Our cars: BMW 3 Series - May

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BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series
BMW 320d Sport

Week ending May 31
Mileage 24,001
Driven this week 111 miles


Read the full BMW 3 Series review

Bad news. Our BMW 320d Sport has left the car park for the last time and returned to the car maker's HQ and on the way to another (lucky) owner.

In summary, it fitted in almost perfectly with my life of London commuting, punctuated by plenty of long motorway trips. Yes, there were niggles, but it performed effortlessly and economically for 24,000 miles and 10 months. After all that it averaged 49.8mpg and I enjoyed virtually every journey.

Most of all, it convinced me that it's the best small saloon by a huge margin, and streets ahead of the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. Not to mention quite a few more would-be contenders.

Come back next week and I’ll tell you why in a lot more detail.

By Chas Hallett
Chas.Hallett@whatcar.com

playlist player for 3 series long termer - feature template


Week ending May 24
Mileage 23,890
Driven this week 240 miles


Read the full BMW 3 Series review

The BMW 320d's noisy heater blower has now been fixed. As I've mentioned a few times in the past it was a problem that didn't look like sorting itself out and it was getting increasing irritating - in fact it sounded like an Airbus A320 taking off.

Our local dealer Coopers of Thames Ditton replaced the heater blower under warranty, and dealt with it extremely efficiently too. It would have been ready within a day if I had been able to pick it up. In the end they dropped it back to my house the next day, fully valeted, which certainly took the sting of having to take it in for warranty work in the first place.

By Chas Hallett

Week ending May 17
Mileage 23,650
Driven this week 320 miles


We’re not having a huge amount of luck with our BMW 320d Sport at the moment. As I write it’s residing at the local dealer having the noisy heater problem being sorted out.

I’ve just had to get the front tyre replaced, too. The road test team spotted a huge lump in the rubber when they were using it as a benchmark, driving back to back with the new 3-series GT. It was certainly a safety risk so an online shop-around was required.

In the end blackcircles.com were selling a Pirelli 225/45 R18 for £195 so we went with them. They delivered it to the local tyre depot and it was swiftly sorted. Not the cheapest day I’ve ever had though.

By Chas Hallett
Chas.Hallett@whatcar.com

Week ending May 10
Mileage 23,330
Driven this week 30 miles


Drat. I do have to take the BMW 320d Sport into the dealer after all. The excess noise from the air-con and ventilation unit hasn't gone away and now I've got an appointment with our local dealer in Thames Ditton, Surrey booked for next week.

I expect that it will be a control unit that has to be either replaced or reprogrammed, too. What Car? readers Mathew Craggs and Gerry Shurman have contacted me to report similar problems with their cars and they both had to have this warranty work carried out.

If there's an upside, it’s that so far my dealer's been extremely helpful on the phone and I got the impression that the guy on the phone had heard of similar issues before – so there appears to be a pattern emerging. The downside is that if the work has to be carried out, then my car's likely to be out of action for two days.

By Chas Hallett
Chas.Hallett@whatcar.com

Week ending May 3
Mileage 23,300
Driven this week 1236 miles


I was chatting to a senior automotive engineer recently about some of the challenges he faces. He reckoned one of the biggest was maintaining low-speed diesel engine refinement, while carrying on with improvements to economy and emissions.

I mentioned our BMW 320d as a case in point. He hadn't driven one, but he predicted that it would get a lot smoother and less gravelly at around 3000rpm. He was spot on, too – it does.

That said, he also reckoned that I would live with a bit of diesel clatter around town for lower company car tax bills and great economy. Right again. I guess we'll have to wait for the next generation of BMW diesels to please on both counts.

By Chas Hallett
Chas.Hallett@whatcar.com

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