drove 06 330i and 06 530i back to back
So I just got back from driving the 06 330i 6 speed and 06 530i Auto back to back. When I first saw the Titanium silver sport package 06 330i on the lot during the sunny afternoon, the shape of the 330i cut a very sporty and aggressive profile, that was very eye catching. The 18" sport package wheels definetly make this car. My wife and I then stepped inside the 330i and immediately felt that the car felt very tight in terms of width. The rear seat room behind the driver's seat was adequate even with the drivers seat set comfortably for my 5'10" frame. Interior plastics where quite high quality though without the i-drive, the dash did look sort of bare. The classic orange\red BMW back lighting did look a bit dated though. I should clarify the rear seat room was merely adequate, you probably don't want to sit in the back of the car for a multi-hour road trip. Now for the fun part. This car definetly feels very sporty, with the engine sound being quite intrusive while driving. The sound of the engine is actually quite welcome, as it sounds deep and refined. I red lined the car in first and second gear, and was happy with its acceleration though not overly impressed with it's power. We are not talking scary fast like an 05 Sti or an 05 Audi S4 I drove recently. Handling was very good, and very sports car like. The car handled bumps with a solid thud, and made the car feel very solid. Overall, the 330i felt very satisfying, relatively quick, but bit tight in terms of interior room, especially in terms of elbow room.
How does the 330i compare to the 530i?
Once we sat in the the 530i, it instantly felt that we had infinetly more elbow room. The rear room was an order of magnitude greater than the 330i Being an auto, it definetly did not feel as peppy as the 330i 6sp manual we just drove. Our decision? I think we are going to spring for the 530i as we have a 10 month old son, and want more space.
However, the 330i will not dissapoint if space is not a huge concern for you.