Last Friday evening it was raining, dark, and I knew the roads would be busy. I'd been suffering from a sore back and I really wasn't looking forward to the stop-start drive home.
It actually turned out to be bearable thanks to the BMW 320D.
Getting the ideal seating position isn't terribly easy, thanks to BMW's awkward seat-height adjustment lever, but once there I found the seat really supportive. I didn't really mind the congested roads either because the BMW's eight-speed gearbox takes the hassle out of stop-go traffic. Great gearbox, great car.
Week ending December 14 Mileage 14,046 Driven this week 446
The 3 Series currently has a set of rear tyres with 14,000 miles worth of wear and those tyres aren’t winter ones either. So how’s the rear drive BMW been coping with the icy roads?
Well is the answer. It’s certainly confidence inspiring even when the roads are shiny and white with ice and the BMW’s temperature gauge is reading –8 as it was one morning this week.
There’s plenty of traction and the brakes are as reassuring as they are on dry roads. So far so good. Of course if it actually snows then I may regret not investing in winter rubber…
Week ending December 7 Mileage 13,600 Driven this week: 280 miles
The BMW 3 Series is a bit of a grower. I borrowed our 320d last weekend and found that my appreciation of it grew the longer I spent with it.
My initial reaction - having barely driven the latest model before - was that it's not quite as sporty or involving as the previous car, which I'm a huge fan of. The diesel engine is also a bit noisy when worked hard.
The cabin didn't seem like a big step up in quality, either, with some trim that seemed less classy than before.
I do think the new car is more comfortable, though. The driving position and seats are excellent, and in my opinion BMW's iDrive system is the most user-friendly infotainment system around.
The superb eight-speed automatic gearbox makes progress effortless, while our car's optional M Sport adaptive suspension system allows you to choose between settings, all of which provide impressive ride comfort.
By the time I set off on a very wet early Monday morning drive from Brighton to London, I was happy to be driving the BMW.
I got out after a drive that took well over two hours and felt as fresh as when I got in. That's the measure of a well-engineered car. Leo.Wilkinson@whatcar.com