So, I've picked up my November, 2016, 8000km, ex-BMW Australia, 330i Touring M-Sport and in our first week together we have covered about 1000km. What's there to like and not, so far? Well, so far so good!
The early standout features from this driver's perspective are:
* I love that half glass tailgate, which opens quickly and without any beeps or fanfare
* Cupholders in front of the transmission lever – no need to have an arm wrestle with Mt Franklin
* The ride (and handling of course); but, the fact it rides as well as it does with M-Sport suspension on 19-inch wheels really has impressed me greatly (I was a bit worried the ride may have been a tad skateboard-like)
* BMW ConnectedDrive: I can program my navigation destinations on my phone and send these to the car
* And this one is my favourite: I can switch the cruise control between standard and adaptive (radar) cruise control. PLEASE, why can't every manufacturer offer this?
Adaptive cruise control can be a wonderful thing, especially in heavy traffic. But if, for example, you are on the Hume heading from Sydney to Melbourne and traffic lightens, you often end up having to concentrate more, to ensure the move into the overtaking lane prior to letting the radar let you latch on to the car in front, then slow you down, and then catapult (well, in some cases) you forward in order to get back to the set speed.
Maybe it's just me but I like the option to easily switch between the two types of cruise – an actual deal breaker for me.
And on the topic of cruise control, and moving on to a thing I don't like...
When the car's cruise control is set to, say 50km/h, and one is going through a reasonably winding road, the BMW 'Corner Brake Control' will interrupt the flow by randomly braking as one is cornering which makes for untidy driving. It just bugs me, and I don't understand the principle behind this. It spoils an otherwise smooth driving experience.
Luckily though, the driving experience generally is brilliant. This car is a great thing. Torque delivery is plenty and down low (350Nm at 1450rpm) so it makes for a relaxed cruiser as well as offering easy progress in city conditions.
Performance for my needs is more than ample. It's no M3, naturally, but it gets up and boogies enough and offers good highway overtaking power. The ZF eight-speed auto is smooth and quick; and, despite eight ratios to choose from, the'box is decisive and doesn't hunt around like some transmission tend to do.
The interior is light and airy; possibly because my interior colour is a light beige. Couple this with a panoramic sunroof and it's the closest thing to a 'station wagon convertible' you can get. Just so nice and airy.
There aren't enough good useful storage spaces for my liking and I'd love to have a key slot as I don't like keeping the key in my pocket – nor, do I like just placing it (the key) in the cupholders. Minor matters, I guess.
The infotainment, navigation and all that jazz are easily understood and very intuitive. I haven't had to curse and swear at any time! All works quickly and effortlessly – oh, and nice graphics.
BMW ConnectedDrive, I love you dearly!
It's so groovy to simply program your destinations over a latte and send them to your car. Sounds trivial perhaps; but, it does make for a quicker 'hop-in-and-go'...
The seats are very comfortable. Coming out of Volvos, I was worried about that as I've previously had a 2009 C-Class wagon and could never get comfortable. And, I've always loved Volvo seats. But these BMW chairs may even take the "best seats in the..." crown. I'll have to report back after some long interstate stints.
While home is in Tassie, work will regularly see me hopping onto the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. My clients are based in SA, Victoria, NSW through to Queensland. So my cars get well used and can cover vast distances over short periods.
I'm looking forward to taking the 330i on a few excursions.
In my short time with the car the fuel economy has hovered around 7.9L/100km.
This is my first BMW and I am very happy with the purchase and have no regrets at all.
My mind was open to various brands and despite being Bavarian, I was never one who had a particularly strong affiliation with this brand. I'm feeling this is changing, delivered via a delicious dose of Freude am Fahren (trans: Driving Pleasure).
I have given 10/10 for value/price, as I got lucky with an incredible deal at less than $55k.
If you have any specific questions on this car please feel free to ask in the comments below.