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When the all-new 3 Series launches locally early next year, the 330i will top BMW SA’s G20 line-up. It will be one of two models leading BMW’s compact sedan assault, the other being a 320d.

The 320d will use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel motor to produce 140kw and 400nm. According to BMW, this is good enough for a 0-100kph sprint in just 6.8 seconds. The second model is a petrol engine model, with the 330i powered by a 2.0-litre turbo motor that outputs 190kw and 400nm. Power is sent to the rear-wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox, and 0-100kph is done and dusted in a claimed 5.8 seconds. The 320d is priced at R649 253, while the 330i is priced at R652 415, while should you opt for the Sport automatic transmission, pricing moves up to R652 253 and R655 415 respectively. For reference, the F30 320d also makes 140kw and 400nm and is priced from R591 100, while the 185kw F30 330i started from R664 139.

The seventh-generation 3 Series is much larger than its predecessor, measuring 76mm longer, 16 mm wider and boasting a wheelbase that's 41mm longer, yet up to 55kgs lighter depending on the model. The car gets a more defined front end, with full-LED headlights as standard and BMW's new one-piece kidney grill, while the most distinctive feature at the rear are the new longer and flatter taillights. The cabin is one area that has really come under the knife, with it taking styling ques from the X5 and X3. It actually features fewer buttons than the F30, despite being the most technologically advanced 3 Series ever.

The 330i M Sport seen here wears the R47 400 M Sport package, which aside from a racier exterior, gains a Variable sport steering and M Sport brakes. The optional G20 HEA Package priced at R54 400 adds a Harman Kardon surround sound system, wireless charging for your mobile phone, a heads-up display, BMW’s highly rated full-size live cockpit and gesture control. Interestingly, you also score ambient interior lighting and a glass sunroof straight off the R35 000 M Sport Launch Edition Package.

The standard interior layout combines a 5.7-inch digital instrument screen and 8.8-inch infotainment display, and runs on BMW Operating System 7.0, while integrating the new BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant - the Bavarian automakers answer to Mercedes-Benz's MBUX system. As an option, there's an upgrade to a 12.3-inch instrument display and 10.25-inch infotainment screen mentioned above.

While most exterior colour options - much like Portimao Blue seen here - don’t affect pricing, adding certain metallic colours will see the price leap by just under R30 000. If you spring for the optional 19-inch Individual Style 793 on runflats, that will add R28 000 to the purchase price, however, opting for the 18-inch Style 780 on runflats (seen here) will only add R13 500 to the total price.

And if you want the black Vernasca leather sport seats trimmed with contrast blue stitching you see here, that’s going to cost you a further R18 200. But while the 330i is a strong performer, it isn’t an M Performance model like the M340i, which means you would pay R19 500 for an M Sport Differential and R11 400 for Adaptive M Suspension, and even R4500 for a tyre pressure monitor.

And while you think that’s the end of it, your 330i can be further specced with the addition of items like a R3000 boot spoiler, R7350 for an automatic tailgate, R15 000 for BMW Laserlights, R11 500 for a tow hitch, R5000 for factory tinted rear windows, R2750 for a heated steering wheel, R4400 for BMW M coloured seat belts, just on R11 100 for heated front and rear seats, R13 100 for electric seats, and a staggering R34 500 for BMW’s Driving Assist Professional Package. All of which pushes the price of a well-specced 330i to just over R950 000!

It’s also important to note that the 3 Series will not be produced locally as before, as BMW’s Rosslyn plant has swapped production of the 3 Series for the new X3. The hot M340i is expected to only arrive in September, and will take over the mantle as the range-topper until the M3 is launched late next year. Pricing for the M340i will be released closer to its local launch. 


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