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Old 31st December 2008, 12:36   #1
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Thumbs up BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included

Ok putting the Sensor issue aside, which has been resolved now, most of the experience has been very good. There is a separate thread on that issue here. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ue-solved.html (7 Days old BMW 320i- Sensor issue: solved!).
I would like to post my experience of 320i over 700 Kms that i have done so far including a 500 Kms drive to Tirupati and back.

When i took the delivery of the car, the Trip comp showed the mileage of 4 kmpl. This definitely wasnt too assuring a figure. However i assumed that car would have been revved idly while testing, etc and hence the figure.
As i started driving for next couple of days, that figure headed north and i was much at peace. However since all the driving was in the city i managed to raise it at 6.6 over next 100 kms.

Power (Thoda hai thode ki zaroorat hai):
320i is not very powerful. Depends on what lens you use to measure this. I am comparing it to 320D, A4 and C220 Petrol. Comparing petrol with petrol, c220 felt like a monster in comparison to 320i. However for my practical needs, i find 320i pretty adequate. I am not the type who would just try and do the max speed wherever i can. I am more of those sober types :-) trying to enjoy the nature while i am driving. I dont like the side images blurred.
With the available power, on the Highways, though i was able to overtake almost all vehicles (maybe there were no better cars). The power delivery is not linear and massive turbo (turbo = some extra power) kicks in at around 2200 rpm and it also produces some extra noise. Initially I and my wife both were a bit annoyed with this, as it is sudden and throws you back. Though i must admit, i did "Wow" when i test drove it. However over the long drive, i tried manipulating with the force you put on the pedal and soon got adjusted to the way it is to be handled so that it behaves smoothly. Now i feel quite comfortable with it. Max that i went on this trip was around 110 Kmph. I just didnt feel the roads (though empty) were good enough to go beyond this. With amount of pedal space and RPMs left, I feel taking it to 160 should be pretty easy and without too much Hum and loss of grip.
Transmission:
Driving in the city traffic was a very good experience. This is my first with Automatics and it really is very relaxing and much less stressful. Although 320i isnt a very powerful car, but still it never disappointed me in over taking or providing muscle when i needed. Steptronic is awesome. On highway I put it on sports mode and was using manual up/down shifts and it is truly a great feature. The feel and the feedback to the whole mechanism is spot-on and instantaneous. At no point it leaves you with any ambiguity. I guess without Steptronic, it would have been boring to drive on the highways.

Handling and Ride:
The biggest plus point of the car i would say is its handling. It is just too damn good. It feels so obedient and sincere in its actions and follows every command like a Samurai disciple. Visibility is pretty good as well and hence moving around with the large bonnet of 3 isn’t too difficult. In fact I was at ease pretty much from day one. Steering is extremely responsive and makes one feel extremely safe around the corners even at high speeds. This is especially in comparison to my ikon, where steering just gives off beyond 90/100Kmph. But at the same time, steering feels quite heavy at low speeds especially during parking. My security guy watches me in amusement everyday on why I have to use both my hands to steer, almost like a truck,[FONT=Wingdings]J[/FONT]. Amongst my wish list for 3 series would be a dynamic steering which is calibrated across different speed bands.
Ride is stiff and most of the modest bumps are felt easily. However the suspension is smooth and there is that rounded edge to the bumps and pot holes so it wouldn’t give you those spine aching rides but also not that good to let your co-passengers sleep. This is after they have softened the suspension of 08 3 series cars. I wonder how it would be for the earlier ones.
In terms of Cabin Noise level, Ride is pretty decent. Cabin masks quite a lot of noise. On one stretch where the road was good, we experienced almost a perfect silence.
Fuel Economy:
At this point, the overall Mileage that the Trip Comp shows is 9.3 Kmpl. I assume I would get around 8-8.5 Kmpl in city. The Mileage meter on the odo is very useful. It dynamically shows you whats the mileage you are getting currently, its analog so it is easy to adjust the Acceleration and RPM to optimize the figure. And from my independent calculation and its own readings, I believe its quite accurate. My initial worries that even the highway mileage might be below 10, have been rested. I was able to get around 11 Kmpl for the Tirupati Trip. With proper driving (don’t mean slow or lethargic) i guess one can attain around 13 Kmpl on highways.
Audio/Interiors/Gadgetry:
I am not an Audiophile (anymore ;-( ), so my audio requirement bars are set pretty low. You can gauge this from the fact that I was happy even with my company fitted audio system of Ikon (8 years old now). So to me 320i’s Audio is pretty good and contrary to the views I have seen and read, I found the controls on dash very intuitive. Interior quality is great and I feel it is between A4 and C. A4 being the best in the class. 320i's interiors are clearly better than current Superb and Passat (which actually compare to discounted 320i in terms of cost.) Leather and wood quality is very good and definitely upclass.
Seats are comfortable especially Rear ones. The recline is just perfect. Though due to a high Wind Tunnel passing through the median, it is strictly a 4 seater. Seating 3 people in rear would be a gruesome act and can almost be tagged as a crime. Front seats are very well placed however I must admit that visibility f
On gadgets front, I was initially very skeptical of Audio based Park assist system, but now I am comfortable with it. But surely visual indication would have been very cool. iDrive would have looked gorgeous but I cant see how much of use could I have made other than what is available on Trip Comp. Controls for Trip are pretty intuitively placed and I am at ease with them now. Mirror Retraction is indeed very useful, I wonder why Merc decided to take it out of new C class. Unbelievably new C doesn’t have electric Retract. You have to manually push them back.
Sun Roof is cool, if not very useful, it is a feature that you can boast/demo around and people do "Wow" with the electromechanical system in action. Bi-Xenons are cool as well in looks and utlity both. They look awesome and offer a perfect illumination in the night. I was able to see its full advantage during the night drive from Tirupati. I am starting to like the Daytime Corona rings even more than A4's LED Eyes

