2009 BMW 330d - First Steer
This über-diesel isn't going to lower any expectations
By Matt Brogan
So imagine then combining the two, okay that's already been done, but instead of just a frugal attempt at being a part of the Euro oiler brigade try taking hold of the diesel mould as you know it, and smashing it to smithereens; introducing the all-new BMW 330d.
Let's start by taking a quick look at the new 330d when pitted against its direct rivals: the Mercedes-Benz C320 CDI ($97,900*) and Audi A4 3.0 TDI Quattro ($86,056*).
And while the figures may speak for themselves, the on-paper specifications don't always translate in to the real world of driving experience. But as we well know BMW prides itself on offering the 'ultimate driving machine', so it's a pretty safe bet that this über-diesel isn't going to lower any expectations.
Thereafter it's all power with a secondary, and even more rapid tide of urgency felt from 3500rpm all the way to redline, real wolf in sheep's clothing type stuff. The six-speed automatic is blisteringly sharp and in sport mode (with steering wheel mounted paddle shifts) makes the drive out of corners feel absolutely predatory.
Braking is equally impressive with distended single pot callipers, as shared with the 330d's petrol sibling the 335i, grabbing huge 348mm discs up front and 336mm discs on the rear.
Dry braking, start-off assistant, soft-stop and brake fade compensation all made our drive program through the Victorian Alps yesterday pleasurable and safe - quite reassuring given the odd patch of snow.
And while the package does indeed sharpen the cars already sensational handling, I couldn't help feel the standard package is perhaps better suited to our rougher roads and lower speed limits.
For those wanting to be in the know the up-spec diesel is distinguished from its lower capacity sibling (the 320d) by larger diameter alloy wheels, bigger brakes, kidney grilles topped by chrome bars, bi-xenon adaptive headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, larger diameter dual exhausts and chrome highlights around the side glass.
Inside standard Dakota leather upholstery (available in six colours), satellite navigation, 10-speaker stereo, comfort access system, electrically operated memory seats, sports steering wheel, cruise control with brake function, high-beam assist and Bluetooth mobile phone integration enhance the already generous standard feature list.
Five-star safety comes courtesy of six airbags, ESC with Traction Control, ABS with EBA, EBD and CBC.
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.