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      11-15-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
oop north
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330d SE saloon for four days

Here's the spec:

Registration Number YA12 EHC

F30 330d SE Saloon N57T 3.0d
Mineral Grey Metallic
Black Dakota leather
18" light alloy wheels Star-spoke style
Brushed Aluminium Trim
Armrest. front with sliding adjustment
High-gloss Black interior trim finisher
Electric Glass Sunroof
Sun protection glass
Ext. mirrors - folding. auto dimming
Elec Fr Seats + Driver Memory
Lumbar support. driver and front pass.
Seat heating. front
Lane departure warning system
Interior comfort package
Media package - BMW Professional Multime
Visibility package

Mileage on delivery was 1500 or so

I specifically wanted to try an SE as was not really bothered about driving the sport - though EBII is about the only colour that I find interesting - most seem rather boring (the grey is almost identical to the colour of my car, my wife's car and my bro in law's car so would prefer a change). I currently have Subaru Outback diesel, which was the "sensible" car to get after the Discovery 3 I had was unreliable. Not had 4wd previously (other than 1992 Subaru Legacy turbo) but live on a farm and the additional traction is more than welcome (not just snow - Lancashire is generally a tad damp, and the lanes are often filthy with mud)

I didn't try a lot of the gizmos out, as I was more bothered with how it drove. Not sure how much detail you all want but here are my thoughts:

VISIBILITY - view through rear view mirror a bit of a narrow slot, though it didn't seem to cause any real difficulties. That was with rear headrests folded down - would be worse with them up, and would not want to have non-folding ones. Don't know if touring better rear view? The touring's wiper appears pathetically short... Al round visibility seemed very good. Xenon lights very good

MPG (all according to trip computer as only did 200-ish miles) - achieved over 50 with eco pro sitting on the M61 at about 70mph with cruise control on. I think for commuting and long journeys I would happily have eco pro on the whole time. On general running round, an indicated 40-45 seems possible. On delivery it was showing about 38 I think - don't know how long that covered. Rapid cross country use provided considerably lower figures, though!

PACE - veeeeeery rapid, but very easy to drive gently too. Need to push your foot down quite deliberately to get speed and supremely easy to potter about. I like that a lot - don't like a car that is too eager and difficult to drive smoothly

AUTO - a bit of a delay when putting your foot down though I didn't play with sport setting very much - and, as I had signed an agreement not to turn the traction control off, I didn't try sport+ at all. The change seemed very good though occasionally a bit lumpy

TRACTION - I would like 4wd I think (though I don't think it is ever coming) as the traction light was on quite often when the roads were damp, and when bumpy as well as damp (maybe a few autumn leaves too) gave a bit of a feeling of needing to "hang on" as the back end moved around a little even driving in a straight line. In the dry, though, there was plenty of grip. If I got with 2wd I would definitely go for a winter wheels/tyres package: I have very bad memories of the snow three years ago when I had the 530d sport...

HANDLING - difficult to say as with a loan car for a short period it is difficult to assess safely. I did have a couple of cracking late night cross country drives on dry roads, though they were more of the point and squirt variety. Happy enough with it not to think I needed the M Sport

SEATS - though I would spec the sport seats if at all possible (had in three previous BMWs and they are the most comfortable seats I have ever found, though my wife prefers the Volvo). Haven't looked closely at the standard cloth - fancy leather but then you are into having heated seats, and the cost goes up uncomfortably

RIDE - pretty good, I thought - occasional thumps and bumps over ridges etc but comfortable enough. Would be interested to see what an adaptive car is like

ROAD NOISE - very, very disappointed, though based on other threads on here it might be due to the Bridgestones. Would have liked to try 17" wheels to see if any better. I should say that my wife and two business colleagues disagreed over the road noise, but there was a really annoying funny pitched sound that was giving me a headache quite quickly. I drove a 320 ED for comparison and that had a lot of tyre noise too, I thought. Confusingly, though, when I drove the Subaru again (which has all weather tyres) I noticed it had a lot of road noise too, but not at the annoying pitch of the 18" Bridgestones

STEREO - just the basic one. It sounded better than I had expected (my 2003 E39 525d SE touring had such a bad stereo that I would not have got it had I known in advance) but the high notes were a bit screechy and lower notes (eg double bass) were indistinct. Not bad enough to think I could not live with a particular car if I found one with standard system (though I would be looking into some sort of upgrade in any event), but bad enough to know I would want HK if at all possible

