We live in a world in which people are demanding more from cars than ever. Due to the increasing standards of vehicle performance along with the ever-intensifying competition manufacturers have forced an unwelcome ‘homologation’ of the market. Luxury cars are sporty, and sporty cars are luxurious – to a point where luxury cars sacrifice their ride and sporty cars sacrifice performance. Take the E63 AMG wagon for example; it’s gorgeous in styling, criminally well-upholstered, and yet it suffers in corners as it has too much weight and the car feels too stiff for a luxury car; as the suspension is as stiff as a republican’s opinion on gun control. Is it too much to ask for a true luxury car that isn’t trying to be good at everything?
The GT trim line of BMWs started back in 2009 with the 530i GT. The idea of it back then was quite complicated – they built a 5 series hatchback using the 7-series’ mechanicals as the building blocks to cater to a market who didn’t want a sedan as they needed more room but didn’t want a SUV either as it was too big. Since then the line expanded to the 3-series, and now you can find numerous examples of the GT versions of the 325i, 330i, 335i, 340i, 535i, etc. on any used car buying platform. The gods of depreciation haven’t been too kind to these cars either; a brand new 2019 330i GT will run you around $45000 plus options, yet within a few clicks on Autotrader you can find many 2015 models for under $20000. That’s over $6000 in depreciation every year on top of maintenance and gas.. This car-hatchback-crossover-thing hardly seems desirable when you are just looking at the numbers.
Everyone is burdened with the stresses of daily life, whether it’s your work or your family. An average American spends over a hundred minutes driving every single day, wouldn’t you rather that drive home be a comfortable and relaxing journey? The GT lines really shines in that department. To ‘Gran Tour’ is to make a gruelingly long trip as effortless as simply resting your body while your car stretches its long legs and strides across the black asphalt. As far as I can tell, this 330i GT does just that amazingly. Perhaps, I’m too used to the harsh suspension of my Focus ST, but the GT rides over bumps on the road with no problem what so ever. The GT version of the 330i is taller by approximately 3.1 inches taller than the standard, which means extra ground clearance and suspension travel which allows it to float a bit more gently over imperfections on the road. The seats are surprisingly comfortable, after driving over a hundred miles before and after a three hour hike, I did not feel the same kind of fatigue I would have felt if I had been driving the Focus. It’s a phantasmic experience being in the driver’s seat as this car somehow turns a sizable journey into a short leisurely drive.
It’s a rather good looking car too, yeah? The bulkier body lines makes the car look a lot more aggressive and the beefier rear end is a sight to behold. Adding to the rear end is a pop-up spoiler-which can be toggled either with the press of a button on the driver side door or automatically when the car is traveling over 50 miles an hour. Some will say that it’s a gimmick, but it’s a cool feature to see the spoiler deploy through the rear window. On top of that, the exhaust note is surprisingly spritely given the un-sporty nature of the 330i. For a turbo-four cylinder motor that has a healthy 250 horsepower and 280 lb/ft, and the turbo’s whisper of induction noises remind you of the snail that rests under the hood.
The interior is full of amenities as well. You are pampered sitting in the driver’s seat with technologies such as a heads-up display, electrically adjustable side bolsters, heated seats, automatic climate control, and four different driving modes. Firstly, the heads-up display is jammed packed of information such as incoming/outgoing calls, directions for the GPS system, audio information, and more. It’s no Virtual Cockpit from Audi, but the smart, full-color heads-up display eliminates the need for the driver to divert his attention. There are surprisingly a lot of adjustments available for the seats as well. Both the front seats are 14-way adjustable including but not limited to the side bolsters and the lumber support. Thanks to the raised roof line, there is plenty of leg/head room for all passengers in the vehicle as well. Due to my unproportionately long torso I often times find rear seats of sedans very uncomfortable to sit in, but even sitting behind my own driving position, I found that I could sit up straight without needing a deep tissue massage for my neck after sitting in the car. The iDrive system has a surprisingly well integrated phone interface as well, even allowing for the driver to connect his Spotify account from the bluetooth enabled phone and browse even without Apple CarPlay or AndroidAuto.
The variety of drive modes seemed a bit unnecessary for this particular car, but they worked well nonetheless. I can always count on BMW’s drive modes to alter the characteristics of the car; ‘sport’ and ‘sport+’ modes sharpen throttle response and stiffen up the steering wheel compared to the ‘comfort’ and ‘eco-pro’ modes which dull the acceleration and lighten the steering feel for a smoother experience. The Dual Clutch Transmission too is impressive, I am pleasantly surprised at how blisteringly quick the downshifts are.
All in all, the 330i GT is a comfortable yet enjoyable car. With all the amenities you are greeted with along with a burlier body line and the comfort of a GT car, and frankly I think that this BMW ticks most of the boxes of a Touring car. Although it may be difficult to justify getting a brand new GT trim instead of a regular sedan for the driving pleasure, buying it second hand with the majority of the depreciation done could be a smart idea. Need the comfort and practicality over the sportiness of the ride? This is the car for you.
I would like to spread a special thanks to Turo, an app in which you can rent other people’s cool cars for a great price instead of the boring Chevy Spark from an enterprise down the road! This review along with many to come down the road would not have been possible without Turo. Nur, if you ever come across this review, thank you for an amazing experience! Cheers to you, my friend.