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2017 BMW 330

2017 BMW 330

Change year or vehicle
$14,844 — $31,052 USED
42
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
26-27 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Quick acceleration
  • Engine sound
  • Comfortable interior
  • Familiar layout
  • Strong brakes
  • Excellent ride quality

The Bad

  • Lazy transmission
  • Engine sound is artificial
  • Cramped backseat
  • Hefty sticker price
  • Dated looks, inside and out
  • Spring-back transmission and turn signal levers
2017 BMW 330 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2017 BMW 330
  • Five-seat compact luxury sport sedan
  • Turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive
  • Six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Available sport packages
  • Multimode Driving Dynamics Control

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2017 BMW 330 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch the video to see how the competitors of our 2017 Luxury Sedan Challenge fared in handling on an auto cross course and on the road.

By Aaron Bragman
The verdict:


Despite another mild update, the softer, gentler BMW 330i is starting to look old in an age of updated sport sedans.

Versus the competition:


Compared with your average family sedan, the BMW feels sharp and poised, but compared with newer sport sedans, it feels built for mass appeal more than enthusiast fun.

There are smaller vehicles than the 3 Series in BMW showrooms — cheaper ones, too, designed to lure first-time buyers. This means the 3 Series needs to be nicer, more sophisticated, more luxurious and have more content than ever before so that buyers trading in the lease on their 2 Series will have something to look forward to.

Yet the BMW 3 Series sedan has been only mildly updated a couple of times since the current generation was introduced. This year’s changes are powertrain-related, with new engines that prompted a model name change: I tested a 2017 330i, which was in 2016 known as the 328i (compare the two here). The new name is meant to draw attention to the all-new, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, replacing last year’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The new engine has 8 more horsepower, at 248 hp, and gains a few more pounds-feet of torque, rising from 255 to 258 pounds-feet.

We’re not sure why BMW’s updated the engine for such a minor power bump (not to mention fuel economy went down 1 mpg on the highway), but we suspect it’s in keeping with BMW’s traditional strategy of changing to a new powertrain before changing the rest of the car in a major redesign a couple of years later (Other automakers, like Toyota, do this too).

Aside from a couple of color changes and the Sport Line trim now being called the Sport Package, the engine is the extent of the changes for the BMW 330i for 2017. So how does the ...

There are smaller vehicles than the 3 Series in BMW showrooms — cheaper ones, too, designed to lure first-time buyers. This means the 3 Series needs to be nicer, more sophisticated, more luxurious and have more content than ever before so that buyers trading in the lease on their 2 Series will have something to look forward to.

Yet the BMW 3 Series sedan has been only mildly updated a couple of times since the current generation was introduced. This year’s changes are powertrain-related, with new engines that prompted a model name change: I tested a 2017 330i, which was in 2016 known as the 328i (compare the two here). The new name is meant to draw attention to the all-new, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, replacing last year’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The new engine has 8 more horsepower, at 248 hp, and gains a few more pounds-feet of torque, rising from 255 to 258 pounds-feet.

We’re not sure why BMW’s updated the engine for such a minor power bump (not to mention fuel economy went down 1 mpg on the highway), but we suspect it’s in keeping with BMW’s traditional strategy of changing to a new powertrain before changing the rest of the car in a major redesign a couple of years later (Other automakers, like Toyota, do this too).

Aside from a couple of color changes and the Sport Line trim now being called the Sport Package, the engine is the extent of the changes for the BMW 330i for 2017. So how does the new engine do?

New Engine, Same Experience

Quite well, actually. My test vehicle was a new 2017 BMW 330i optioned up the way you’d most likely lease one if you lived in Orange County, Calif. (where this car is ubiquitous). It had an eight-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is also available) and rear-wheel drive, but no sport packages or any go-fast bits, so I got a good taste of the entry-level non-sport sedan.

The engine itself purrs well, but that purring noise is deceptive — it’s not actually coming from the exhaust, it’s coming from all around you. The sound is piped in through the speakers, which explains why it sounds like a straight six cylinder engine instead of a two-liter four cylinder.

I don’t actually mind the sound. Plant your foot and the powerful little motor spins up quickly, propelling the car with authority and proving to be quite enjoyable to drive. It doesn’t lack for power in any gear, but the default Comfort mode in Driving Dynamics Control makes the drivetrain and suspension feel lazy. Pressing the gas doesn’t make a lot happen unless you dig deep, and the transmission isn’t eager to downshift under slower driving conditions. When it says Comfort, it means Comfort: the 330i is cushy, relaxed and even a bit ponderous in its powertrain responses.