PETTY ANNOYANCES - Intermittent wiper on fastest auto speed was usually a bit too slow. Don't know if that can be altered, but I seemed to have to constantly adjust, so worse than the system I had on a 1998 VW Golf! At night the illuminated headlight switch reflected in the driver door glass just where I was looking at the mirror. In day light, reflections from the dash top in the windscreen were annoying. Indicator repeaters in door mirror a bit bright at night. Found the return to a menu on the main display every time you restarted the car a bit irritating - though with a bit more time I guess I could programme the numbered buttons to get me the display I wanted easily: most of the time I would just turn it off, after the first few days of playing anyway

STOP START - perfectly happy with the way this worked - did so remarkably quickly from cold, and the slight shudder as it restarts is neither here nor there. Although it started quite quickly the delay was enough to make it feel as though it was slowing me down a bit on getaway form standstill. Overall very happy with it and wouldn't turn off, unless the traffic was such that i was stopping for only a couple of seconds at a time

SIZE - just right for me and reminded me of my E39 530d sport. Quite big enough (given the Mrs has XC90) for me. Not sure if I would have to have touring, I think I'd probably like to - forgot to check that my electric bass hard travel case would fit in the saloon - as when I have had just a saloon I have quite often wished for an estate. Folding seat would fix that for most things. Though a 135i is a possibility (or more sensibly a 125d I suppose) and would probably be OK for size

OVERALL FEEL - liked very much and reminded me of my much loved E39 530d sport

MINIMUM SPEC - I would have sport seats, xenons, interior comfort pack and HK as a very happy basic spec, if ordering from scratch

DECISION - well, I would like to have one, but I think I will be waiting to see what xdrive models come out with the touring first, so will look at again next year. Hopefully my wife will be happier with the thought of me getting a new car by then. Ideally, I would have 330d SE xdrive touring with the minimum spec described above - if buying new. But not that bothered about it being brand new to me so a few months old / ex demo would be nice (though only M sports are available at the moment). I do have a slight reservation regarding ground clearance given the number of floods i have had to wade through this year - given I think the X3 is ugly I'm not sure where that leaves me. Maybe I need to keep the Subaru for a couple more years so it is worth even less and then get a 330d for better weather use! Erm, or just get another Caterham...
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      11-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
JOHNBMWM5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oop north View Post
Here's the spec:

Registration Number YA12 EHC

F30 330d SE Saloon N57T 3.0d
Mineral Grey Metallic
Black Dakota leather
18" light alloy wheels Star-spoke style
Brushed Aluminium Trim
Armrest. front with sliding adjustment
High-gloss Black interior trim finisher
Electric Glass Sunroof
Sun protection glass
Ext. mirrors - folding. auto dimming
Elec Fr Seats + Driver Memory
Lumbar support. driver and front pass.
Seat heating. front
Lane departure warning system
Interior comfort package
Media package - BMW Professional Multime
Visibility package

Mileage on delivery was 1500 or so

I specifically wanted to try an SE as was not really bothered about driving the sport - though EBII is about the only colour that I find interesting - most seem rather boring (the grey is almost identical to the colour of my car, my wife's car and my bro in law's car so would prefer a change). I currently have Subaru Outback diesel, which was the "sensible" car to get after the Discovery 3 I had was unreliable. Not had 4wd previously (other than 1992 Subaru Legacy turbo) but live on a farm and the additional traction is more than welcome (not just snow - Lancashire is generally a tad damp, and the lanes are often filthy with mud)

I didn't try a lot of the gizmos out, as I was more bothered with how it drove. Not sure how much detail you all want but here are my thoughts:

VISIBILITY - view through rear view mirror a bit of a narrow slot, though it didn't seem to cause any real difficulties. That was with rear headrests folded down - would be worse with them up, and would not want to have non-folding ones. Don't know if touring better rear view? The touring's wiper appears pathetically short... Al round visibility seemed very good. Xenon lights very good

MPG (all according to trip computer as only did 200-ish miles) - achieved over 50 with eco pro sitting on the M61 at about 70mph with cruise control on. I think for commuting and long journeys I would happily have eco pro on the whole time. On general running round, an indicated 40-45 seems possible. On delivery it was showing about 38 I think - don't know how long that covered. Rapid cross country use provided considerably lower figures, though!

