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Old 24th February 2013, 18:09   #1
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Default My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Decisions can sometimes be the hardest things on earth. It can get very difficult if one has to listen to their hearts or think with their heads. For the privileged few, sometimes, decisions can be a simple affair. And for those not so privileged, it can become that much more complex. Deciding what to eat at a nice restaurant can be a little difficult sometimes. You very well know for a fact that you cannot simply order everything that's on menu and eat. What do you do then? You just have to decide what you like and how much you are willing to spend on it. Sounds simple? Not really. Think about it.

Deciding what to gift a loved one can sometimes be hard too. You know that you can't buy the whole store. You know you can't buy some random item and present it either. There should be some meaning behind it. The person receiving the gift should also be in a position to appreciate it. But what if you walk into a store and you find out that the store has a number of items that you know for sure that your wife/daughter/brother/father/sister/friend would love? Then what? Buy the whole store again? You know that's not practical. But if you are someone who is disconnected with reality then you might say yes it is possible. Or if you are a very wealthy and generous person you might also agree that you can buy everything. But let's face the truth. We are mere mortals with limited income(s). We don't have deep pockets. We cannot afford to buy everything that we see. The word that describes the feeling of wanting something but can't afford is aspiration. We aspire for so many things in life. How we wished we could long for something and we had it in our hands the next minute. But of what use would that be? If everyone could do that, then the value we give to that something would diminish. It would never be exclusive any more. It would lose its appeal. We would stop aspiring.

Forgive me if you find my ranting and raving about this aspiring/decision making write up boring.

I wanted to pour my heart out about an event that took place recently in my life. Plus I haven't written in a very long time. So a write up was long overdue.

All the alternatives that were considered, and why we zeroed in on this particular car:

About 8~9 months ago my dad was reading the newspaper and he spotted an ad about the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. He casually asked me about the price and I blurted out an approximate figure. He goes ''Hmmmm....'' I immediately knew he was in love with it. He has this impish grin whenever he likes something. It was the same grin when I first told him about the VW Polo. I had to be very careful because his love for the C was still in its nascent stage. I had to nip it in the bud. After a few minutes I informed him about the new BMW 3 series (F30). I did the same with the VW Polo and the Fiat Punto about 2 years ago. I tried reasoning with him about the facts. I loved the Punto. He loved the Polo. My dad is a man who thinks with his head. I, his son, think with my heart. And sometimes with my head. He was completely smitten by the VW bug. I showed him facts and figures. I showed him it was practical to own and maintain a Fiat when compared to a VW. But he had made up his mind. It was eventually a white Polo TDI for us.

And now I was confronted with a very similar situation. I had to be extra careful this time. I had read the reviews about the F30. I was in love with it. I knew it had to be a better car. So learning from my mistake that I made in the past, I decided to take him for a test drive. I called up Navnit Motors, Bangalore and requested for a test drive.

One Mr. Ali took our request and I invited him home for a test drive. It was a sunny Friday morning and he arrived at around 11 am in a sports edition F30 Melbourne red. After a brief introduction, we took the car for a spin. I was fairly familiar with the layout of the 3 series because I lived in Germany for about 6 months on work. My company had a fleet of cars for testing our filters (I'm an application engineer working in the fuel filter R&D division in Bangalore) and we could take the car out over weekends with fuel being paid for by the company. I had driven close to 8000 km mostly around Eastern Europe and I had experienced the beauty of the BMW. Although I must admit it was 318i and not the 320d. But I knew what to expect out of a Beemer. I had shared my experience with my dad back then and that came in as a big help now. But I still had to be extra cautious because once my dad makes up his mind nothing in the known world or anybody could change his mind. We have tried and failed miserably. So I let him drive around and he liked the features and the layout of the Beemer.

After a brief spin, we came back home and had a short discussion about the pricing of the car etc. Eventually, Mr. Ali took leave. My dad was just browsing through the leaflets and I suggested we take a test drive of the new C. The moment I told him my heart was in my mouth. I was like '' OMG what the hell have I done! What if he loves the C!''. My heart began to pound like a thief's! I then took a deep breath and calmed myself down. We headed toward Sundaram Motors to take a test drive the C.

