Monday, 12 July 2010

BMW 320d Sports

If the BMW 320d that you see above epitomizes the dawn of the modern turbo-diesel passenger cars in Malaysia, it is very promising indeed. Promising because it sips a maximum of only 8.1l/100km even with my persistent ('DS' mode) and absolutely maniacal highway blasts - with a power delivery that is absolutely intoxicating albeit churned out from a narrower powerband than a petrol motor. Even more promising is that it will beat the petrol-powered 320i hands down and renders it irrelevant. Most promising when the newer 'facelift' 320d will boast even higher outputs come year end (?) versus the current stock state-of-tune's 177 bhp + 350 Nm combo.

Needless to say, the E90's handling dynamics and steering's ability to convey agility/confident feel/feedback are one of the best in business. However, this is one selfish car. It will make the driver very happy, but less so the other occupants. Okay, perhaps the babe (or as the case may be: guy) riding along side will still be quite alright. Unlike the Mercedes W204 C-Class the rear seats are quite useless. They are cramped - with high central transmission tunnel not helping things and awkward curving side bolsters at the lateral shoulder level - ouch!

On rough and bad road surfaces, it just gets too jarring for the rear occupants . This sports suspension equipped E90 will easily induce car-sickness for back passengers, especially on B-roads as attested by my young ones. The other turn-off - for me at least least - is the gruffy idling (read: loud) and the incessant idling vibrations transmitted through the steering column, seat bottom and door trim which makes the 320d rather unbecoming for a premium Conti junior executive.

So in conclusion, if you love the drive of say, a Mk6 Golf GTI but would like something with a proper boot, a 'classier' badge and something that returns way higher kilometers to the litre of fuel, this should be top in your list. There is no other diesel-powered saloon like this at this price point, with such engaging and sporting intent. Just make sure you are a single yuppie - and loving it - or if you are married (without kids) you have a mother-in-law whom you would like to shake off from following you on roadtrips!

Related posts:

2009 BMW 3-series facelift
Test Driven: BMW 320i SE


chun said...

Test drove this car when it was first launched. I was really hyped that BMW brought in a diesel, having read so much about their engine. I was however left disappointed. Torque feels OK for a diesel, but was expecting a lot more. I drove a MkV GTI at the time and felt that the GTI was a more entertaining drive. And with the MkVI out now, the interior is even better than the 320d. The only point I see for the 320d over a GTI is the superior fuel economy (and badge). Plus the boot in the GTI is plenty sufficient for most people.

Raymond Tan said...

Great write up Max and a great car! What else is there to say? Sorry Chun, but I feel you are sadly mistaken...but every man has a right to his opinion. Here is mine. The 320d won the compact Executive WhatCar of the year 2010 award. It is a car with a force-to-be-reckoned speed-demon aura. Practical as a day-to-day car, fast and furious when the horns choose to sprout out(as they always seem to do when you are in this car) and respectable when the occasion calls for it e.g.-a drive up the hotel lobby to pick up friends or acquaintances of repute and high-standing. The Golf, as much as it has always been touted to be a driver's car(which it is), it still is very much a young man's car,(I almost used the word boy, but restraint then reared it's sensible head) and at the end of the day, it's still a hatchback with maybe, it's better days behind it(you do seem to hear less and less written about it these days). Picking up the company's overseas New York bosses from KLIA in the Golf may not be the wisest thing to do if you want to make a respectable first impression and have plans of climbing up the corporate ladder, not to mention that their luggages may need fit into the boot. So, let's not compare the GTI to the 320d . Autocar did a write up recently and the C250 CGI went up against the 320d. Now that's a more formidable challenger. Thank you.

Raymond Tan said...

And I get 7.1L/100km , even better than Max's 8.1L/100km. And yes, I drive it a lot in DS mode too.

chun said...

Let me be clear about something; 1) I am a big diesel fan. 2) If I had to buy a BMW in the RM200k+ range, the 320d is hands down my first choice. (The 320i is a poser mobile and the most delicious Bimmers with the 3litre turbos are significantly higher in price that puts them out of reach of many). But the fact is there are more choices than ever.

You are right that strictly speaking, the GTI and 320d are not in the same segment. And certainly, if you throw in the 'status' card, a compact executive car is conventionally 'preferable' if you are into that sort of thing (which from your post, you most certainly are). Not everyone wants to impress everyone else.
Anyway to clarify my point; the performance from the 320d was disappointing when I demoed it that day, and to compare with what I was driving at the moment in time, the GTI, it was a let down and hence my decision not to buy it. You are right that the GTI is not the best car for me to compare with, the Passat CC is. And that is much more of a looker with an amazing drivetrain to boot, better interior, bigger boot, CBU, and cheaper.

chun said...

You did mention that "the 320d won the compact Executive WhatCar of the year 2010 award," and on the GTI "it's better days behind it(you do seem to hear less and less written about it these days)".

You did not mention that the VW GTI MkVI won not one magazine's category award, but just last year's 2009 World Car of the Year Award with a car journalists from just about every major car publication.

drlong said...

Hey, you guys are right in pointing out the GTI (the Golf, not the poser Polo) are not in the same class. However, both are in C-segment, with rump or otherwise.

One's an iconic hot hatch while the other is a benchmark junior exec, both over many generations.

I can't help bringing in the latest VW Mk6 GTI into the picture because at the rate the BMW 320d is being discounted (pre-reg, demos et al) the purchase price point hovers dangerously close to the latest GTI, in Malaysia. So much so I shortlisted both cars for my wife before we decided to go with Wolfsburg's camp.

As for the 320d, you just gotta drive in 'DS' most of the time to get rid of the turbo lag.

Happy motoring guys :)

Raymond Tan said...

The Golf 1.4TSI won the small family car section WhatCar award

The 320d won the WhatCar compact exec car of the year

Overall the Peugeot 3008 won the WhatCar of the year award 2010

The Golf Polo won the covetted overall 2010 prize

Raymond Tan said...

So all are good cars...the Passat?...hmmm...for a nett selling price of RM239,888 (in the Peninsula) before you factor in road tax, registration fees and the lot....I would still consider a more premium marque...if you can fork out a few K more....the C250CGI would be very appealing.

Raymond Tan said...

At the end of the day, we have to buy our cars with our hearts...not by looking at statistics and awards. Whatever car we choose, look forwards and not back. Enjoy the ride!...grip that steering wheel with glee and with unsubdued, unbridled enthusiasm! You heard it before...and here I say it again you only live once, so live well!

chun said...

I too am looking at a new car. For a change, the incoming Renaultsport Megane 250 looks absolutely delicious. I do hope you will review that soon!

Raymond Tan said...

WhatCar Hot Hatch Winner 2010 Renault M├ęgane Renaultsport 250 Cup
....they say it's a thrilling confidence-inspiring ride. Go test drive it and then see what your heart tells you Chun!