I've had this car since Sept '08 and it's excellent.
The complaints often raised are unfounded or simply personal bias; iDrive is only fiddly if you change cars a lot like motoring journalists do. If you use it daily you'd have to pretty dim to not master it within a few days. Run-flat road noise isn't intrusive (even on 18" wheels) and any extra noise is FAR outweighed by convenience & safety. If you have kids (or value your own life), you want run-flats as the only time you'll know you've had a high speed blow out is when the dashboard politely tells you. You also don't have to risk life and limb changing a wheel on the hard shoulder. Priceless. Economy is good; 60+ motorway, 40+ urban. Stop/start system is also excellent - i'll never buy another car without it.
The car isn't cheap but it's worth it when compared to Audi etc.
I prefer the overall driving experience to that of my 57 plate 535d - steering and handling of the 3 is more responsive and "informative". Power is obviously less but the 320d will still do anything a 'spirited' driver could or would demand of it.
Basically, if it's a company car, get the 320d with extras as the tax savings from Efficient Dynamics are substantial. If it's your own, get a 330/335d as the extra fuel, service and depreciation isn't going to bother you if you can buy a car of this ilk in the first place.
I've had my 330d for over a year now. Purchased it as an ex-demo so it has all the toys. The car goes well, handles well and although the boot is a slightly odd shape the opening back window more than makes up for it! The only qualm I have is that the lumbar support on the seats is non-existent when compared to Audi's S-Line seat's but other than that love it.
Overall I'm pleased with this car, it replaced my 525 because I didn't need the size and according to BMW it's more economical to run. However, it won't do more than 29 mpg on a run (my 525 did 34 from new) and getting instructions for working the Bluetooth system is a continuing pantomime. BMW say that the fuel usage is normal (it's very short of the published figures and much higher than my 525) and I should wait until the first service to have it looked at. I can pair my phone with the Bluetooth system but it will only ever dial the first person in the directory, who is getting a little miffed. BMW's customer service people said they are 'not allowed' to send instructions but they would do if I didn't tell anyone! Nothing was ever sent. A dealer said they would send out instructions but when I got them they were the ones that go with the optional extra screen system thing and not the ones that go with the system I have. Also am concerned about getting a puncture although I have no problem with the way the car goes on run-flats. Any ideas on fuel consumption or Bluetooth phone operation?
Have tested the 09MY 318SE touring for 2 days. The driving experience is 2nd to none in this class. I loved the car but due to the runflat tyres I decided not to buy. The tyre noise is just too high with the 17inch tyres and I was concerned that if the car is fully laden or towing the range after experiencing a puncture is indicated as 30miles [all though punctures are rare they usually occur at the most inconvient times and far from ones destination. If there was an alternative to these tyres I would have purchased it]
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