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Old 4th September 2009, 21:29   #1
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Default BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed

You may have read of the dilemma we were facing in this thread :

Many months later, we settled on a used BMW 320d Baseline, pre-owned. And if Ronald McDonald doesnít mind, Iím Lovin It!!

Purchase Background

We had actually gone as far as acquiring an invoice for an Accord from the local Honda dealer. It was then that Dad had a long distance ride in his friends 320d. That changed his mind completely and suddenly we were looking at the 3!

Dad was a little wary of spending so much on a car though. As much as his heart pulled him in the direction of the 3, his brain was giving him mixed signals on making such a huge financial transaction. Wonderfully enough, dadís close friend (names and details of the deal will remain confidential) gave him a call from KUN Exclusive and told him of a pre owned 3 series sitting in the service area. He asked if we might be interested and without waiting a minute further, we sped there.

There she sat, and boy was she gorgeous. Bought in 2007 and in IMMACULATE condition having done 35K Kms. There were absolutely no scratches on the surface of her Carbon Grey surface and the story was the same on the inside. The beige leather seats looked new and werenít dirty as a 2 year old car should be. Nothing was broken, worn out or suspiciously altered in any way. The iDrive was conspicuous in its absence, but my thoughts on that later.

Time for a test drive! Iíll elaborate later, but lets just say the drive was fabulous. So much so that weíd decided on buying it even before weíd negotiated the price! My dad and I thoroughly inspected the car for any mechanical glitches (obvious ones at least) and were satisfied with the outcome.

We headed back and confirmed the purchase. The final price was shockingly good, though I am not at liberty to divulge those details on an open forum. Two weeks later, she was delivered to our house and the keys were handed over.



Dignified aggression. A shark in a tuxedo. A nuke in a pretty skirt.

BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0087.jpg
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0088.jpg
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0089.jpg
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0090.jpg
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0103.jpg

The Beamer is one good looking thing. The lines flow and the design is coherent. Taking the car in from the front is an especially thrilling experience. The broad German jaw seems to be sizing you up for a snack. The kidney grill will start snorting smoke in your expanding imagination. And the seemingly huge bonnet has two muscular lines that trace from the grill to the A-pillar. The rear is a little less dramatic. Iíd have preferred it to have had the M3ís rear tail cluster. But I guess this does grow on you. They however look VERY attractive at night., with two thin lines running horizontally on each lamp. Will upload that picture in a while.
The side profile is awesome to behold. It looks very muscular and ready to pounce, not unlike a big cat springing upon an unsuspecting victim. The two huge wheel arches accentuate this trait. She looks fine especially when on the move.

The alloys are attractive, though I wouldíve liked the multispokes. Anyhow, the 5 broad spoke alloys do look nice and like the tail lamp cluster, does grow on you the more you look at it.
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0091.jpg
The alloys are wrapped in 205/55 R16 Bridgestone Potenza runflats.
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0092.jpg


BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0094.jpg

Every single part of the interiors reeks of the highest quality, leaving you feeling very pampered. I could find no parts of poor quality save the ashtray cover on the rear aircon blower.
The Burl walnut wood finish looks very classy and the music/aircon console is neatly integrated into the dash. There is a cooled storage compartment between the front seats that also house the Aux in+ power socket: very useful, It actually does keep your can of cola cold!
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0097.jpg
The instrumentation cluster is very nice to behold and is very clear and easy to read. The orange illumination at night also looks great. The LCD between the tacho and speedo provides useful information such as distance to empty, average fuel consumption and also enables you to conduct a systems check to ensure every mechanical component of the car is functioning as it should (fancy!). In the event of there being a snag, the interface will show you a symbol of the defective component and pester you into visiting the workshop with constant beeps until you relent.

The small screen in the multimedia section also doubles up as a display for basic vehicle stats as shown below. Of course, that is in addition to the main function of catering to your musical needs. It accepts an Aux in and has a 6 CD changer which is present in the boot. There is a CD inlet on the console itself, if itís just the one disc for the journey. The interface also displays numbers of the dealerships emergency contact numbers.
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0096.jpg

The steering wheel houses functions such as Vol up/down, mode changing, station select and weirdly enough air circulation control (?!).
The drivers seat is supremely comfortable and it is a cinch to find the perfect driving position with automated controls with 2 memory slots. There is adequate underthigh bolstering and over long drives, will not wear you down into a groaning wreck.

BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0098.jpg

The seats at the back are very comfortable though low and therefore a problem for old people to get in and out (ask my grandmom). For the more able bodied, they pose no problem and provide for many miles of comfortable travel.
The car is literally littered with bottle/cup holders. Bottle/cup holder enthusiasts will appreciate this, Iím sure.
The air-conditioning is very effective in the front and acceptable at the back, that is if youíre covered in sweat. Then youíd need to max the aircon a bit to get the temperature down, otherwise the cooling is a little slow. The automatic climate control works well, overall.
There is no iDrive in the Baseline. Initially I thought this would be a disappointment that I wouldnít get over. I soon realized the standard BMW Professional system does the same things but in a far less fancy manner. Yes, itís cool, very cool. But its nothing anyone in the family misses. In fact the interior looks rather neat and clean without a large monitor.
The one thing I do miss though are xenon headlamps. I would have liked the night-day experience of the xenons, but the reflector headlamps do their job very well. No grouses.
As for the visual parking sensors, I doubt many owners would trust a screen in front of them while they reverse. The baseline instead has audio Parking sensors that sounds beeps depending on the proximity to the surface behind.
The boot space is decent, but is not shallow at all. This reduces the boot capacity to a large extent but is still able to accommodate 4 traveler suitcases comfortably. Note the presence of the CD changer on the bottom left
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0101.jpg
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0102.jpg

Comfort and Ride

Alrite. It is uncomfortable bad roads. Period. You will get tossed around quite a bit over rough patches. This is the model prior to the engine/suspension modifications that are present on the car on sale today. It has itís merits, but comfort is certainly not one of them. The dampers+suspension crash through over large craters leaving you cringing at the thought of an expensive repair. You also begin to fear the chassis may just shake to pieces over sustained exposure to corporation roads.

That said though, on good roads, the car is very composed and the brilliant dampers cosset the occupants around fast corners minimizing body roll and instilling a feeling of safety. The car does not scrape over speed breakers, driven gently, that is.

The ride at high speeds is solid. The car sticks to the road like an Amazonian leech! And the grip never gives way. You keep pushing the car faster and faster and the exit of any high speed corner always leaves you chortling like a little kid. The steering is a showpiece of engineering. It communicates everything to your palms. The roar of the engine, the grooves and ridges of the road youíre driving on, the grip around fast corners, everything. The steering doesnít just change direction, it forms an invisible understanding with your senses as it does so. As Jezza puts it, a Beamer feels like itís pivoting around your hip around corners. It instills confidence and gives you supreme control over the way the car moves.

This is the car prior to the suspension softening so the damper setup is very taut and makes for a brilliant driving experience.
The ABS assisted brakes are awesome in feel and effectiveness, though a little grabby in start-stop traffic. They bring the car to a smooth and controlled halt from triple digit speeds with no fuss at all.

Engine and Gearbox

BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0104.jpg

The part youíve been waiting for. The 3 series has a very elongated bonnet. This is to hide from the world the MONSTER that lurks beneath the surface. What an engine!! I donít understand the need for and engine upgrade when the refinement from this one is so exceptional. The engine is rather noisy on the outside, but on the inside, thee is just an ominous rumble. You would scarcely believe this a 2.0 ltr diesel. When revved freely, there is none of that booming unpleasantness that youíd associate with an oil-burner (think PD engine). Instead, there is a spine tingling creamy soundtrack that sees the needle climb smoothly all the way to the 4500 mark limiter in neutral.

On the go, the engine does its job brilliantly working with the 6 speed slushbox. The car eases of from a standing start, and when the throttle is feathered, will reach cruising speeds without fussing its occupants. When the pedal is pushed into the carpet, the car will lose all semblance of civility and roar into a terrifying burst of speed that starts from about 1800 rpm all the way till 4000. The G forces snap your neck backwards and the speedo climbs frantically like a monkey with its tail on fire. By the time youíve snapped out of the daze of speed and look at the speedo, youíre doing insanely illegal speeds that provoke you to keep your foot hovering over the biggish brake pedal. Obstacle, BRAKE! Reasonable speed. Phew. Giggle like a little girl.
BMW 320d- Sheer Driving Pleasure indeed-img_0093.jpg

The gearshifts are imperceptible and lightning quick.