Road Presence and Snob Value:
BMW kicks *** in this department. Not only in India, BMW holds a certain respect, across most geographies, evident from the fact that few friends (atleast mine) residing in US and Europe praise it like we do. Blame it to their roots [FONT=Wingdings][/FONT]. Road presence is tremendous, maybe due to its long bonnet. It doesn’t fail to turn heads. This is despite the fact that it is only as long as Civic or Corolla. Another Big point is Unprecedented Female attention. Wish i had got this 5 years back but then such is Life.

Dealership (Navnit Motors) :
I am happy with the response of the dealer on most accounts. Especially Mr. Jeevan, from Sales, with whom I have been interacting. He has been of great help in resolving the last issue that I had. Guys from Service Dept are little less responsive; though get the work done on time. I just wish they communicate a little more.

Road to Tirupati:
Roads are pretty decent and not much traffic on them either. However they aren’t expressways so average max speeds remain at around 90kmph. One gripe is that once you are beyond 60 kms away from Bangalore, there aren’t many good Fuel stations. As on my other thread, I have become the victim of poor fuel on one such station. It may be that I was pure unlucky and other stations are better. Also Food available is just okay at most places nothing to talk about or relish once you have filled your bellies.
Problems:
I had one serious looking problem while on my way back form Tirupati. It showed an Engine warning sign. Manual said the Engine cannot provide the full power and hence drive it at modest speeds. I kept at around 80 and reached home. Further diagnosis showed that Exhaust-Cam-Shaft Sensor had malfunctioned. Upon checking physically it showed that there was moisture clogged around that area and hence the false alarm. That was cleant and tested again and the whole problem is resolved now.
Pictures:
Da-Car
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01020.jpg

BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01032.jpg

IDrive missing, else perfect. Beige Interiors- nightmare to maintain.
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01021.jpg

Double power sockets at the rear, handy for chauffeur driven. Also eats up the middle seat.

BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01026.jpg

Looks neat isnt it? Never go near a State transport bus with the roof open. Our Indian brothers consider SPITTING as one of their fundamental and constitutional rights.
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01025.jpg

Da-Boot
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01028.jpg

No Spare means extra space
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01030.jpg

CD Changer in the boot. This one cant play MP3s. Looks like someone cleared their 20th century stock.
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01029.jpg

Fully electrical seats = more convenience
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01038.jpg

And Finally, The Turbine
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01035.jpg