I was a little apprehensive just as we drove into the parking lot. We were greeted by one Mr. Somashekar who was the sales executive. We introduced ourselves and he guided us to the test car. I had a fair idea as to what to expect from the car so I didn't have too many questions. Mr. S gave a very detailed explanation about all the features the C had to offer. My dad was more interested than I was. But I listened carefully anyway because I wanted to check his knowledge and understanding about the features etc. I was fairly impressed with his presentation and he offered us a test drive. My dad and I took turns and I really liked the way the car handled. At this point it occurred to me that I should make sure that dad sits in the back seat and let him decide if he likes it or not. As hoped, he didn't like the rear leg room! I heaved a sigh of relief when he whispered "What man the rear legroom is really bad! It's almost like your Polo only"! My strategy paid off! I had a evil grin etched across my face for the next 45 minutes!

I must admit Mr. S made us a very good offer on the top end version of the car. After the formalities we took leave and headed home. On the way home, dad gave me his verdict and said it will be the 3 and not the C! I was happy and my dad was happy too!

But there was a part of me which made me feel sad. I felt sad that we could not have both cars. I felt sad that the rear legroom was bad in the C. In a way, I was happy it wasn't! It was so hard, just assuming the legroom issue didn't exist, to let go of the C. I wish we could have had both cars. The C looked like a dream. And drove like one. The C made you feel like a king. It looked majestic and aggressive both at the same time. It can make you a lazy person with all the creature comforts in it. It eventually will break your heart if you have to let it go.

The 3 looked fresh. It looked muscular. It has the agility of a kick boxer. When the turbo kicks in, it feels like you are taxing off a runway in a jet. The braking is as sharp as a Samurai sword. The legroom (Phew..again) was great. It can let you relax on a long drive without making you feel cramped up.

Complete booking & delivery experience from the dealership:

A few days later, we finished the formalities on the 320d baseline and booked the car. Mr. A offered us a pretty decent deal (we got a 2 lakh discount on the OTR price which came up to 36L) and also offered us Mineral white color which apparently was the latest color to be offered on the new 3. We took the delivery on 15th of Feb.
We drive the car very occasionally and mostly in city. We are planning for a nice holiday in the coming months and hope we can test the car on the highway as well.

Mr. A from Navnit Motors was rather friendly. He was prompt in getting back to our request. He has also been of great support at any time of the day. Only wish a little more attention had been given to small gestures at the time of delivery. Small gestures go a long way in sealing a relationship.

The good and bad about equipment levels:

The equipment level was slightly disappointing for the OTR in Bangalore. Bits like the cruise control, spare tire, navigation would have made the new 3 Series even more attractive. But having said that, the safety features make up for it. The list of safety features is wonderful. There are 6 airbags in all. The list of electronic safety features is really nice. ABS, TCS, ESP, TPMS are some of the standard features.

Kms completed at the time of writing the review:

I've clocked close to 160 km so far.

Usage pattern

This is mainly going to be for occasional drives with family. So it will see more of city roads and occasionally highways.

Comments on the exterior styling & design

The exterior looks well proportioned and gives a sense of balance from all angles. I’d spare you all the details because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder! One look at the front of the car and you can clearly see why this is a beautifully crafted car. The F30 gets the trademark kidney grill with the headlight being elongated inward. The headlight has been angled sharply on the outside and merges nicely on the front bumper. The bonnet has a chiseled look and is neatly 'cut' just above the BMW logo. The baseline variant has a dash of chrome. Optically, there isn't too much difference between the Sportline, Baseline and the Luxury line variants. The telltale signs are 'Sports' and 'Luxury' badges along with different alloy wheels marks the difference between these two and the baseline variant. The hoopla about the 5 series-esque tail lamp makes for a style statement.

From the side view, the car has a visually balanced stance. The rear doors are nice and angular with sharp looking lines that mark the sides of the car from the front wheel arch all the way to the rear tail lamp.

Of course, not all will like the exterior design of the F30. I, for one, dig the previous version (E90) better! But it surely is a very fresh appearance.

Overall build quality and fit & finish

Overall fit and finish is excellent. The quality of materials used seems pretty good. The German build quality is unmistakable. The workmanship is noticeable in each and every part of the car. A lot of effort has gone in to it and it clearly shows in the fit and finish.

