I traded in my 318i 54 plate for a 56 plate 330D SE (231BHP) with 29K on the clock. Great dealer in Enfield (Stephen James). Have now had the car for 3 weeks. The first thing to note is the following: Both cars are in the same tax band, with the 330D producing slightly less CO2. The 330D returns a much better average mpg: I used to average 31mpg on my work run (mixed motoring of 20 miles a day) and now I return 37mpg. Yet the difference in performance is staggering, even at low rpm. To say that the acceleration 'thrusts' you back in your seat is no exaggeration, particularly when you floor 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear. A friend of mine likened it to the acceleration of a Porsche Boxter. Best of all, it's so adaptable - it can be silky smooth with its 6 speed 3L engine or it can play 'bad boy' if you need to overtake a line of slow moving traffic. The noise of the engine being worked is delightful - a real menacing performance car growl! In SE spec it's a real wolf in sheep's clothing - understated elegance and but full of surprises. The SE is above average (auto wipers, auto lights, auto dimming mirror, cruise, dual zone climate, on board trip computer, park distance control, IPOD aux, CD (6 changer an option)and a clever storage compartment that will chill your drink or choc bar!) and comes with standard (comfortable)suspension setting. If you opt for 'M' sport, be prepared to feel every surface imperfection - as warned by my BMW salesman! Verdict? Best decision I ever made!
BMW 3 series just does not justify your best buy rating. Very noisy from tyres on almost all surfaces. Spoils listening to radio. Seats uncomfortable. Ride uncomfortable. Feel every bump. Complaints from rear passengers due to poor ride, limited foot room. Not good to drive around city streets with sharp turns due to heavy under powered steering, Engines can be noisy (returned 320d after 1 week as so noisy 20-40 mph). 320i also noisy at start and when accelerating. Fun car for racing around country lanes. Disaster for every day use. My family won't travel in it for extended periods. Please remove best buy rating. It will cost me 7k to trade in for something more refined and comfortable.
Recently acquired an 18 month old example of this car, having spent the rest of my life driving things like Skodas and Toyotas. Am now wondering how to turn back time and not make the same mistakes. The BMW is so much better in almost every way that it makes me weep. Not sure what running costs will be like just yet but whatever they are they'll be worth it for the smooth powerful engine, the serenity in the cabin, the seat comfort and the way it flows over the bumps that we have in place of roads. The steering is the only really obvious minus point. Its electrical assistance is presumably the root of the problem (unless someone can tell me it's to do with the wrong tyres or something?) but it's not that difficult to live with. (And of course the I-Drive is an ergonomic disaster but what the heck.)
I was so looking forward to owning a 330d. I took an extensive test drive over various road conditions, the weather was perfect, and concluded that:
- great engine; the manual gearbox was very notchy between 1st and 2nd but this may be due to the car was relatively new; - the car really tramlined over any imperfections when travelling at normal speed, really made the car feel nervous - I would not like to drive this car when conditions get difficult; the faster you go the less the effect of this trait; I wonder if this is due to run flat tyres? - the centre console obstructs the use of the handbrake badly that you have to contort your arm to use it effectively - bad design! - wonderfully accurate steering but too heavy for my liking.
In summary, I was very disappointed (especially by the tramlining) by the experience overall especially how the press rave about BMWs.
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