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Old 12th September 2012, 18:37   #61
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

A fantastic review of a great car. Pics are really awesome. Truly worthy of a 5*.

One question - In case I choose to live with reduced boot space by putting in a space saver & change the RFTs to regular tubeless; what impact would it have on the warranty being offered by BMW?
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Old 12th September 2012, 18:45   #62
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A fantastic review of a great car. Pics are really awesome. Truly worthy of a 5*.

One question - In case I choose to live with reduced boot space by putting in a space saver & change the RFTs to regular tubeless; what impact would it have on the warranty being offered by BMW?
My thinking: Buy the space saver and keep it aside at home, only for use on highway trips. Once warranty is over, one can change to normal tubeless.
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Old 12th September 2012, 19:39   #63
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

Much awaited review and a detailed one, Moralfibre - Thankyou.

One question though, in one of the photos showing engine bay, I observed some brown patches. Is that rust or something else? (esp. Engine -1 and Engine -7 pics)

Also, does anyone know why BMW doesn't include the spare tyre? I mean, the concept behind their decision. Looking at the pics, I see that they have a tightly packed engine bay without any space for the battery. So, they move it behind. Even otherwise, has it go to do with their 50:50 weight balance scenarios?
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Old 12th September 2012, 19:48   #64
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

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Originally Posted by vkaul1 View Post
A fantastic review of a great car. Pics are really awesome. Truly worthy of a 5*.

One question - In case I choose to live with reduced boot space by putting in a space saver & change the RFTs to regular tubeless; what impact would it have on the warranty being offered by BMW?
Warranty is not impacted if you switch to tubeless. Incase you take Secure, the 4 tyre replacements which you get in a year are nullified. Those replacements too, are partly paid by you depending on the tread depth.
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Old 12th September 2012, 20:10   #65
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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Brake drying: When the roads are wet, water gets on the brake discs and pads - reducing friction / braking efficiency. When the car senses these conditions, it constantly applies the brakes very lightly - so that the pads are just barely in contact with the disc. This keeps them both dry, and improves braking when its required.
R
OT

Long back, while sitting in an old TATA Benz truck, I had seen the driver pressing both the accelerator and the brake simultaneously in the first gear soon after the truck waded through some flooded stretch of road, ostensibly to dry the brake pads.
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Old 12th September 2012, 20:33   #66
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When a 3 series is being praised for its ride quality and its automatic transmission and criticized for its trashy steering, you know that the 3 series has died and been replaced with a car that has borrowed the name of a legend that has passed into history.

In the world of cars, the 3 series has been for nearly 40 years one of 2 or 3 standards of what a fine driver's car is. Not just for a sedan, but absolute excellence. Now BMW has abandoned the ethos of "ultimate driving machine" in order to make it a luxury car that will appeal to markets such as China and India.

The F30 may be an excellent luxury car that still has better drivers car credentials than the others because they aren't trying to make drivers cars either, but that doesn't change the fact that with the F30, the world has lost a pinnacle of driving supremacy. It is only in countries like India where the F30 is being celebrated as an improvement for here there is no culture or appreciation of superior sporting cars.

I've no doubt that Indians and Chinese, and people in the west who would otherwise have picked a mercedes or an Audi love the F30. But long standing 3 series fans around the world are in deep mourning.
Absolutely bang on my Friend! You echoed my sentiments. I drove a new 3er couple of days ago and I as I got down I had a big grin on my face, my drive reaffirmed my decision to buy E90! The same corners that I do in my E90 were unnerving in F30. To top it, stripping Nav, Sunroof (on Luxury as compared to Highline, I am not comparing luxury plus as that is a very different price segment).

On the other side, I think 8 speed new Auto is definitely a big bang
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Old 13th September 2012, 02:05   #67
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

Nice review Kiran ! am sure you enjoyed driving the 328i. 6.1 to the ton is quick !!
My thoughts on the car ? Here goes-
What an ugly ,ugly, UGLY car !! . What is wrong with BMW ? I cant bear to look at that ugly face ! ..& whats with the kidney grille chrome being visible from the sides ? Has hooydoonk lost his marbles ?
If i was in the market for a class in this class, looks would be the only reason why i would never buy the 3. That apart, it seems to be a much more complete and mature car vis a vis the e90.
Progress, BMW !

Last edited by noopster : 13th September 2012 at 08:03. Reason: 3 smileys :)
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Old 13th September 2012, 08:00   #68
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BMW first started experimenting with luxury car steering in the 3 series in 2001. I had just bought an E46 330i, fitted with the Sport Package which was so brilliant that this car remains one of the best driving, most involving cars, most satisfying cars I have ever driven. 3ers in the US market without the sport package rode very softly but compared to the sport package ars, they had very mushy handling, very poor responses and generally a stupidity and dumbness about how they drove when pushed hard.