Some other misc pics:
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01022.jpg
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01037.jpg
BMW 320i: First 10 days/700 Kms Review- Pics included-dsc01039.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2009 at 11:36. Reason: Re-loading pictures
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Old 31st December 2008, 12:41   #2
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nice review.. i always thought the 320i was na and didnt have a turbo.
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Old 31st December 2008, 12:48   #3
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I think the 320i is a 2 liter NA with around 150 bhp. No turbo. All BMW petrols built in India are NA. Very nice review!
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Old 31st December 2008, 13:00   #4
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Apologies for using Turbo in layman terms. I meant just some extra burst of power at 2200 RPM.
BTW, what is NA?
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Old 31st December 2008, 13:05   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
Apologies for using Turbo in layman terms. I meant just some extra burst of power at 2200 RPM.
BTW, what is NA?
NA =
Quote:
A naturally-aspirated engine is a reciprocating internal combustion engine that depends solely on atmospheric pressure to draw in combustion air. This is in contrast to a forced induction engine, in which a mechanical or exhaust-driven blower is employed to increase the volume of intake air beyond what could be produced by atmospheric pressure alone.
Naturally-aspirated engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 31st December 2008, 13:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
Apologies for using Turbo in layman terms. I meant just some extra burst of power at 2200 RPM.
BTW, what is NA?
Excellent review Diki. That's probably the first ownership review of the 3 on team-bhp and mighty good one at that. Excellent stuff.

Enjoy the car.
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Old 31st December 2008, 13:13   #7
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Sir diki , congrats again , does the roof open to let in fresh air or the glass is always there as I can see from pics ?. If it is covered with glass always , whats the fun or logic then ?

Drive safe and rev it sometimes

Last edited by black12rr : 31st December 2008 at 13:14.
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Old 31st December 2008, 13:37   #8
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Originally Posted by vid6639 View Post
Excellent review Diki. That's probably the first ownership review of the 3 on team-bhp and mighty good one at that. Excellent stuff.

Enjoy the car.
Thanks Vidyut. I surely owed that, one to T-BHP

Quote:
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Sir diki , congrats again , does the roof open to let in fresh air or the glass is always there as I can see from pics ?. If it is covered with glass always , whats the fun or logic then ?

Drive safe and rev it sometimes
It does open up. only i was too lazy to take another pic.
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:04   #9
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Thanks for the review diki. I must sheepishly admit this is the first time i have gotten to see the interiors of a BMW in such detail.
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post

The power delivery is not linear and massive turbo (turbo = some extra power) kicks in at around 2200 rpm and it also produces some extra noise. Initially I and my wife both were a bit annoyed with this, as it is sudden and throws you back.

Turbo?!
I guess the gears would be shifting at 2200 rpm - its automatic and you would be confusing this gear change at 2200 to a turbo thing.

General question... Can the driver "manipulate" the rpm at which the gears would change in an auto trx?
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:14   #11
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Congrats diki. Very nicely written review.
The car looks stunning. Enjoy.
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:52   #12
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Great car and great writeup diki. Another middle seat causality though. How is it in the 5 series?
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:53   #13
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Originally Posted by subscrive View Post
Turbo?!
I guess the gears would be shifting at 2200 rpm - its automatic and you would be confusing this gear change at 2200 to a turbo thing.
Maybe but i doubt. I think 320i's power band ie peak power is available from 2200-5000 RPM, i guess thats when it feels thrusted. Pardon my usage of "Turbo"

Quote:
Originally Posted by subscrive View Post
General question... Can the driver "manipulate" the rpm at which the gears would change in an auto trx?
No, you cant. Some higher end cars allow you to do that not for 3,C or A4.
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Old 31st December 2008, 14:59   #14
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Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
No, you cant. Some higher end cars allow you to do that not for 3,C or A4.
I'm afraid that is wrong. In most auto trannies on the market today, the gear shift RPM is controlled by how aggressive your right foot is.

This thread has a lot of info about that.

Or just hit the paddles. Fully manual control right there. Okay, not fully since it automatically downshifts, but still. Come to think of it, my car has never stalled in the 3000 odd KMs I've driven it. All hail the A/T!

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Old 31st December 2008, 15:03   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diki24 View Post
No, you cant. Some higher end cars allow you to do that not for 3,C or A4.
Yes you can. It's very easy. Say you are cruising at 60kmph, the AT is in 4th gear and you need a sudden surge of power. All you do is press the acc pedal hard and the car will downshift rapidly and give you instant acceleration. this is known as kick-down in AT box.

Similarily if you press the acc pedal gently the car will shift up a gear at a lower rpm. If you press the acc pedal hard then the intelligent box knows you wan't rapid acceleration and will shift at much higher rpm.

Example light foot will see the gear changes at around 2000rpm. A firm push of the pedal will result in gear changes at 5000rpm.
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