More good news despite these pandemic times. BMW Group Malaysia continues its growth onslaught today after announcing the availability of two new variations of the G20 generation 3 Series saloon.
Added into the line up now are the 330e M Sport plug-in hybrid (PHEV), along with the so-called 'M3 lite' that is the M340i xDrive. Notably, both models are locally assembled (CKD), making the latter of the two the first locally produced M Performance model in the brand's history.
Here's a brief overview of both new flavours of the 3er.
330e M Sport
Picking up from where the F30-gen version left off, the G20-gen plug-in 3er arrives in sporty M Sport trimline. This plug-in variant underpins the petrol-powered 330i M Sport variant we tested not too long ago, sharing much of the same premium features, high-tech amenities and sporty aesthetics.
One key feature the 330e M Sport benefits with is the addition of the M Adaptive Suspension system. A feature absent in the 330i M Sport it underpins, this shoud see this electrified flavour of BMW's evergreen executive saloon offer arguably better ride and drive dynamics.
The other difference of course lies under the hood, whereby the 330e sees a 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo mill working in conjunction with an electric motor and 12.0 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, there's a claimed 292hp and 420Nm of twist delivered to the rear wheels via an 8-speed auto box.
With electrification, this 3er does0-100kph in a respectable 5.9 secs whilst enroute to its claimed 230kph V-max which, incidentally, matches the base 320i Sport's figures. This 3er also stands as the 'greenest' in the range with its frugal 2.2 litre/100km claimed fuel economy and 50g/km carbon emission figures.
As for the battery's charging time, this naturally depends greatly on where and what you use. It can take as long as six hours using a 230-volt domestic wall socket, or as quickly as 3.6 hours using an AC Wallbox or compatible public charger.
In short, if you've yearned for the 330i M Sport's package but want the added bonuses of electrification, the 330e M Sport should sate this need, provided you meet the RM264,613 price tag (sans on-road costs) it commands until end of this year. Said figure goes up to RM268,800 from January 1, 2021 onwards when the on-going SST waiver ends.
Yep, added electrification adds over RM20,000 more than the base but already spectacular 330i M Sport it based upon. If eases your mind, said price does include a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty coverage plus five-year free service and two-year tyre warranty too.
Next up comes the landmark first M Performance model to be localised by BMW Group Malaysia, and what many fans have dubbed as the 'M3 lite'. If you're not a fan of the new G80-gen M3's kidney grilles but still want similar performance, then pay attention.
Like the M3, this 'lite' version employs both a straight-six turbo heart, all-wheel-drive (AWD) plus a well-sorted chassis in its performance formula. Displacing a 3.0-litre figure, said mill delivers 387hp and beefy 500Nm of twist, thus allowing 0-100kph done in just 4.4 secs whilst enroute towards its electronically-governed 250kph V-max.
Notable performance goodies include an M Sport valve-controlled exhaust system, M Sport differential with an electronically controlled and fully-variable rear-wheel-locking function, M Sport brakes featuring 4-pot (front) and 1-pot (rear) calipers finished in blue, Adaptive M Suspension, as well as a full M Aerodynamic package exterior and 19-inch 792 M alloy wheels.
On board, the M340i xDrive list of kit is similar as to what we saw in the 330i M Sport as well, namely the connectivity-powered features, advanced driver assistances, as well as the digital displays with a heads-up-display amongst many of which. Key difference here is of course the model-specific M340i lettering present in the door sills and instrument panel.
Yep, with its arrival, the rivalling Mercedes-AMG C43 finally has something to sweat about.
Like what you see in the M340i xDrive? All this go-fast goodness and style does come at a price, and it currently reads at RM402,354 (sans on-road costs) until December 31. Said figure goes up to RM422,800 from January 1, 2021 onwards when the on-going SST break ends.
Check out more images of both new Bimmers in the galleries prepared below.