Interior design & quality

If you like all things sporty, then you'd completely love the interiors of the new 3 Series! The clean, uncluttered buttons give you a sense of being in a sporty car. But if you like all things elegant, then you'd love the interiors of the C class. Personally speaking, I liked the interior design of the C class. The beige interior makes for a very elegant style statement but it isn't the safest color when it comes to maintaining it. I am facing the exact same problem with my VW Polo. So we are planning to have black leather upholstery for both cars.

Interior space and comfort

The moment you open the door, you can feel the stage-wise opening. This can be expected in European cars in my experience. The interior of this model is uncannily similar to the one that I had used in Germany. Only this model has improved features. I'm planning to install leather seats in the coming weeks. I dread the beige interiors! The driver seat has electric adjustment with 2 seat memory options. The passenger seat too gets electric adjustment. The ORVM are also electric and have a nice feature which adjusts downward while reversing to check for side space etc. I liked that a lot! There is healthy amount of space between the driver and the co-passenger. The arm rest is ergonomic. The dashboard is slightly skewed toward the driver giving a very sporty feel to it. The overall visibility is good enough for a car this size. The horn is rather hard and takes some effort while honking! I also feel that the rear parcel tray is positioned a little on the higher side. So the rear view is a bit restricted. I liked the automatic rear roller sun blind in my car. The side window and quarter glass sun blinds are a blessing! Apparently this is a first for this variant! Lucky me (us)! The diesel purr is definitely audible while standing next to the car outside during idling. This disappears when you enter the car and shut the doors and roll up the windows. And reappears only when you rev it nice and hard on the open road.

Air conditioner, seat support, ergonomics and other noteworthy interior points

Air conditioning is also very good. The independent temperature control for the driver and the co-passenger is a nice touch. The rear passengers get controls too. The cooling is rather effective in the front. With the sun blinds up, the cooling can be pretty effective.The driver’s and front passenger seat have good thigh support and the memory option is a nice little touch especially if the car is regularly being driven by more than 2 people. The driver seat is pretty ergonomic. With the control buttons for MID, music system, telephone options on the steering wheel you can expect life to be a little more simpler.

The music system seems to be basic with 9 speakers. A CD unit standard while the USB and AUX ports are neatly hidden under the center arm rest. The sound system quality is very good. The ICE can be controlled using the iDrive controls. The iDrive is an amazingly simple and clever feature which does a wonderful job!

Storage space could have been slightly better. The front doors can hold a regular bottle. The center arm rest too has space for a couple of phones/iPods. There is a cup holder just in front of the gear lever and an ashtray with a cigarette lighter next to it. This can be accessed by sliding out a tray cover. The glove box is rather small for this car. A net is neatly stitched on top which can hold documents/papers etc without getting crumpled. There is a small cubby hole just next to the steering wheel which can get missed when viewed while seated. The boot space seems average.

Coming to the rear, it is best when only two adults are seated behind. The transmission tunnel along with the rear air vents takes up space making it uncomfortable for the center passenger in long distances. Only a small child can comfortably in this spot (assuming the child will sit in one place! ). The rear air vents too get temperature and flow direction controls. The rear armrest houses a couple of cup holders which can easily hold your cola or water bottle.

My parents found it slightly difficult to get in and out of the car thanks to its low stance. This needs some getting used to.

Engine performance & driveability in the city

The F30 has 2.0 liter diesel engine which did duty on the previous model (E90). The engine pumps out 184 BHP @ 4000 rpm and 380 N-m @ 1750 rpm. This is mated to a gorgeous 8 speed auto gear box which offers seamless gear shifts. The engine performs pretty well in the city. The power delivery is rather smooth. So far I've loathed maneuvering in Bangalore's traffic.

Overall opinion on the engine

Since this is our first Beemer, and since I've not driven a diesel Beemer I can't comment on the past engines. But whatever the history, this sure is a beautiful engine. I liked the smoothness of the engine. Only wish it was a little quieter.

Gearshift / transmission quality, smoothness, response time etc

The 8-speed auto transmission is absolutely gorgeous. Again, I don't drive an automatic regularly, I completely enjoyed the smooth gear changes. One has to experience it to believe it.

Fuel efficiency : City and Highway

So far I've managed to get around 10 kmpl in city driving. We are yet to take her out on the highway.