PACE - veeeeeery rapid, but very easy to drive gently too. Need to push your foot down quite deliberately to get speed and supremely easy to potter about. I like that a lot - don't like a car that is too eager and difficult to drive smoothly

AUTO - a bit of a delay when putting your foot down though I didn't play with sport setting very much - and, as I had signed an agreement not to turn the traction control off, I didn't try sport+ at all. The change seemed very good though occasionally a bit lumpy

TRACTION - I would like 4wd I think (though I don't think it is ever coming) as the traction light was on quite often when the roads were damp, and when bumpy as well as damp (maybe a few autumn leaves too) gave a bit of a feeling of needing to "hang on" as the back end moved around a little even driving in a straight line. In the dry, though, there was plenty of grip. If I got with 2wd I would definitely go for a winter wheels/tyres package: I have very bad memories of the snow three years ago when I had the 530d sport...

HANDLING - difficult to say as with a loan car for a short period it is difficult to assess safely. I did have a couple of cracking late night cross country drives on dry roads, though they were more of the point and squirt variety. Happy enough with it not to think I needed the M Sport

SEATS - though I would spec the sport seats if at all possible (had in three previous BMWs and they are the most comfortable seats I have ever found, though my wife prefers the Volvo). Haven't looked closely at the standard cloth - fancy leather but then you are into having heated seats, and the cost goes up uncomfortably

RIDE - pretty good, I thought - occasional thumps and bumps over ridges etc but comfortable enough. Would be interested to see what an adaptive car is like

ROAD NOISE - very, very disappointed, though based on other threads on here it might be due to the Bridgestones. Would have liked to try 17" wheels to see if any better. I should say that my wife and two business colleagues disagreed over the road noise, but there was a really annoying funny pitched sound that was giving me a headache quite quickly. I drove a 320 ED for comparison and that had a lot of tyre noise too, I thought. Confusingly, though, when I drove the Subaru again (which has all weather tyres) I noticed it had a lot of road noise too, but not at the annoying pitch of the 18" Bridgestones

STEREO - just the basic one. It sounded better than I had expected (my 2003 E39 525d SE touring had such a bad stereo that I would not have got it had I known in advance) but the high notes were a bit screechy and lower notes (eg double bass) were indistinct. Not bad enough to think I could not live with a particular car if I found one with standard system (though I would be looking into some sort of upgrade in any event), but bad enough to know I would want HK if at all possible

PETTY ANNOYANCES - Intermittent wiper on fastest auto speed was usually a bit too slow. Don't know if that can be altered, but I seemed to have to constantly adjust, so worse than the system I had on a 1998 VW Golf! At night the illuminated headlight switch reflected in the driver door glass just where I was looking at the mirror. In day light, reflections from the dash top in the windscreen were annoying. Indicator repeaters in door mirror a bit bright at night. Found the return to a menu on the main display every time you restarted the car a bit irritating - though with a bit more time I guess I could programme the numbered buttons to get me the display I wanted easily: most of the time I would just turn it off, after the first few days of playing anyway

STOP START - perfectly happy with the way this worked - did so remarkably quickly from cold, and the slight shudder as it restarts is neither here nor there. Although it started quite quickly the delay was enough to make it feel as though it was slowing me down a bit on getaway form standstill. Overall very happy with it and wouldn't turn off, unless the traffic was such that i was stopping for only a couple of seconds at a time

SIZE - just right for me and reminded me of my E39 530d sport. Quite big enough (given the Mrs has XC90) for me. Not sure if I would have to have touring, I think I'd probably like to - forgot to check that my electric bass hard travel case would fit in the saloon - as when I have had just a saloon I have quite often wished for an estate. Folding seat would fix that for most things. Though a 135i is a possibility (or more sensibly a 125d I suppose) and would probably be OK for size

OVERALL FEEL - liked very much and reminded me of my much loved E39 530d sport

MINIMUM SPEC - I would have sport seats, xenons, interior comfort pack and HK as a very happy basic spec, if ordering from scratch

DECISION - well, I would like to have one, but I think I will be waiting to see what xdrive models come out with the touring first, so will look at again next year. Hopefully my wife will be happier with the thought of me getting a new car by then. Ideally, I would have 330d SE xdrive touring with the minimum spec described above - if buying new. But not that bothered about it being brand new to me so a few months old / ex demo would be nice (though only M sports are available at the moment). I do have a slight reservation regarding ground clearance given the number of floods i have had to wade through this year - given I think the X3 is ugly I'm not sure where that leaves me. Maybe I need to keep the Subaru for a couple more years so it is worth even less and then get a 330d for better weather use! Erm, or just get another Caterham...
Nice personal review, not my findings at all though with these cars. The tyres are the culprits IMO, as the Contisports I have on the loaner and on other 330D m sports I have driven are super quiet.
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