The sport package cars were brilliant however. One of the best driving roads I know was behind the town where I lived and right near the BMW dealership. The road not only curved like hell but also went up and down violently and was cambered through the curvers, something into the curve, enhancing grip, at other times, off camber so it did the opposite. This was a brilliant road for seeing how well or poorly a car handled while its weight was getting tossed in every direction. If a car could rail through this road without sapping driver confidence, it was a master. This road exposed the weakness of the S2000, for example.

I drove an E36 M3, a 2001 E46 330i Sport, a 2001 E46 325i Sport, back to back on this road, and later a 2002 E46 325iT non sport and a 2000 E46 328ci non sport.

What I learned was that the E36 M3 and the E46 330i Sport drove virtually identically except the 330i had much poorer steering feel. Since the E36 M3 was used and I couldn't find a nice clean one, I bought a 2001 E46 330i Sport. I loved it but I soon became very disgruntled with the steering and took to driving my 1997 MX-5 for it was just so much more fun to drive.

The online 3er community had started to resonate with complaints about the steering. The E46 had come out in the US as the 323i and 328i in 1998 and there were huge complaints about what had been done to the steering when the 323i/328i had been given new engines and made into the 325i and 330i. I didn't know what had been lost. I just knew that I wasn't happy.

Then my car went in for its first service and I received a 2000 model year 328ci loaner car. The ci models were half the sport model. they had the suspension of the sport package but not the wheel/tyre package. Instead of wide low profile high performance tires, they had narrow high profile all season luxury car tires. Driving this car was an amazing experience. While it did not have the grip or the responses of my car, its handling on that road was still amazing. But far more notable was its steering.I could not believe how amazing it was. It was so organic, meaty, so so full of feedback and feel, so bursting with information, it felt SO SO SO good, I was in love. But it was quite heavy at slow speeds.

Then it came out that BMW had held a focus group about what people liked in the car and what they didn't like, a focus group selected at random, not enthusiast focused and virtually everyone, especially the women, had said they didn't like the steering because it was too heavy. So for the 2001 update, BMW had revised the steering to the satisfaction of the non-enthusiast buyers.

When the 3er enthusiast community started screaming about it, BMW revised the steering again. The 2002 model cars would receive the new steering spec, and it spread in the community that those 2001 model owners who requested BMW for a refit would have their cars fitted with the 2002 spec steering at no cost. Even the dealers didn't know about it. I called my dealer and had them check with BMW and in a month of so my car received the 2002 spec steering.

It was still not as brilliant as the pre-2001 steering. it still did not reach the levels of feel that the pre-2001 steering had, feeling artificial compared to that, but compared to what it had come with, it was a vast improvement, absolutely brilliant. I would say it was about 80% as good as the pre-2001 steering, with much reduced effort, an immeasurably better than the 2001 spec. It was also the last steering in non-BMW that was really impressive. But it was clearly a stop gap. It was again too heavy to be satisfactory to non-enthusiast buyers because it took some effort and clearly BMW was worried about how this limited the appeal of the car and blocked sales of the car to people who are attracted to the BMW badge for the status but care nothing for the "ultimate driving machine" promise of badge. It was here that BMW started to feel that making cars appealing to enthusiasts but limiting sales to non-enthusiasts would stand in the way of it new goal to match audi and Mercedes in global sales. This was the time when all the things that had made BMW cars what they were was set aside. this is when bangle designs took off, this is when the Z4 and the E60 5 series came out. This is the period in which BMW cars stopped being the absolute total masters of driver appeal that they used to be. India has not experienced the BMW of the old days.

The E90 again returned to something similar to what BMW had tried with the 2001 E46. It was a very good handling car, but more appealing to more people. Its steering wasn't as good as the E46 (not even in the M), feeling artificial, as if connected to an electronic drive-by-wire sensor, deprived of the muscle and sinew in its guts that earlier 3ers had used to make the driver feel like he had his hands on the contact patches of the tires. But while it was so compared to the earlier BMWs, it was still extremely good and quite acceptable in the context of what other sports and sporty cars offered at the time. It was good enough and the car enough of an advance over the E46 that it didn't elicit much complaint.

The F30 however had gone all the way. What BMW tried in 2001 and had to back off from because of complaints from enthusiasts, they've succeeded in doing in 2012.

That was the story of the steering. the other aspect is the engine. As I explored the world of cars and drove many kinds, I was particularly struck by the BMW inline 6 engine. I became a die hard fan of the straight six. This was the best kind of engine configuration. The V6 had replaced the inline 6 because its shorter length made it hugely more appealing for packaging reasons. It could be used in transverse layouts easily (matters because most cars are now of that layout), and in longitudinal layouts, it permitted a much shorter engine bay and thus a far more spacious cabin within the same wheelbase.

