BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine vs BMW 5 Series | Which one’s a better buy?
The new BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine offers more than the standard 3 Series but how does it fare against the base 5 Series?
The recently launched BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine offers more space and is more expensive than the standard BMW 3 Series. That brings its price closer to the BMW 5 Series. The base variant of the 5 Series and the top-end 3 Series Gran Limousine have the same engine in a different state of tune, near identical 0-100kmph times, similar features list and the price difference isn’t much either. That gets you thinking — is the BMW 530i Sport really worth the extra few bucks over the BMW 330Li M Sport?
Space and Equipment
The main strength that the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine has over the 3 Series is the cabin space. The Gran Limousine’s wheelbase is 110mm longer than that of the 3 Series. The space advantage inside the cabin is noticeably significant. However, in comparison to the 5 Series’, the Gran Limousine’s wheelbase is just 14mm shorter. Now we don’t have both cars with us to confirm, but we suspect that the difference between them isn’t too much. It is a different story on the outside as the 5 Series’ overall length is 177mm more than the Gran Limousine. This overall length advantage should give the 5 Series a lot more presence on the road, and lends it its ‘big luxury car’ status.
While the M Sport styling kit on the BMW 330Li does not make it any faster, it does look really good. The package includes a front apron, side sills and rear apron in body colour, gloss black kidney grille, gloss black inserts on the front bumper, 18-inch alloys and M badges all around. The BMW 530i Sport however gets the standard exterior styling kit which includes the chrome and black kidney grille and a less sporty approach with aluminium inserts on the front bumper and a smaller 17-inch alloys. The 5 Series is bigger, but the M Sport 3 GL has more flair!
Even on the inside, the 330Li and the 530i Sport are quite evenly matched. Both cars get three zone AC in the front and rear, electrically adjustable seats, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, connected car features and 360-degree cameras. In fact, despite being the more affordable of the two, the 330Li M Sport is slightly better equipped as it gets keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof.
Both cars get the same 2-litre twin-scroll turbo-petrol engine but in a different state of tune. The 330Li puts out 254bhp and 400Nm whereas the slightly more expensive 530i Sport delivers 248bhp and 350Nm and both cars are limited to a top speed of 250kmph. When it comes to the 0-100kmph times, despite the power deficit, at 6.1 seconds, the 530i Sport is just 0.1 seconds faster than the 330Li. The two also get an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 330Li gets three driving modes— Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport whereas the 530i Sport gets an additional Sport+ mode.
The standard 3 Series is our benchmark when it comes to the #ThrillofDriving in the entry level luxury sedan segment and the longer Gran Limousine hasn’t strayed far away. Even with the added weight and length, the car is quick and rather fun to drive. When we first got behind the wheel of the Gran Limousine, albeit in the 320Ld Luxury Line, this is what one of our correspondents, Karan Singh had to say: “...if you feared that the added length has taken all that away, you’d be mistaken. You notice almost none of the added length when driving it around town, since it is only 110mm longer, and it holds its line on corners just like the current-gen 3 Series does.”
Save the best for the last, they say. So here goes, with a tag of Rs 53.90 lakh, the BMW 330Li M Sport is Rs 2.1 lakh cheaper than the BMW 550i Sport (Rs 56 lakh). The BMW 330Li M Sport Gran Limousine then, is almost as fun to drive as the benchmark 3 Series, is slightly better equipped and is arguably better looking than the 530i Sport thanks to the M Sport styling pack.
Of course, we must also consider the fact that the 5 Series hasn’t received any major updates since its launch in 2017. But as it stands right now, the 330Li offers better bang for your buck. On the other hand, for just Rs 2.1 lakh more, the 5 Series badge carries more prestige. So it all boils down to what you really want — value for money or the badge value?