Sometimes diesel engines are just phenomenal. You just can’t help but think how far the diesel engine has come over the last 10 years. I remember the first 3series diesel I drove… a 325TDS. It wasn’t bad compared to what was out there; it just wasn’t all that great either. Though, come to think of it, it was probably ahead of the pack, back then too and it was then that I kept an eye on BMW’s diesel models. The E46 330D came along and changed my mind about the oil burners completely. I mean, how could a 150kw BMW be economical and how did they get 150kw out of a tractor?
The latest 330D incarnation is nothing short of a mechanical masterpiece. The Twinpower engine makes an impressive 190kw and 560nm.For those that are not in the loop, that’s 10nm’s more than the current M3. Look, we all love the mighty M, but sometimes a torquey diesel just can’t be beaten as a daily driver and this is where the 330D absolutely shines.
Peak torque is available from a very low 1500rpm and this usually makes for a little bit of rear-end squiggliness, especially if you are eager with the throttle. The effect is amplified even more so, when in a more aggressive mode and as you have guessed it, the 330D is fitted with BMW’s drive mode selector comprising of Eco Plus, Comfort, Sport and Sport-Plus. The 8 speed automatic Steptronic is carried over from the previous model and is still as butter smooth as ever. Sport mode does increase the shifting speeds, almost reminding me of that 1st generation SMG gearbox.
Out on the open road I could easily achieve low 6l/100km figures and even when things got really enthusiastic, never did it surpass that 9l/100km mark. If you combine that sort of economy with a 57l fuel tank, your range can easily be estimated around a realistic 800km. Add this to the already might 0-100kph figures of 5.6s and a limited top speed of 250kph it puts into perspective how good this N57D engine really is. I really cant stop raving about this engine and to top it off, its obviously also carried over into other models in the brand.
By now, most of you should know that there has not been that much change in the 2016 models and the real big changes were that the headlights are now LED’s and that there is more room for the passengers in the rear. This is welcomed because when you are fighting for the top spot in the segment, small things like rear space and boot space (480l) plays a big factor in a potential buyers mind.
Our model on test had been fitted with the optional M-sport kit, which includes different front and rear bumpers, optional alloy wheels and a bespoke interior, with my favourite, the very handsome looking 3 spoke M-sport steering wheel. It also had the superb Harmon Kardon sound fitted as well as navigation and the office suite.
It would be really difficult to choose between the two top models in the lineup. I’m guessing it will come down to if you prefer diesel or petrol. You can’t go wrong with either!
The 330D retails for R625 700 and comes standard with BMW’s 2-year unlimited km warranty. For more info check out bmw.co.za