Drives: F30 330d M Sport
Join Date: Nov 2012
Just my '2 cents on 35i vs 30d:
I currently have a 135i, and have just ordered an F30 330d. Recent car history is MINI Cooper S Works (JCW), E92 335d, E82 123d, E82 135i.
I needed to look for a new car that was more practical for family reasons (bigger in the back, 4 doors), and the F30 is really the first 4-door car I have ever liked or considered. I borrowed a 330d last weekend before I ordered; and while it lacked the out-and-out pace of both my 135i and 335d when flooring it, in normal driving it still felt very capable; and the F30 vs both the E92 and E82 is just night and day, the quality, ride and refinement is so, so much better.
Obviously the 335i is a slight step away from the 135i/M135i as far as it's perhaps not (intended to be) quite as raw or focused, but most of this will apply to both.
I love the 135i, its sound on cold start up, and when pushing on, is fantastic; its very exciting, rewarding, so smooth, quiet, and it's definitely a more involving drive - perhaps just due to the sound, and the fact you have to work a bit harder to get the best out of it (though it does have a good amount of torque for its type of engine, just a lot less than the 335d or new 330d, so it's a different driving experience [that some will prefer]).
Though I absolutely loved whizzing around in it when in the mood, there were a few things that I didn't like, when compared with my previous 335d (and also the new 330d, as the engines are now so similar):-
-Straight away I missed all the torque of the big diesel engine. Because that diesel 'shove in the back' just wasn't there, it never felt that fast to me; though there is no doubt it was actually faster. It also took more effort to eg overtake at normal speeds; it lacked the effortlessness of the 335d; though obviously it's all just relative and comparative - it was a very fast car, and 'effortless' for a similar petrol engine
-It's just more relaxing to drive in the 335d/330d. Because of all the torque, it's easier to just have a 'normal' drive, while still having a lot of power to motor on when you want to. In the 135i, though it was relatively easy to drive slowly and normally compared with other similar petrol engines without the 135i's torque and turbo(s), it was more difficult for me personally, to drive it in a 'normal', calm manner. When overtaking, I always felt a bit conscious because of all the noise the car makes on the outside, even when not completely flooring it. I didn't want to give any old dears a heart attack - I just wanted to be going a bit quicker than they did! That sound and character of the engine is, of course, what drew me to the 135i in the first place (from the 335d), but I realised I actually missed the 335d when I got it (the 335d was my first diesel, and my first auto;?both being revelations). Sometimes you don't want to be tearing around all over the place; sometimes you just want to have a nice leisurely drive, without any drama, and - though possible to achieve - that's not really what the 135i was about, so it didn't suit that style of driving as well. For me (it won't be the same for everyone), I felt like the engine was encouraging me due to its character and sound; and I found myself driving no differently to how I would in my Cooper S at age 18; which to be honest, I didn't really find fun or fulfilling anymore, and which wasn't always appropriate!
-With the 335d and now 330d, I feel it's a good compromise: 'waftability', refinement and effortlessness when you want it, but also some decent grunt (and actually a pretty nice, meaty, muted roar under hard acceleration, which s particularly nice for a diesel!), I feel it's a much better all-rounder, and a lot more flexible, while still having a very sporty edge
-Specific to the 135i (not 335i) going to any F30: as well as the practicality, my needs and priorities have really changed recently. For over 10 years I've had hard, bumpy suspension, I've had suspension and engines tuned and modified etc (in my Mini), and I feel I'm personally done with tearing around all over the place. I now feel I want a bit more comfort and 'luxury' when driving about, but still with the option to have some fun, and the power to be able to get around others - or manage situations - as I've always been used to, if the need arises. I've spec'd the Adaptive M Sport suspension in the 330d, which I'm hoping will give me a very comfortable and compliant ride in Comfort mode, but will then transform the car when in Sport mode, when I'm in the mood. But I just want the choice now.
Obviously this won't be the same for everyone, but this is my personal experience and my own personal views on the cars, and what I want from a car now. Both are brilliant and exceptional cars and engines, but are just very different.
I loved the 135i, and will be sorry to see it go; but, for me, it's time to move on, and I'm sure that the fantastic new F30 - particularly with the Adaptive Suspension - will be the best of both worlds for me. And obviously the significant improvement in fuel consumption will be a nice bonus! The emissions @ 129 are also ridiculous for the size and performance of the engine - what an achievement! It's not just economy that draws people (including me) to Diesel engines now; it's also the torque difference, and with BMW Diesel engines being so responsive and sporty, and even sounding pretty nice, there are even fewer advantages to getting the petrol equivalent now, than there used to be. For me, a big 6-cylinder diesel is the way to go, and they'll only keep getting better!
Last edited by MarkW83; 11-18-2012 at 12:08 PM.