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Even a Base BMW 330i Can Come With an Amazing Amount of Technology

Base model used to mean the cheapest version of a car’s model lineup. Back in the day, manual cranked windows could have been a way to show you were getting the cheapest model, but in recent years, OEMs have flipped the script and there are base models available with top-of-the-line technology like the base model 3 Series BMW 330i.

Recently, I spent some time with a 2019 BMW 330i Sedan and let me tell you, the options packed in this “base model” wooed this M3 owner. The car comes packed with a 2.0-liter I4 turbocharged engine good for 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

I refer to the BMW 330i as a base model, which it is, but for many, the terms “base” and a “stripper” can be blurred. Base refers to the lowest available trim level of a model’s line, whereas a stripper refers to a model having no optional boxes checked. So for example, with the BMW 320i/330i, they can be seen as a base model BMW 3 Series, a M340i mid-level trim and a M3 as the top-of-the-line trim. You can have a “stripper” model of a high trim level — a stripper M3, for example. There are even base versions in trim levels sometimes. Confused yet?

I am not going to lie to you, this car had a bunch of options checked and included, but based on my explanation above, it’s still very much a base model, just not a stripper.


The BMW 330i I drove around in came packed with a slew of options such as the Driver’s Assistance Pro Package, which includes Extended Traffic Jam Assistant and Active Driving Assistant Pro. It also has the M Sport Package, which adds variable sport steering and Comfort Access keyless entry, as well as the Executive Package, which adds BMW Laserlight and Surround View. In addition, it has the Track Handling Package, which adds M Sport Brakes and a M Sport Differential as well as a slew of M badges that will irritate “///M” car owners. Most noteworthy to my experience is the Premium Package, which adds BMW’s Live Cockpit Pro.

BMW’s Live Cockpit Pro — basically the full digital display — is the most eye-catching and noteworthy option in this base model Bimmer. It ties directly to the Driving Dynamics Control to give you the feeling that you are behind the wheel of something special, even, dare I say, punching in that weight class of the Ultimate Driving Machine.

The Driving Dynamics Control is BMW’s driver mode select, providing the driver with ECO PRO, COMFORT, ADAPTIVE and, of course, SPORT mode. As my video above shows, going through the driver modes changes the full digital display based on those modes. COMFORT, ADAPTIVE and SPORT are all generally the same with touches for their respective terms, while ECO PRO showcases efficiency over driving experience to save those extra miles per gallon.

Beyond the driver modes, you get a nice street navigation view in the center of the digital display, while the BMW’s BC (Board Computer) button will cycle the driver through options on the right side of the display, including gear selection, miles per gallon, trip data, g-force, radio and, my personal favorite, the horsepower/torque bars.

Speaking of the horsepower/torque bars, that information, along with the g-force meter, is available on the Sport Display on the iDrive system screen in the center console.

Base sure has come a long way from the times of cheap. When I grew up, a base model meant you were getting manual windows and a “meh” interior, but the BMW 330i and other cars like it have gotten with the times.

Know of other cars on the base level that like to pretend they aren’t? Let me know in the comments below. Find a BMW 330i for sale

For more of his automotive exploits, you can follow Danny on Instagram: @DKorecki and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

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  1. This is such a poorly written article and misleading title. Engine Power isn’t trim level – if this was like, Honda, with LX, EX, EX-L, etc, that’d be one thing. This is a $60,000 3 Series.

    • Exactly, I was waiting for a sticker price of the one he drove to show value.  If its 10k in options over base its not a base.

  2. This article is confusing for two reasons:

    1. the 330i isn’t the base model 
    2. this 330i is loaded with options. 
    You’re correct RE: “base model”. A 911 Carrera (non-S AKA “base”) can be loaded up with enough options to cost more than a no-option 911 GT3. 
    People don’t usually do this because the base trim depreciates the most.  

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Danny Korecki
Danny Korecki
Danny Korecki is an author specializing in new vehicles, car culture, and racing. Once upon a time Danny had a short stint in the video game industry, since then he has worked for a Fortune 500 financial company as an Analyst, but his true passion is in the automotive space. Danny's words, photos, or videos have been featured on or in countless car websites, car blogs, and car magazines. Danny... Read More about Danny Korecki

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