2019 BMW 330i

MIAMI — For over four decades, the BMW 3 Series has been considered to be the benchmark in the sport sedan segment as well as serving as the German automaker’s best-selling model. BMW reports that more than 15 million 3 Series models have been sold worldwide since it arrived in the U.S. in 1976 as a replacement for the iconic BMW 2002 sedan.

For 2019, it moves into its seventh generation with a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder that boosts horsepower by only 7 hp over its predecessor but adds an impressive 37 pound-feet of torque over the preceding model. (Note: This review is  based on the 330i rear-wheel-drive sedan; the 3 Series also is available with all-wheel drive and in wagon and hatchback styles.)

That engine is mated to an 8-speed Sport Steptronic automatic transmission with Sport and Manual modes (via paddle-shifters) that deliver both power (zero-to-60 mph in 5.6 seconds) and efficiency. The RWD 330i drinks recommended premium fuel at the rate of 26 miles-per-gallon city, 36 highway and 30 overall — among the best in its class for non-electric vehicles.

With 121 pounds of body weight trimmed by a combination of tweaks that include use of high-strength steel and aluminum in various areas, the new 330i also is a more agile performer but at higher speeds also retains a firm grip on the road.

Exterior refinements include redesigned headlights (LED), fewer distracting lines on the sides and doors, and redesigned tail lamps for an overall smoother appearance. It is slightly longer than its predecessor (185.7 inches to 182.5) with a slightly longer wheelbase (112.2-110.6).

The roomy interior features a 2-way power moonroof, automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror as standard. Frontal Collision Warning, Automatic City Collision Mitigation (it delivers warnings to the driver as well as braking at city speeds), and lane departure warning also are included in the starting MSRP of $41,245 (including the $994 destination charge).

Many other features, like Blind Spot Detection, leather sport seats, run-flat tires, automatic high beams, wifi hot spot, and power seats also come with no extra charge.

The cabin also is more attractive visually.Designers did a nice job incorporating the 10.3-inch display screen into the flow of the dash instead of just sticking it up like some short of Amazon tablet or iPad in above the center stack. With more room to work, they also gave occupants a bit more shoulder (but not leg) room. The extra length apparently went to increasing trunk volume.

Among available options that run up the price are a Driver’s Assistance Package that includes adaptive cruise control with the ability to adjust the following distance, an M Sport Package that includes variable sport steering, a Premium Package that features heated front seats and head-up display, an Executive Package that includes Parking Assistant and 3D Surround View camera, a Track Package for M Sport Brakes and Differential, and several other stand-alone options that ran the total bill to $59,920 for my test car.

That makes it a “well-equipped” vehicle and keeps the 3 Series among the best in the segment even with an increase in competition over the years.

What I liked about the 2019 BMW 330i Sedan: The performance is lively yet the mileage is excellent. The interior is roomy and luxurious (as typical of its class), and the seats are comfortable. You can turn off the Stop/Start system simply by pushing a button (Next to starting the engine, that’s probably the easiest bit of technology to operate). Trunk space is a generous 17.0 cubic feet.

What I didn’t like about the 2019 BMW 330i Sedan: Operation of the infotainment features takes some getting used to. There are so many you might reach the end of your 3-year lease without learning all the shortcuts. Lane-keeping Assist can be overly aggressive at times.

Would I buy the 2019 BMW330i Sedan? Definitely would be on my list if I were shopping in this segment. The 3 Series long has set the standard by which many others are compared.

— Paul Borden