BMW 3 Series 330d M Sport Auto 4dr Car Review - February 2012

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List Price: £37,265
Tax Band: G
Insurance Group: 36
MPG: 45.6
CO2: 164
0-62 Mph: 6.2 secs
BHP: 245 BHP
Range: 612 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.75/5
The BMW 330D M Sport Auto is a well-equipped, 4-door, sports saloon with a deserved reputation for being a car for the driving enthusiast. The model has been highly successful for BMW, and remains a highly popular choice in its class. That class does contain some tough competition, but the BMW 330D M Sport Auto fares well in the battle against its rivals, and although not the cheapest to buy or run the M Sport range’s brand recognition will continue to make it an attractive option.

PROS:  Performance and power from an excellent engine, coupled with a sporty ride make it a real drivers car.

CONS:  The stats don’t quite add up to a class-leading car. It doesn’t stand out enough from similarly priced or cheaper rivals for power, pace, practicality, or running costs.

Behind the Wheel

The BMW 330D M Sport Auto shares the same 6-cylinder, 24-valve, 3.0-litre, diesel engine found in the manual version of the model, and this power unit generates 245bhp at 4000rpm, with 384 lb-ft of torque. This is comparable to the 248bhp and 368 lb-ft of torque provided by the 3.0-litre V6 engine found in its rival, the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto is good for a top speed of 155mph, the exact same top speed of its Audi rival, but it is 0.3 seconds slower from 0-62mph than the Audi with a time of 6.2 seconds.

The engine responds quickly to requests for power, and the 6-speed automatic gearbox is incredibly effective at delivering this, and is very quick to downshift if required. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto feels very well balanced, and its weight very evenly distributed, and as a result handling and grip levels are excellent. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto has a stiffer suspension and lower ride height than standard 3-Series models, which ensures extra sportiness to its ride.

Looks & Equipment

On the BMW 330D M Sport Auto does have some cosmetic differences to the standard BMW 3-Series 4-door saloon, with the M Sport package including an aerodynamically-revised front bumper and rear diffuser, and subtle M Sport badges. Internally a multi-function steering wheel and sports seats identify the M Sport model, and the seats contribute to the overall sportiness of the car, giving a firm and supportive ride along with an excellent driving position. The interior feels of excellent quality, although without making the same instant impression you get in an Audi.

The standard features of the BMW 330D M Sport Auto include power steering, central locking, stability control, alloy wheels, climate control, electric door mirrors, electric windows, cruise control, rear parking sensors, cloth/alcantara seats, driver airbag, passenger airbags, front side airbags, alarm & immobiliser, CD player, and MP3 connectivity. It’s rival, the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic has a similar level of trim, but also gets bluetooth and part-leather seats as standard.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The BMW 330D M Sport Auto has adequate space inside for five people, although without quite the same feeling of spaciousness found in an Audi A4. The BMW also lags behind its rival the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic in terms of boot space, albeit slightly. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto boasts 460 litres of boot space, while the Audi A4’s is slightly larger a 480 litres.

The BMW 330D M Sport Auto enjoys a 5-star NCAP rating for occupant safety. It has an excellent reputation for reliability, and its 3-year warranty is for unlimited miles, whereas the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic’s warranty is limited to 60,000 miles.

Value for Money

At £37,265, the BMW 330D M Sport Auto is almost identical in price to the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto does suffer from slightly higher running costs than its Audi rival. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto returns a combined 45.6mpg compared to the 49.6mpg offered by the Audi. The BMW 330D M Sport Auto falls into Road Tax Band G due to its C02 emissions figures of 164g/km. In comparison the Audi A4 3.0-litre TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic’s lower emissions of 149g/km result in a lower Road Tax Band of F.

The high desirability of the BMW 330D M Sport Auto means it can be expected to perform solidly in the resale market, but perhaps not as strongly as a comparable Audi or Mercedes.

BMW 3 Series 330d M Sport Auto 4dr Car Review - by 
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