Suspension & ride quality

The suspension and ride quality are influenced by the three driving modes available. The most comfortable and balanced ride quality is available on the Comfort mode. But otherwise, minor bumps and troughs are swallowed whole with ease.


Something which I missed sorely in the car I drove in Germany. The variant that was given to me didn't have an iDrive! Man how I wish it had one! The iDrive is a clever feature which can be used to access a variety of data ranging from radio channels, telephone book, Bluetooth, journey computer, Owner's manual etc via a 16.5 cm screen which is neatly nestled on the dashboard. The overall appearance is a nice since it doesn't interfere with the visibility. Only wish navigation was a standard feature here. The iDrive can be controlled via a dial knob which can rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise to scroll up and down. To go front and back in the menu, you simply have to push the knob to the right or to the left.

Steering wheel:

The steering wheel feels nice and firm to hold and steer around. The horn, as mentioned earlier, can be a bit hard to use initially. There is a speed limiter on the left which can be used to set speed limits (useful for chauffeur driven cars). Controls for phone and audio are located on the right side.


There are analog dials for fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, oil temperature. This is also houses a variety of information that can be viewed by the driver.

Driving experience:

The F30 has three driving modes to select from:

Eco pro mode
Comfort mode
Sports mode

Eco-pro mode: This is perhaps the best option while driving within the city. It ensures good fuel economy and also shows the additional mileage that is gained while using this feature. The air conditioning tends to become a bit sober in this mode. I noticed the throttle response becomes a bit languid.

Comfort mode: This mode can give a balance between efficiency and performance. This is something I preferred after driving around for a bit in the city. The suspension becomes nice and comfortable. The gearshift is slick too.

Sport mode: I explored this option in my car recently and I can guarantee you will be blown away to bits! This is recommended only for driving enthusiasts and best experienced only on open roads. Just flick the toggle switch to Sport mode next to the gear lever and voila! The suspension stiffens up, the gear shifts become quicker and rather aggressive, the steering wheel feels a bit heavy (for obvious reasons) and you can feel your head being pinned against the headrest when you floor the pedal! You can hear the engine breathe hard and it surely leaves you wanting for more!

First drive:

On 05th March, I had a chance to take her out for a spin. It was a good 43km drive. I drove down south from Koramangala 4th block to Chandapura market. I took a left just at the market. This route connects to Chandapura-Dommasandra main road and leads you to Sarjapur road. A few minutes down this road leads you to Decathlon store.

Please be adviced that just after the Decathlon store, there is some road work going on, so be prepared with lots of liquids [non-alcoholic of course! ] and some good driving music if you are planning to drive alone! There could be some slow moving traffic during the day.

This stretch, in my opinion, was one of the nicest driving routes I have come across (ok slight exaggeration)! This used to have no pot-holes, no speed breakers, absolutely flat and winding roads, criss-crossing the country-side. The best time to experience this route was on a nice Sunday afternoon when the local population is busy enjoying a nice afternoon siesta! My dad had shown me this route once on the way back from our farmhouse! I'd been completely in love with for a long time. But sadly, this has changed a bit in the recent past. There are a couple of speedbreakers now which was a bit disappointing. But the quality of the tarmac surprisingly hasn't changed as much at all! You can still experience the flat, winding road!

I consider this stretch my "test track"! Out here, the car handled really nicely. All along the drive, I tested all three driving modes. I could feel the difference in performance quite easily. On a regular day, I'd prefer the 'Comfort' mode. But I really liked the 'Sports' mode the best!

During this ride, I found the fuel economy to be around 10 kmpl. This seemed reasonable because of road works going on, so there was a number of stop-start situations.


-Driving experience
-Safety features
-Rear legroom! Lol
-Fit and finish
-Start-stop function
-Gear box is gorgeous
-Braking is nice and sharp
-Automatic charging of key fob


-Lack of cruise control (whether or not it is usable here is different)
-Lack of KERS on the base model
-Lack of leather upholstery
-Start-stop function can get a little annoying after a while due to the shuddering.
-Lack of reverse camera
-Gear stick feels rather fragile
-Lack of key slot

The first two pictures were taken at the time of delivery. 5 years of photography came to naught because I was so nervous!

