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      09-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
RobUK
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Northumberland... and back (incl lots of pics)

Just returned from a 3 week break (what do you mean you didn't even notice I was gone?) and some 2,500 miles or so travelling from Sussex to North Yorkshire, on the Northumberland and back again. Learned a lot about living with the 328i both as a driver and a passenger on motorways and twisty country lanes. Anyway, thought I'd share my experiences...

The Motorway
We traveled from Sussex up to Richmond in North Yorkshire, a journey of around 320 miles on motorways and dual carriageways. The big surprise was that six hours at a steady 70-75mph saw 50.9 mpg on the OBC, well chuffed. What's more, the seats 'with everything' (that's electric, lumbar, blah blah) meant I got to the far end with no back stiffness or soreness - something I couldn't do in my old BM'. Overall the 328i came across as an accomplished mile-muncher - quiet and refined and without needing to rev it to make good progress. In fact on the new section of the A1 where they've laid some special new quiet road surface, all you could really hear was the wind around the wing mirrors. Result was that the journey didn't feel tiring, and 'she who must be obeyed' even complimented the car, praise indeed from someone who's daily driver is an RX450h. I did watch a review that criticized the fixed rear headrests as obstructing rear vision but neither of us had any problem with visibility.

Twisty Yorkshire Roads
Did lots of exploring which took us off the beaten track and the car seemed perfectly composed round around all the twisty country lanes and road surfaces (except when the satnav led us astray!). The other half did quite a bit of driving and she's probably a bit quicker than me round the lanes. She really liked the fact that you can prod the throttle at pretty much any speed and the car surges off to get round the odd cyclist or caravan, and not in a jerky/twitchy way of a highly tuned sports car just a great combination of auto box and engine. Have to say, as a passenger it never felt like I was being thrown around, (standard) suspension dealt pretty well with all but the most rutted roads. Also had a spell in the back to see what it was like and again it was a nice place to be as we wafted along past some stunning Yorkshire Dales countryside - glad I got the factory tints. No problems either with steering weight - doesn't feel over-assisted at when you're pressing on (without going bonkers) the car feels really nice and stable around you, you still get the sense of what's going on.

Onwards To Berwick-Upon-Tweed
A leisurely 120 mile drive on up the A1 to Berwick (via some obscure country pub near Hexham). More of the same, dual carriageways and single lane A roads where the car was great for getting round lorries, tractors and locals when the opportunity presented itself. Arrived at a great B&B - if you ever go to Berwick, check out the Granary Guest House - absolutely top rate accommodation and the breakfasts are spectacular… Raspberry Pikelets with lemon zest and mascarpone, or vanilla porridge with caramelised bananas… and the car gets it's own private parking spot!

Lindisfarne, the Holy Island
Never been there before made the half hour journey, driving across the causeway that's only accessible at low tide. Most of the day was out of the car but did take a few snaps.

More Castles
This time the car did a 'satnav special' when traveling from Bamburgh Castle to Warkworth Castle… to you and me that's taking us down an un-made-up track with grass growing up the middle! Sure it was technically the shorter route, but 3 miles at 10mph down a rutted farm track wasn't exactly quick! What's more we passed a lady walking her dog who looked most surprised to see a shiny red BMW and I could see what she was thinking…. (it's probably not repeatable)

Back To Yorkshire
After reversing out of a parking space, the passenger mirror refused to rest itself to the driving position. It was fine when I manually adjusted it, but for the next couple of days it did the same thing. Engage reverse, mirror dips to show the kerb, engage drive, mirror stays put and has to be manually reset. It's sorted itself now but I'll keep an eye on it. Also the headlights are now on permanently if the switch is set to 'auto'. Even in bright sunshine the headlights are on, yet the satnav and HUD switch between light/dark settings correctly. Only way to not have the headlights on seems to be to manually turn them to 'off'. Going to have to visit the dealer for that one.

Exploring Yorkshire Some More
Now it's a fight for who gets to drive! Well to be honest I don't mind being ferried around and it means I can enjoy an ale or two at lunchtime as well. The best feature of this car is the BMW Remote app. Being able to tap a pub name and village into the Google Search on the phone and then send it to the car so it's there by the time you get outside is such a time saver, specially as postcodes in that part of the world can send you a mile or two out your way. Mpg has dropped to a still reasonable 43.8 round the country lanes. If you've a mind to it, the Eco Pro mode might be more useful on the twisties, but it 'dulls' the car so much we rarely used it. On motorways it's useful but not so much for saving fuel, rather in dampening out small movements in the throttle which helps you maintain a constant speed. If there's one criticism I have of the 328i unit it's that it sounds a little harsh at higher revs, probably where the 335i starts to sound sweet?

Homewards
A family emergency meant we had to cut short our trip and we departed Yorkshire at 7:30pm on a wet wet Monday evening. It was getting dark and fair lashing it down. I have to say that after an uncertain introduction to this adaptive headlights/high beam assist thing, I am now really sold on it! The way it can illuminate the verge and/or the central reservation while not dazzling other traffic is just amazing and it improved visibility in driving rain no end. Worth every penny just for that trip alone! What's more we didn't get flashed once by oncoming motorists.

Overall I'm well pleased with the performance, comfort and refinement of this car. Yes there a few niggles - standard sound system sucks, ventilation fan starts every time you start the car and the stop/start can catch you out once or twice. Also I've no idea why BMW won't offer the HUD in combination with the grey-shade windscreen (the other half has both on her Lexus) so I'm getting a window tinter to fix that on Monday. Still, as a multi-role motor that's as at home cruising the motorway as it is swooping round bendy roads, it's tough to beat. What's more, we had five adults in the car for one trip and the car seemed just as composed. We also had the use of the mother-in-law's Evoque S4i and while very comfy and great for some muddy car parks, I'd still take the 328i as my daily driver.

