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      08-28-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
mgarvey
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1000 miles in - my observations

Well, I've had my 318d Sport some 1000 miles now, and whilst still not really run in there are a number of observations and questions. This isn't a full review - just bits and pieces that stand out in my mind.

Stuff I expected


As always, the 3-er offers a fluid drive, smoother than either my E91, E93 or Mini, with a much better ride. It feels a proper grown up car, yet you can fling it about when you want to.

Build quality is superb bar a single rattle. All surfaces are tactile, materials solid and it all looks good.

Pleasant surprises

The i-drive system has become really quite good now. It is easy to navigate, fairly intuitive and the 8 shortcut buttons means you can set up the car how you want. I have 5 radio stations preset, plus a button to show what phone is synced to bluetooth (sometimes my work phone syncs first, and sometimes my personal one), one to select the USB port as the music source (more on that later), and one for the trip computer.

The way that if you hover your finger lightly over the shortcut buttons the display tells you what the button does before you press it - neat!

Ride quality. I have 18" runflats and it is orders of magnitudes better than any E9x I've had before. Only with really low speed driving (<15mph) do you have problems as the car bounces about a bit.

Engine smoothness and quietness, which is improved over my old E91 320d. To put this in perspective, when I first took my brother-in-law out in it he said to me 'so is this a 2-litre petrol then?' and was a bit shocked when I told him it was a diesel.

Steering feel, which with servotronic has just the right balance of lightness and feel.

Economy, in that the average is over 50mpg since I bought the car and rising. I reckon it'll beat my Mini Cooper D's 53mpg when it is properly run in.

The plastic backs to the front seats (without storage pockets), which means the kids' muddy footprints can be wiped off.

Gripes

USB and CD are now on the same 'mode' of the audio system, which means hitting the audio mode button no longer cycles through them - you have to go into the i-drive menu system to select between the two. I've sorted this now by storing a shortcut button to select USB.

The gearchange is still a bit notchy and requires manhandling. Typical BMW fare, and it might loosen up over time, but I had hoped it would be a bit less hard work in the F30.

I have a rattle on the gear lever. It is a small noise that goes away when I apply pressure to the top of the gear lever. Should be easy enough to get sorted.

The 3 series is getting a bit too big now. Brought it home to me when I parked it next to my wife's Nissan Qashqai +2 seven-seat MPV/4x4 crossover and realised the F30 is actually bigger.

Limited storage space and cubby holes without the storage pack.

It was quite hard to get the driving position just right, with the main issue being getting the steering wheel to a position where I can see the top and bottom of the dashboard at the same time. Done it now, but it took a few goes at it.


Question(s)


So what does the driving mode switch do on a manual car with no adaptive suspension? It clearly changes the extent to which the car 'nags' you to change gear, and there may be a change to the throttle response, but I'm not sure it does much else that is noticeable. That said, when I did a 100 mile trip on Eco Pro I got 60mpg, and the same trip (coming home) I only achieved 50mpg in Sport, so it must do something!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

With the benefit of hindsight, choosing Sport over SE was a good call, and I'm happy with the 318d performance (I had considered a 320d but would've had to drop to SE with no options).

I think the auto may have been a better choice than manual. On the test drive I actually liked the manual more and felt the auto was a bit indecisive, but now I think the auto would've been nice. Of course, if I had chosen the auto I'd now probably be saying I should've got a manual!

I miss the extra cubby holes the storage pack would've provided, and satnav is probably worth considering as i-drive feels a bit kind of empty without the extra features. I really couldn't have stretched my budget to it anyway, but maybe next time!
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Last edited by mgarvey; 08-28-2012 at 05:09 PM.
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      08-29-2012, 04:39 AM   #2
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Nice summary, considered and well written 10/10!
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      08-30-2012, 01:40 AM   #3
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Good write up and sounds like you are enjoying it

The shortcut buttons arrived on the MY2008, so my e90 has then - did your 2007 325i not then? Agree they are so useful and I too love the way you hover over them to preview what they do !
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      08-30-2012, 04:23 AM   #4
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My E93 didn't have i-drive so I don't think so - or if I did I never spotted the preview function.
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      08-30-2012, 04:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgarvey
My E93 didn't have i-drive so I don't think so - or if I did I never spotted the preview function.
Ahh , yes they only came with idrive
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      08-30-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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Anyone have any definitive view on what is actually affected by the driving mode button?

From what I can gather:

Gear selector 'nannying' advice - Yes
Throttle response - Probably
Steering - not noticeably, but maybe Eco Pro turns the power assistance down a bit
Gear shift - not on a manual
Suspension - not without Adaptive damping
Aircon and electrical power settings - probably on Eco Pro

Anything else?
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      08-30-2012, 12:16 PM   #7
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I noticed a huge difference in throttle map and steering weight on a 335i I test drove

Reallt, you're not going to get the most from the different modes until you get servotronic steering (VSS would do the same), active suspension and the 8AT transmission.
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      08-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgarvey View Post
satnav is probably worth considering as i-drive feels a bit kind of empty without the extra features. I really couldn't have stretched my budget to it anyway, but maybe next time!
I agree completely!
Very good write up, congrats on the car. Any Pictures?
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      08-30-2012, 04:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolDude196 View Post
I agree completely!
Very good write up, congrats on the car. Any Pictures?
Here is the thread I started when I got the car - with several pics

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=730923
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      08-31-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgarvey View Post
....Ride quality. I have 18" runflats and it is orders of magnitudes better than any E9x I've had before. Only with really low speed driving (<15mph) do you have problems as the car bounces about a bit.
Agree with what you are saying for the standard suspension, good blend but an odd low speed sensation. I wrote this comment in my review of the F30 328i I tested.

Quote:
I took the car into a busy car park (Garden Centre) to try congested areas and some speed bumps. The car goes over the speed bumps in the strangest way, hard to describe, but seems far too bouncy for the ride and control you get out on the road. I’m sure this is the ‘odd ball’ from how BMW have tuned the suspension in such a fine way, for a blend of comfort and decent control.
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      08-31-2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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Totally agree - the way the car goes over low speed bumps was a little surprising. My first run out took me to my uncle's holiday home down a bumpy gravel track, and the lurching ride took me by surprise after its smooth and composed ride at normal speeds.
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