I'll let the photos do the talking!
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Last edited by GTO : 12th March 2013 at 10:14. Reason: Adding consistent paragraph spacing. Thanks for sharing
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Old 12th March 2013, 10:13   #2
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th March 2013, 10:26   #3
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congratulations. She's a beaut! Love the metallic white shade. I wonder why wasn't the Audi A4 considered - any specific reason or was the battle always between the Merc and the BMW?
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Old 12th March 2013, 10:40   #4
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Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post
Congratulations. She's a beaut! Love the metallic white shade. I wonder why wasn't the Audi A4 considered - any specific reason or was the battle always between the Merc and the BMW?
Thank you so much 9thsphinx! Well the Audi wasn't a favorite in our family for some strange reason! So we didn't consider it at all!
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Old 12th March 2013, 10:41   #5
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First of all, congratulations on the purchase! I, having been in a very similar situation like yours recently, can totally understand how you would've felt when your dad finally said those words, "A BMW it is". Great to see the count of the F30s increasing in the forum. Hope you have a wonderful ownership experience.
A few questions:
1. Could you please give the break up of the total cost paid?
2. Did you opt for Secure/BSI?

Last edited by 275BHP : 12th March 2013 at 10:44.
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Old 12th March 2013, 11:03   #6
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congrats vishwasvr on the new car. The first pic is awsone. It show the real angry looks of the car. Please post some more pics after getting leather seats.
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Old 12th March 2013, 12:26   #7
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Hearty congratulations on the purchase. Wishing you mile and miles of driving pleasure. I just got a quote from BMW for the 3 series offering 2.5 lacs of discount but that was only on the luxury variant which presumably won't be selling much. Enjoy your new accquisition to the fullest and kindly do keep updating this ownership thread regularly.
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Old 12th March 2013, 16:44   #8
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Great choice! I was briefly quite attracted to the facelifted C, but after driving it i fell out of love immediately. On the contrary, having set eyes (and back-sides) in the new 3, it was love at first sight. Superb rear legroom, top-notch interiors, and those engines... For 34L OTR, sounds like a pretty good deal to me, given the KA regn plates! How long did you have to wait for delivery? And any idea on the OTR pricing for the different variants?

Enjoy the new beast, shes well worth it
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Old 12th March 2013, 17:29   #9
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Whoa!! Now this is one thread that I am going to be hooked onto. But first let me congratulate you for that piece of engineering.Am sure I am going to be a very regular visitor . Moreover, hopefully I'll get to see this piece of beauty in flesh someday, as I guess we stay pretty close by.
Keep Driving and please whenever you are not, keep posting updates
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Old 12th March 2013, 18:26   #10
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congratulations on your purchase. I hope to someday own a vehicle from a segment such as yours : ).
One question, Could you tell me if the ride is more comfortable in the 3 or the C & if there was anything apart from rear legroom that you liked more in the C Vs. the 3 ?
Thanks !
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Old 12th March 2013, 21:11   #11
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congrats on buying the beauty, it surely with enthral you for times to come, that is the beauty of owning a Beemer, each day is a new day with this vehicle, one year with my X1 and i have just reached 20k km and it never ceases to amuse me on the road.
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Old 12th March 2013, 21:20   #12
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congratulations ! The new 3 is a more mature and upmarket product from BMW which looks the part inside out. And I have always maintained that you cannot go wrong with white. So enjoy your ride. Drive hard , drive safe.
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Old 12th March 2013, 21:47   #13
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Big congrats on the ride She looks nice from every angle apart from the rims. They look a bit like the ones that came with the Pre-LCI E90. But nevertheless, she's gorgeous in general. Cheers!

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Old 12th March 2013, 22:27   #14
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congrats on the buy! Wish you many happy miles on it and may you have fun owning the beemer. Though she would have had looked even better with the corona rings.
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Old 12th March 2013, 22:30   #15
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Default Re: My BMW 320d : The Fresh 3 vs The Classy C

Congrats! She is an absolute beauty no doubt!

34L OTR sounds like a steal! I think a Fortuner costs 26L+ in bangalore.
Originally Posted by vishwasvr View Post
But let's face the truth. We are mere mortals with limited income(s). We don't have deep pockets. We cannot afford to buy everything that we see.
Quite an irony reading these lines, in a luxury car ownership thread though.
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