But I found that for driver appeal, the inline 6 engine was just wonderful. inline 6 engines rev like turbines and make a lovely song. BY comparison, V6 engines were either crude or just very very bland, like the one in my dad's A6 3.0T quattro. A V6 can be massaged to minimize its vibrations, and use of clever engine mounts can remove the last bits reaching the cabin, but it cannot replicate the feel and sound of an inline 6.

I also found that much of the appeal of an inline 6 vs a V6 gets lost when mated to an automatic transmission, the automation mechanism filtering out virtually everything that makes them feel different.

And I found every single automatic transmission BMW i drove to be a tremendous disappointment. Oh, they make fine transport appliances that pamper the occupants. But in every case, they have not been 10% the drivers machines that their manual transmission equivalents have been.

It doesn't matter to 80% of BMW buyers in the US and it doesn't matter to 100% of BMW buyers in INdia.

Now we have a 3 series in India without a straight six engine, without a manual transmission, without wonderful steering, but with all the prestige, gadgetry and style that the Indian premium car buyer craves.

Please buy the car if you like it. I am sure its a brilliant luxury car and will make lots of people very happy.

But don't tell me that you're an enthusiast driver. Enthusiast drivers don't buy luxury cars. They buy cars with charismatic engines, superb steering, manual transmissions and they leave the all the numb soft convenience and luxury to other people.

There aren't very many of those in India.

Last edited by mobike008 : 13th September 2012 at 11:59. Reason: back to back posts. Please refrain
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Old 13th September 2012, 08:52   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir

Now we have a 3 series in India without a straight six engine, without a manual transmission, without wonderful steering, but with all the prestige, gadgetry and style that the Indian premium car buyer craves.

Please buy the car if you like it. I am sure its a brilliant luxury car and will make lots of people very happy.

But don't tell me that you're an enthusiast driver. Enthusiast drivers don't buy luxury cars. They buy cars with charismatic engines, superb steering, manual transmissions and they leave the all the numb soft convenience and luxury to other people.

There aren't very many of those in India.
Harbir, thanks for your description of how great 3 series with MT, hydraulic steering and inline 6 engines from the late 90 s were. But I do think you have gone completely over the top by saying that people who buy and like F30s are not enthusiasts. First note that most buyers would not have lived abroad or driven old BMWs, so their benchmark is cars they have driven. Relative to anything I have driven the new 328i is fantastic. Second, most people cant afford separate cars for each use - so they do appreciate cars that give decent ride quality, comfort and fuel economy for pottering around in urban traffic, and are still good enough for a fun drive on weekends. The F30 does that in a much better way than the E 90 or any MT car. I am sure that there are purists who diss the cars you loved so much and believed that the original jaguar E Type for example is the only true drivers car - so lets live and let live, and not offend current car buyers.
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Old 13th September 2012, 09:07   #70
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

I mean no offense. I hold strong views and express them frankly and this makes me a poor fit in India, but I make no apologies for that. I am only bringing a perspective that doesn't exist in this country. You can listen to the perspective and accept or disregard it as your judgment tells you to.

Last edited by Harbir : 13th September 2012 at 09:37.
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Old 13th September 2012, 10:38   #71
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@Harbir: thanks for taking the time out to elaborate, I appreciate what you are trying to convey. Maybe 15 years ago... but today comfort and family are important too.

@Hayek: Very well put, almost exactly my views.
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Old 13th September 2012, 10:48   #72
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Actually the same things are important then and now. its mostly about what traits you want to choose. India has gone through a cycle of bad cars like ambys and fiats, then decent cars that offered reliability and safety but nothing more, and as the country has become richer, our tastes as a society have developed based on our history with cars. We've never had sports cars. We've never had sport sedans.

We've only ever had bad cars cheap, small uncomfortable cars. and now we are delighted to be able to buy cars that are awesome compared to what we've had. Our old cars have made up hungry for comfort. We are hugely attracted to cars that shut out the mad, poor, noisy broken down India, and for a few minutes, cocoon us in the best of comfort, refinement, luxury, and sophistication that the rich world can offer us.

I understand and respect that, believe me.

I am only trying to point that India has not yet developed a true culture of drivers cars, and India is not getting good drivers cars even now. and it looks set to continue that way because based on our history, we are so happy to be getting what we're getting, we love it and don't really understand what we're not getting, and we don't miss it because its not something we've any experience with.

In my view thats sad. but I guess its sad ONLY in my view.

Please enjoy your 3er and don't mind me too much.

Cheers.
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Old 13th September 2012, 11:03   #73
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
We've never had sports cars. We've never had sport sedans.

We've only ever had bad cars cheap, small uncomfortable cars. and now we are delighted to be able to buy cars that are awesome compared to what we've had. Our old cars have made up hungry for comfort. We are hugely attracted to cars that shut out the mad, poor, noisy broken down India, and for a few minutes, cocoon us in the best of comfort, refinement, luxury, and sophistication that the rich world can offer us.

