2022 BMW 330i — still the ultimate

The 2022 BMW 330i continues the long tradition of being a benchmark compact luxury sports sedan it began with its inception.

Just as the VW Golf is the definitive, benchmark hatchback, the BMW 3-series is the small, posh saloon. Hugely popular and hugely good, the 3-series has been around since the mid-70s and isn’t going anywhere soon.”

Those words were used to describe the BMW 3-series in the May 2021 issue of British motoring magazine TopGear. Their words are just some of the many that have heaped universal praise on BMW’s small, sporty executive sedan over its lifetime. It sits in a segment that it created with each iteration constantly challenged, yet it still comes out ahead as the ultimate driving machine.

Others may have more technology, a remarkable feat in itself given how feature packed it is, some may have more comfort or outright performance, but none of the 3-series rivals have all these elements in the correct combination that continues to make the BMW the iconic luxury sports sedan everyone chases.

The inside of the 330i is as luxurious as it filled with the latest modern technology conveniences.

What you have with the 2022 330i is more of the same that makes the 3-series what it is, and that starts with performance. Tap the button to move into SPORT or SPORT+ modes and the 2-litre TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder motor gains a never-ending immediacy from the first prod of the throttle. There’s never an issue unleashing all 258bhp, backed up by a swell of torque equal to 295lb/ft. The eight-speed automatic transmission sharpens up as well, holding on to each gear for longer to access the entire powerband. Drive with authority and it further assists, shifting faster as demanded and providing throttle blips on downshifts. The whole thing operates so seamlessly that manual control feels a step backward, but flipping through the gears the old fashioned way is a pleasure.

All this speed isn’t sterile. Feedback is the keyword for the 330i. Its chassis filling the driver with confidence over any surface. On smooth pavement it is bank vault tight, and devours corners. In more confined spaces and rougher tarmac, the body control keeps the car pinpoint accurate by involving the driver in the process.

The 2022 BMW 330i is never out of place, working just as well in the corporate parking lot as it does on fine spirited weekend drive.

Then with another button press, the 330i can slip back into its other role, like Superman returning to his Clark Kent persona. In COMFORT or ECO PRO the engine dials things back a bit for daily cruising and high fuel economy. The power is always there, just demanding deeper presses of the accelerator. The chassis is compliant for a comfortable ride, yet never as soft to let the driver forget the sporty nature beneath them.

On the tech and luxury front the 330i is on par with the best. The refined cabin with its quality materials expands when the sunroof opens to depart a light airy feel onto passengers. Fully powered comfortable seating awaits the driver as does a chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel. For 2022 analogue is out and BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional sets in place a 12.3-inch digital display. It’s crystal clear like the main iDrive infotainment screen. All the main functions are automated, to be set and forgotten and there are higher level abilities such as Park Assist Plus and Reverse Assistance. They both allow the car to park itself and reverse out of tight spots. If buttons, touching, swiping or using the rotary iDrive controller isn’t enough then the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant adds natural voice commands for the vehicle to do the driver’s bidding.

The remit of the BMW 3-series is not to do everything, but do everything it does right.