saturday afternoon. After the tyre stores have closed. And they wouldn’t have Bridgestone Turanzas in your size anyway. BMW hears you and will give you a spacesaver spare; free and for nothing.

But the new 330i is more than that. It’s slightly bigger than the old one; 76 mm longer, 16 mm wider and 1 mm taller, but there’s more. Its 41 mm longer wheelbase (now 2 851 mm) and increased track widths do wonders for poise and agility. Then they stiffened the body, lowered its centre of gravity, cut up to 55 kg of weight, beefed up the mountings for new lift-related dampers and evened mass distribution to 50:50; all to make the new car more nimble than ever. Then they gave it a touch more thrust; a further five kilowatts and 50 Newton-metres.

It’s all business, pulling Gs like a Stuka* in a power dive and straightening country roads as BMWs always have; only more so. You will become addicted. Provided you can stay cool with very firm sports suspension and low-profile tyres. They’re brilliant for handling but can become tiresome on poorly maintained city streets.

The standard car could be a better fit or you might spring for Adaptive M suspension at R11 400. With variable shock absorber adjustment, it offers choices between “comfortable” and “sporty”.

On a more mundane level, the boot lip is 70 cm high, which is average, and the cavity is 18 cm deep. The space is long, wide, reasonably tall and features a light, four lashing rings and side bins for first aid kit and tyre pump.

Remote releases in the boot lay the seatbacks almost flat. Tall backseat passengers should find headspace satisfactory although knee room and foot space, beneath a partway-lowered driver’s chair, are tight. On the subject of driver’s seat adjustment, this can be cranked down lower than most fairly tall pilots would find comfortable. The expected static safety kit — ISOFix mountings with tethers, three full belts and three adjustable head restraints.

You can spend a fortune on BMW’s options and accessories if you choose to, or you can keep it pure because the list of standard comfort- and safety kit is impressive.

There’s no real need for embellishment but it’s your love affair — plate-smashing passion or long-term contentment — the choice is yours.

*Junkers Ju 87, a WW ll German bomber

THE NUMBERS

Prices: R649 000 standard or R694 400 M-Sport

Power: 190 kW between 5 000 and 6 500 rpm

Torque: 400 Nm between 1 550 and 4 400 rpm

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