I understand and respect that, believe me.

I am only trying to point that India has not yet developed a true culture of drivers cars, and India is not getting good drivers cars even now. and it looks set to continue that way because based on our history, we are so happy to be getting what we're getting, we love it and don't really understand what we're not getting, and we don't miss it because its not something we've any experience with.

In my view thats sad. but I guess its sad ONLY in my view.

Please enjoy your 3er and don't mind me too much.

Cheers.
I absolutely agree with you Harbir. I have not driven any of the sports cars that I would like to drive. Like the Mitsu Evo. Or a BMW sports car with a manual tranny (damn, not even a BMW auto), but I hope to own them one day. ...

But even with driving whatever I have driven so far, I know this is not it. This is woefully inadequate to be the drivers' car I am looking for. Our market is not mature, and I am not sure how long it will take to reach those levels. The lack of the sports cars and sports sedans are testimony to that.
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Old 13th September 2012, 11:13   #74
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
That was the story of the steering. the other aspect is the engine. As I explored the world of cars and drove many kinds, I was particularly struck by the BMW inline 6 engine. I became a die hard fan of the straight six. This was the best kind of engine configuration. The V6 had replaced the inline 6 because its shorter length made it hugely more appealing for packaging reasons. It could be used in transverse layouts easily (matters because most cars are now of that layout), and in longitudinal layouts, it permitted a much shorter engine bay and thus a far more spacious cabin within the same wheelbase.

But I found that for driver appeal, the inline 6 engine was just wonderful. inline 6 engines rev like turbines and make a lovely song. BY comparison, V6 engines were either crude or just very very bland, like the one in my dad's A6 3.0T quattro. A V6 can be massaged to minimize its vibrations, and use of clever engine mounts can remove the last bits reaching the cabin, but it cannot replicate the feel and sound of an inline 6.

I also found that much of the appeal of an inline 6 vs a V6 gets lost when mated to an automatic transmission, the automation mechanism filtering out virtually everything that makes them feel different.

And I found every single automatic transmission BMW i drove to be a tremendous disappointment. Oh, they make fine transport appliances that pamper the occupants. But in every case, they have not been 10% the drivers machines that their manual transmission equivalents have been.

It doesn't matter to 80% of BMW buyers in the US and it doesn't matter to 100% of BMW buyers in INdia.

Now we have a 3 series in India without a straight six engine, without a manual transmission, without wonderful steering, but with all the prestige, gadgetry and style that the Indian premium car buyer craves.

Please buy the car if you like it. I am sure its a brilliant luxury car and will make lots of people very happy.

But don't tell me that you're an enthusiast driver. Enthusiast drivers don't buy luxury cars. They buy cars with charismatic engines, superb steering, manual transmissions and they leave the all the numb soft convenience and luxury to other people.

There aren't very many of those in India.
Good info . It is a wee bit straight out on the face and unethical towards prospective buyers though. Yet, you got a point and a serious one at that. A fact is a fact at the end of the day.

Hopefully BMW would think about it and at least start offering options for a manual tranny, sports suspension setups, etc., in india. Currently, no matter what anyone feels, wants or thinks, not much is on offer here. E90 has served decently well until now and the F30 is sort of next in the queue. It is not the best way forward but unfortunately there are no other options and the badge has only been offering this much.

Happy cornering...with a bit of a body roll

pEaCe
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Old 13th September 2012, 12:53   #75
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Default Re: BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
We've only ever had bad cars cheap, small uncomfortable cars. and now we are delighted to be able to buy cars that are awesome compared to what we've had. Our old cars have made up hungry for comfort. We are hugely attracted to cars that shut out the mad, poor, noisy broken down India, and for a few minutes, cocoon us in the best of comfort, refinement, luxury, and sophistication that the rich world can offer us.

I understand and respect that, believe me.

I am only trying to point that India has not yet developed a true culture of drivers cars, and India is not getting good drivers cars even now. and it looks set to continue that way because based on our history, we are so happy to be getting what we're getting, we love it and don't really understand what we're not getting, and we don't miss it because its not something we've any experience with.

In my view thats sad. but I guess its sad ONLY in my view.

Please enjoy your 3er and don't mind me too much.

Cheers.
Totally agree with you buddy !! Unfortunately facts are not always accepted due to various reasons (personal, emotional etc)!!

I recollect sometime last year when new Audi A4 was launched the reviewer in Overdrive mentioned that it is right between BMW and Merc in terms of sportiness and comfort. Best balance of both.

Now, why would BMW want to let go of this segment, at the end of the day the no: of cars sold counts .That is the bottom line.

Maybe once BMW has enough market share in terms of volumes and moolah raked in then they might offer true enthusiasts packages.

Cheers!!
MKP
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