Pop it into Sport mode, though, and the sedan wakes up considerably. Throttle response is much more immediate, and the transmission holds lower gears longer for better acceleration.

“This is what I imagine a BMW sedan should feel like,” I found myself saying after keeping it in high-performance Sport mode for a while. Problem is, driving like this all the time — with the motor revving higher while just cruising along — gets tedious. I would have liked a sportier Comfort mode and a more comfortable Sport mode, not a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation that forces you to choose one personality over another.

A Softer, Gentler BMW

One attribute BMW has dialed in well is ride comfort. Over a varying array of surfaces, very little upset the 330i regardless of what mode it was in. Chassis tuning is excellent, with little body roll, no impact harshness over bumps, and very satisfying sporty ride and handling.

Steering is much less communicative than enthusiasts will remember from previous generations of BMW 3 series’, reinforcing the idea that BMW is now going after more mainstream buyers in an effort to chase sales. Shoppers getting out of a Toyota Camry and into a  BMW 330 will be impressed as hell with how the steering feels, but those cross-shopping new entries, like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, will be disappointed at the comparably bland numbness the supposed “Ultimate Driving Machine” exhibits.

Familiar, Outside and In

Inside, there’s nothing new to report — and that’s both good and bad. It’s good in that the interior is still the same familiar, well-laid-out, comfortable and high-quality environment that it’s always been. The materials are up to snuff, the multimedia system works better than it ever has, and the switches and levers all feel traditionally BMW — they’ll be very familiar to anyone who’s been leasing 3 Series sedans for the past 20 years. The gauges still light up orange at night in a unique and simple, highly visible arrangement that forgoes a gimmicky all-digital gauge screen, like the head-up-inspired Virtual Cockpit in the latest Audi A4. The front seats are still comfortable, the rear seats are still a bit cramped (not unusual for this class), and the 3 Series still looks, feels and even smells like a familiar BMW 3 Series inside.

But that lack of change is starting to catch up to the BMW 3 Series. It still uses an annoying spring-back transmission shift lever that can be confusing for people not familiar with the type. Spring-back, European-style turn signal levers are present, as well. Leather upholstery is still not standard, even in the mid-$40,000 price bracket, and neither is a backup camera. Audi has updated its latest offerings nicely, and the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a stunning interior with luxurious materials and state-of-the-art amenities.

At least the 3 Series is still one of the safest compact luxury sedans you can buy, earning top scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While it will help you survive the crash, though, it isn’t as advanced as some newer models in avoiding the crash, according to IIHS’ category report for mid-size luxury cars, which ranks the BMW 3 Series lower than competitors due to lesser performance in automatic braking tests.

Not Getting Any Cheaper

MSRP for the 330i I tested was $39,745, a fairly lofty price for a car that doesn’t include a lot of advanced safety features. My test model added some popular and common equipment add-ons, like Driver Assistance Package and Premium Package, plus navigation, heated front seats, leather upholstery and 18-inch wheels for a grand total of $47,345. That’s a lot of money for a car without forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control or even blind spot warning. So the BMW 330i definitely doesn’t win on value, but given that leasing is very strong within the BMW brand, that price often doesn’t matter to repeat buyers — only their monthly payment.

The new 330i sedan is ready for an update, a next-generation model to match some of the newer offerings on the market, but if tradition, familiarity and the badge on the hood are all more important to you, the latest BMW 3 Series still delivers.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

5.0
32 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Awesome Car!

by Jon Doe on May 14, 2020

Car is great! I love it. Handles well, speed is there and overall power and performance is amazing. Highly recommend the 3 series. Mineral grey is also a very nice color. Read full review

(5.0)

GREAT VEHICLE.

by PETER from QUIJANO on May 14, 2020

THIS CAR MET MY NEEDS, LUXURIOUS , VERY NICE CLEAN AND NEAT , LOVE IT , OWNED A BMW BEFORE AND LOVE THEM AS WELL. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2017 BMW 330 currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by BMW

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    1 year/unlimited miles from expiration of 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty

  • Powertrain

    N/A

  • Dealer Certification Required

    196-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2017 330 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 330 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

B

Infant seat

B

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

C

Booster

(second row)

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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