BMW - 24 hours with a F30
  • 24 Hours With an F30

    So, the tractor threw a bit of a wobbly on Monday and decided to cry off. No worries, BMW Assist were called and they took the X5 and hooked us up with a courtesy car in short order. The issue turned out to be a duff injector which was replaced under warranty and the car back with us the following day. Anybody estimate how much a stealer would charge for that? Anyway, I digress
    The courtesy car was a 12 plate F30 320d M Sport. When it was dropped off my heart sank a little as Im not really very keen on them from the outside and I was told they had 3s and X5s as courtesy cars so I was hoping itd be the latter. Anyway, it was free and we needed a car.

    Once Id gotten over my initial disappointment and actually driven the thing, I was 100% won over.

    Its difficult to describe the distance that chassis has come in one iteration. OK, the car had 18 wheels rather than the 19s on my old 335 but even still, the ride and comfort is a revelation. It glides over the bumps and lets you know theyre there but theres no harshness or jolting whatsoever, even with run flats. Coupled to that, it cornered brilliantly. So light footed and accurate that it felt like Pugs of old so confidence inspiring. On the flipside I found it overly light at low speed (manoeuvring, pulling out of junctions etc), I wonder if it had active steering? If so, Id leave it off of the options list as it made it feel Corsa-esque around town.

    I was also shocked at how quick the 320d engine is. A little more lag than I am used to before the power comes in, but is pulls very hard once on song and pretty much around to the red line. It was also my first taste of the 8 speed automatic again, a revelation. You can hear it making lots of shifts but very rarely feel them. In manual mode it performed well too, much like the 6 speed in my 335, but with more ratios to keep the smaller engine at the right revs. I liked it a lot no use whatsoever for a manual in my eyes.

    Shockingly, it also managed to lay down a short set of 11s on the road outside of my mother in laws house

    Im gushing a bit here but I honestly reckon that unless youre talking about an A road duel at 3 figures, itd have the legs on (or at least be a dead heat with) my old Clubsport. I dont even think itd lose sight of the 335d either it really was that capable.

    So there you go. Mini review. I was worried that the 3 was becoming mundane, but Im glad to say its better than ever. If I had any negative view itd be that the styling still doesnt really work for me the front is too fussy and the interior seems like its unnecessarily complex too (although well built). The brakes were OK when shifting, but were really over assisted at low speed far too sharp. Again, I wonder if this is catering for town driving where lightness is seen as an advantage? Either way, it was off-putting. It needed bigger brakes and a more progressive pedal.

    Pics below. Enjoy, theyre dull.

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. The Panther's Avatar
      The Panther -
      Nice review mate! I quite like the styling for whata it's worth, especially like the interior.
    1. Wrenny1969's Avatar
      Wrenny1969 -
      that engine bay is filthy
    1. pangster's Avatar
      pangster -
      I'd have to agree with most of what you've written (a lot of which rings true for the F20 as well!!) - even with 18", F1 runflats and M Sport suspension my car handles superbly.. and although it has added noise - it's a smallish price to pay for the plus side.

      It sounds like your car definitely had VSS (variable sports steering) - the dynamics can be controlled through the iDrive iirc and also the setting on the driver dynamic menue (eco, comfort, sport, sport+).

      I also don't mean to sound dead anoraky and the only way I know is because I've recently done research on the new model BMW's when picking mine - but the car you were given was a Sport and not an M Sport. The sports have red trim (your key would have been red as well?) and the m sports have a blue key (blue trim in the dash finisher - although on mine I opted for gloss black). the front and rear bumpers are different too.. plus probably a few other things.. still the main parts are the same!! LOL!
    1. pangster's Avatar
      pangster -
      forgot to say that a bit like the new 1er - i didn't really like the look of these too much either when they first came out.. although they've been a grower on me and actually think they look pretty smart now!!
    1. FrozenEntity's Avatar
      FrozenEntity -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wrenny1969 View Post
      that engine bay is filthy
      I know right? It's weird!
      I was looking under the hood of my cousins 320i estate, and it had the same issue! Sprayed with mud!
    1. FrozenEntity's Avatar
      FrozenEntity -
      overall it's a nice looking car, it handles nicely maintaining the comfortability aspect of driving, which essentially is what we expect from any modern car, especially a BMW. I found the interior a bit ... Crammed. It sounds ridiculous, but it felt small and almost claustrophobic. I sat in the back of one, aswell as driving one, and in both cases, the car didn't seem to fit me. Now I'm not a huge guy! (178cm) And the cars I'm used to are not huge either (Mercedes E270 W211 and a Porsche 911 Turbo), and with the comparable cabin size to the Merc, the BMW should be on a similar level. Rather surprising.

      Great review! Keep them coming
    1. Dal's Avatar
      Dal -
      good review on the vehicle..i actually love it especially in white..few years down the road,and i will be buying one(probably in black)
    1. sparkrace22's Avatar
      sparkrace22 -
      Enjoyed reading the review as I am pondering whether to change my E90 for one of these or a tourer!
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