BMW 330 Li M Sport

BMW 330 Li M Sport | First drive impressions

BMW added the 3 Series Gran Limousine to its portfolio last year for those who prioritize being driven around in their ‘3’. And,  we got a chance to be behind the wheel of the top-of-the-line M Sport variant. Read on to learn about our driving impressions

Words by: Harshit Srinivas

Shot by: Sachin Kawankar for Just Urbane

The grin on my face while penning down this review is the same that I had while driving the BMW 330 Li M Sport. Why? You will surely know that by the end of this review for sure! But what I felt while driving this new Gran Limo, is important. And, that is this constant commitment towards upping the game by BMW in all its cars, whether it is performance, comfort, dynamics, or design. Even when we talk about the electrics too. Well, looks may be subjective but the rest are something that everyone prefers to talk about a Bimmer. The BMW 3 Series has been a major contributor to the sales numbers for the BMW brand in India in the year 2021, and the 3 Series Gran Limousine that launched last year might have led to an uptick in these numbers with its extra dose of comfort and colossal space at the rear. But, do you feel that the M Sport variant can help the brand have the same impact as the younger sibling. 

What’s different?
With the M Aerodynamics package fitted over the standard, the M Sport variant looks a bit distinctive. The test car we drove came in the Portimao Blue colour scheme, an exclusive shade available for this variant. Now, at first glance, you do notice something different with the grille. Relax! It’s the same signature kidney grille but finished in gloss black. Yes, it will miss out on that bling, but not completely as it still has the chrome surround to it, which is not in your face at all. The active vents are neatly tucked in here and open up only when you crank the engine. But, what reminds us about this Gran Limousine being the M Sport variant, is the M badging on the grille. The M badges have been smartly sprinkled all over this car, starting from the grille, followed up on the wheels, the fender, the door sills, the steering wheel, and even on the key fob. Plenty enough to remind us that it’s the M Sport Gran Limousine. Right!

Now, as said this has a different look altogether, and what could have validated this statement better than a revamped bumper. The bumper now houses the black honeycomb mesh running across its width. And, when you walk towards the side, you notice slightly bigger and wider wheels. These wheels are low-profile 18-inch wheels, replacing the 17-in wheels that are standard in the other variants of the 3 Series Gran Limousine. But as mentioned earlier these alloy wheels get an M badge and feature a dual-spoke design. Walking towards the rear, nothing much has changed except a redesigned bumper. And, since the cosmetic changes on the exterior are limited to these aforementioned updates, the interior gets a couple of them making the cabin look even sportier.

Step inside, and the first thing you notice is a similar layout as the standard Gran Limousine that is finished in grey and brown. Mind you this is an exclusive color scheme for this particular variant and is offered as standard. Complimenting this color scheme are accents in the pearl chrome. Another noticeable change is the three-spoke steering wheel finished in M-style leather bits. And, exciting you further inside this cabin are the paddle shifters, that are missed out on other Gran Limousine variants. Not, to forget this variant gets door sills with the M badge, something that standard Gran Limos get with BMW lettering. Also, the 12.3-inch infotainment screen gets the BMW gesture control for various designated controls, and since we talk about convenience there is a lot more to the list. The M Sport variant comes equipped with features like a 360-degree surround-view camera displaying the top, panoramic and 3D view. You also get a heads-up display. 

Overall, the changes on the outside and inside are limited to these updates and will appeal to those who want a mixed dose of comfort & performance in a sporty avatar in a car that is renowned for being a driver’s car for quite a long time now.  

How does it drive and perform?
The M Sport variant gets changes limited to cosmetic updates only and nothing has changed on the mechanical front. The M Sport variant retains the same 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, making a peak output of 188bhp and 400Nm. The unit is paired with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, you can even take charge and go through this quick and seamless gearbox using the paddles. Of course, with the fingers and right foot in sync, you have the sheer driving pleasure with the Gran Limo M Sport revving up to the redline quite effortlessly.
Now, since this is the Gran Limousine and prioritizes comfort, the suspension setup does the job well. The bumps and undulations at low speeds are ironed out well, but things are a little different at high speeds. The low-profile tires do give you a moderate feel of those off-beaten paths down in your spine at high speeds. Mind you, don’t think of it as a major concern as these are avoided with some changes to your driving manners. And, then you head out on the highways and see the Beemer cruising effortlessly. No doubt, that the ride is smooth in the Gran Limo but at the same time it is planted too, even around the corners and you know what follows next when you are behind the wheel of something like this. Yes, you push it harder around those bends, and notice negligible body roll to say the least. So, if you are one of those eyeing a sporty sedan to enter the BMW brand, then you know what you should be looking for.

Why should you buy one?
To sum it all up, the 3 Series Gran Limousine was introduced at a sticker price of Rs 54.50 lakh, to cater to the buyers who prioritize being driven rather than driving themselves. With great comfort overall, the cabin of the 3 Series Gran Limousine is a fantastic place to be in. And, when you are one of those who tend to be driven around most of the time, but prefer driving around over the weekends or regularly, the M Sport demands a premium of Rs 2.4 lakh over its base variant to attract you a lot. Needless to say that this isn’t the BMW M car, but with the M aerodynamic package, it will surely appeal to those who like to experience the best of both worlds. It also strikes a perfect balance between comfort, and luxury alongside being sportier to awaken the enthusiast in you, whenever you are behind the wheel.