Anamit Sen spent a whole day evaluating a BMW 330i in and around Delhi and the NCR. I'm starting this review with a bit of news. Auto Bild magazine in Germany has just reported that the 2012 version of BMW's 3 Series, which will be the 6th generation of the 3 Series, is ready to be showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year. The reports say that this new BMW, classified internally as the F30 and going up against the Mercedes C Class, Audi's A4 and Volvo's S60, has borrowed quite a bit in terms of design from the 5 Series. It will break new ground in terms of safety and will have new four-cylinder turbocharged engines. The reports also says that though BMW may not be vorsprung durch technik (borrowing from Audi) or advanced/ahead through technology any more because competitors also have the equivalent of the advantages of Efficient Dynamics, the boffins DO have access to the parts and accessory shelf of the 5 Series. Which means it is quite possible that the F30 may offer features like night vision assistance, heads up display or HUD, lane changing assistance as well as automatic parking.
So how is that bit of news relevant to this driving impression? Well, if you have not noticed yet the car featured here is the BMW 330i Edition Sport, internally classified as the E90. OK, let me explain the internal classification over the years, which starts way back in 1966 when the 1600-2002 series came in as a family saloon. It was sporty too with an 80bhp engine that could reach 96kph in 13 seconds. The 2002 Turbo was part of the 02 Series, with a 170bhp engine and BMW churned these out till 1976. The internal E classification kicked off with the E21 ,the first generation of 3 Series cars, production of which ran from 1976 to 1982. These cars still used small engines, with capacities of 1.6 and 1.8 litres. BMW introduced their first six-cylinder engine in the 3 Series at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1977, the 323i which had 143bhp on tap.
The E30 that followed in 1983 was the second-generation 3 Series. These cars were bigger than the previous generation cars, had more power, but were lighter, the perfect recipe for performance. The 325i topped the range and had a straight-six engine developing 170bhp out of 2.5litres, good for 135mph or 216kph which would be adequate even today. The E30 was especially notable because it was the base for the first M car, known simply as the BMW M3 E30, launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1985. This particular car was VERY successful in race trim, winning several touring car championships. The M badge had arrived.