If the 320d blew us away, you can imagine that the six-cylinder 330d is simply mind blowing.
And as if the standard car’s 135 kW and 390 Nm of torque wasn’t enough, our test car came from tuning specialists Steve’s Auto Clinic (SAC) with even more power and torque.
SAC claims its 330d offers 153 kW at around 3 100 r/min and an almost unbelievable torque output of 510 Nm at 2 200 r/min!
It’s really all about performance with the 330d.
Whereas the standard car manages a 0-100 km/h time of 8,82 sec and a top speed nudging 221 km/h (hardly numbers to scoff at), the SAC car produced a sprinting time of 8,28 sec and a top speed of 230,6 km/h – an impressive improvement.
And this performance gain is achieved without any major changes to the 330d’s already impressive engine.
By simply adding a chip to the unit running specially developed computer software, SAC is able to extract these extra horses without, as they claim, compromising the reliability, fuel consumption or refinement of the standard engine.
Even with all of this performance potential, the SAC 330d still returned a combined fuel consumption figure of only 7,99 l/1 00 km after completing the set test route. But best of all is that, when the performance potential of this engine is exploited to the full, consumption rarely creeps over 10 l/100 km.
Unlike the smaller capacity diesel engines, the 330d doesn’t suffer from any undue turbo lag due to the engine’s inherent torque. The extra two cylinders also give turbine smoothness and a husky, yet highly entertaining engine note.
In-gear acceleration is almost unreal, with the SAC 330d completing the 60-100 km/h tractability run in fourth gear in 7,98 sec. The same exercise in fifth from 80-120 km/h was completed in 9,43 sec.
Even BMW’s wild cat M3 can’t beat the SAC 330d in the same test. It completed the 60-100 km/h run in 8,38 sec followed by the 80-120 km/h stint in 10,31 sec – believe it or not.
And, in true BMW tradition, the 330d is also a real driver’s car. Large 17-inch wheels are standard which, combined with the new steering system and uprated suspension, makes the 330d one of the most pleasing cars to drive hard.
SAC’s conversion to the 330d transforms it from an already impressive machine into a fire-breathing performance addiction that’s hard to put down.
And, there’s still more. SAC is currently developing a more effective intercooler to replace the standard version, enabling about 10 percent more power without, as SAC claims, impacting on reliability or fuel consumption.
SAC BMW 330d
Engine: In-line, six-cylinder, intercooled turbodiesel
Power: 153 kW @ 3 100 r/min
Torque: 510 Nm @ 2 200 r/min
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Price: R283 995