If you're still awake after my musings, here are some pics...

Setting out... the car is loaded up (but you wouldn't notice)


I'm guessing that photo wasn't staged!


The causeway


Car gets pride of place at the B&B


Start of the satnav special... call that a road surface?!


It gets worse...


Newcastle, first time I've seen 3D buildings on the satnav


Warkworth Castle


Between Swaledale and Wensleydale


Clouds... hills... car


The mother-in-law's pride and joy (for muddy occasions!)
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      09-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Between Swaledale and Wensleydale

This one's incredible....how did you set the camera for this?
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      09-05-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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How does she like the Evoque? Would you guys say that's a "chick car" (no offense to any ladies on the board)?

I kind of like it, cool looking.. but the larger X3 wiped the floor with it in a compare despite being a good amount bigger, and I image the X1 would dominate it even more... but still, cool looking vehicle. But mostly I've seen women driving them so wonder if it's too small for a man to drive.......

Awesome pictures, by the way.
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      09-05-2012, 11:32 PM   #4
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Thank you for sharing your write-up and your photos ! I especially like the dramatic last photo - very nice post-editing !

You have brought back some great memories of the Northeast part of England.
We look forward to returning to Yorkshire and Northumbria.
Cheers !
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      09-05-2012, 11:55 PM   #5
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That's all ?? You surely must have more photos to share with us....

that could not be the end of it...

[sacarsm] please do share your crappy photos with us....[/sacarsm]
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      09-06-2012, 12:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobUK View Post
Just returned from a 3 week break (what do you mean you didn't even notice I was gone?) and some 2,500 miles or so travelling from Sussex to North Yorkshire, on the Northumberland and back again. Learned a lot about living with the 328i both as a driver and a passenger on motorways and twisty country lanes. Anyway, thought I'd share my experiences...


If you're still awake after my musings, here are some pics...


It gets worse...




Between Swaledale and Wensleydale

Fun read.
Sounds like a great trip.

I've heard of English country lanes, but that "road" looks like oxen still travel it.

Great pict of you car in the foreground.
Excellent shot!

I had the same issue with my 335i and the side mirror dipping on reverse.
It too sorted itself after a few missteps, no problems since.
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      09-06-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtuds View Post
This one's incredible....how did you set the camera for this?
I cheated, I actually edited the photo in a program called FX Photo Studio to get that effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisny View Post
How does she like the Evoque? Would you guys say that's a "chick car" (no offense to any ladies on the board)?

I kind of like it, cool looking.. but the larger X3 wiped the floor with it in a compare despite being a good amount bigger, and I image the X1 would dominate it even more... but still, cool looking vehicle. But mostly I've seen women driving them so wonder if it's too small for a man to drive.......

Awesome pictures, by the way.
Thanks

Over in the UK they're selling Evoques as fast as they make them, but I'm not sure what the demographic is for who's buying them. True I have seen more women driving them than men, but that could be just my observation.

I did actually look at the Evoque when I was considering the 328i. On the plus side it's got the proper off-road capability which is becoming more useful these days. Last year when up in Yorkshire we had to contend with minor floods and road debris that would have challenged a 'regular' saloon. Also I quite like the styling, the interior is very luxurious and the S4i is reasonably quick for most occasions, although slower and worse mpg than the 328i. In the end it was the question over reliability that finally put me off. As to the mother-in-law, she loves it. She did try both the X1 and X3 but if I'm honest it was the cache of having a Range Rover plus the styling that probably swayed her, plus over here it's still a little bit different (although getting less so).
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      09-06-2012, 06:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekS View Post
Thank you for sharing your write-up and your photos ! I especially like the dramatic last photo - very nice post-editing !

You have brought back some great memories of the Northeast part of England.
We look forward to returning to Yorkshire and Northumbria.
Cheers !
You're welcome. Other half's family have a place near Richmond in North Yorkshire so we spend some time there each year - first time for the F30 though and it got the thumbs up!

..and if you're ever near Berwick-Upon-Tweed I can heartliy recommend that B&B. I'll post some pics of the room - it was that good, plus the individual parking spot was the icing on the cake!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivenByE30 View Post
That's all ?? You surely must have more photos to share with us....

that could not be the end of it...

[sacarsm] please do share your crappy photos with us....[/sacarsm]
Will post a few more pics... once I've vetted them
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      09-06-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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Great pics! Looks like an enjoyable to "The North"
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      09-06-2012, 09:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for the concise yet perfectly engaging review and photos. It was an extremely enjoyable read!
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      09-06-2012, 10:29 AM   #11
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Nice! I was up Northumberland the other week, enjoyed my car there very much!
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      09-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I cheated, I actually edited the photo in a program called FX Photo Studio to get that effect.



Thanks
Whatever works, it looks awesome
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      09-06-2012, 04:31 PM   #13
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Nice review - well done.

Incidentally, I think my F30 might have the thing with the headlights staying on, possibly only with one of my keys though so it might be a setting somewhere. I've yet to test this out properly.
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      09-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobUK View Post
Also I quite like the styling, the interior is very luxurious and the S4i is reasonably quick for most occasions, although slower and worse mpg than the 328i. In the end it was the question over reliability that finally put me off..
That basically sums up my decision a few years ago when I had an E70 X5 4.8 that I chose over the RR Sport Supercharged. Loved the styling and the fact that, while they were becoming more prevalent, they were still less "around" than X5's.. but the X5 out performed it all around, and the reliability was what turned me off as well. That and the handling, too top heavy, especially compared to the X5 and the Infiniti FX45 I had been driving before I got the X5. The Range Rovers are damn tempting though. After my X5 lease was up, I looked at them again for my wife, and again, chose to pass because I was worried about reliability..............
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