Mind you the new 320dís from BMW are more powerful and refined, with even more torque available. But Bah! I donít feel any sort of longing for marginal upgrades in power.

Ownership Experience/F.E.

Like most German cars, maintenance is expensive, with annual insurance+BMW Secure reaching the six digit mark. The Run flats, which we havenít changed yet, are frightfully expensive to replace (20 GRAND EACH!!) We might switch to regular tubeless tires; I need BMW owners to help me out with pointers and advice.

People claim amazing mileage figures in excess of 14 kmpl. That sort of defeats the purpose of owning a car like this doesnít it? This is our secondary car, so we drive her aggressively and despite this, the onboard computer shows us a reading of 10kmpl! Brilliant considering we donít drive to save fuel (sorry eco enthusiasts).
We got figures of 14.1kmpl on a recent long distance trip to Trivandrum. We actually reached 210km/hr on a flat stretch with 4 adults and full luggage on board!

Will continue updating this thread with pictures and such.


Last edited by Nitronium : 4th September 2009 at 21:39.
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Old 4th September 2009, 22:39   #2
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beautiful choice dude and congrats!

This car really speaks to your heart in a way the accord can't!

great review - I really liked the layout and the pics.

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Old 4th September 2009, 23:10   #3
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There is something about the Italians and the Germans that bring out the inner writer in you. Enjoy the beemer! May she br a beam of sunshine in your life!!
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Old 4th September 2009, 23:11   #4
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Congrats. Fantastic write up on your whole experience. One of the bests that I have read here. Love that fact that you have stated things as they really are. And the car does not look like a 2yr old, gotta say its in great shape. Wishing you many miles of Happy revving with the Beemer.
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Old 4th September 2009, 23:59   #5
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Good choice. Enjoy Freude am fahren
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Old 5th September 2009, 00:24   #6
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nice writeup, good pics and a great car. I had the pleasure of riding a BMW 328i 2007 model many a times (it belonged to my manager in US). Great rides they make in Bavaria!
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Old 5th September 2009, 02:35   #7
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Congrats ! Welcome to the BMW family.

I have a 320d and a 530d Highline.

I enjoy the handling and feedback from the steering on the 320d more than the 5 series; though a bit hard and stiff - just find a set of twisties/ corners and the 320d shows what she's capable of.

Happy Motoring !
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Old 5th September 2009, 03:14   #8
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excellent review. lots of detailed photos. this review should be considered as a model/template by others planning for review report. Excellent and congratulations!
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Old 5th September 2009, 03:19   #9
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Nice review and more over well photographed and explained.Congratulations on your new ride!
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Old 5th September 2009, 10:42   #10
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Congrats !! She looks beautiful ! Nice writeup and pics.
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Old 5th September 2009, 11:04   #11
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One of the best reviews on the 3 Series I have read so far. I like your attention to every minute detail. You have been accurate with every pro and con of the Bavaraian automobile. The car looks in great shape too. Beemers are meant to be driven rather than be driven around in and I am glad you are doing just that. I would suggest you move over to tubeless when you replace the tyres next time around as that would improve the ride quality. I agree that the runflats make you feel almost everthing on the road.

Do update the thread with your service and other experiences regularly.

Congratulations and drive safe.
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Old 5th September 2009, 11:27   #12
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Nice review and a very nice car.

You have given attention to even the smallest of detail.
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Old 5th September 2009, 12:10   #13
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Your review was a fantastic read; really appreciate the way you've elaborated all the details in progression!!
And what a looker for a 2 year old ride!!

One of the best reviews on the site, now waiting for updates and more pictorials!!
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Old 5th September 2009, 12:44   #14
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excellent review mate, and the car looks as good as new. Is it still under warranty ?
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Old 5th September 2009, 13:11   #15
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Congrats Nitronium,
My Dream Car
will be in my garage by 2011 definitely.
Yes,I already started to save money for buying this Beauty.
IMO,it's drivers car and we can enjoy the revs.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
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