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Old 26th February 2021, 10:47   #1
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Default BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Long Wheelbase Review


BMW 3-Series LWB Pros:



• Very welcome increase in rear legroom & a comfy rear seat
• Doesn't look stretched or weird at all. Proportions are good & the car looks handsome
• Maintains fun-to-drive nature, despite the comfort-oriented changes
• Both engines are simply fantastic! Practical, fun, rev-happy
• The ZF 8-speed AT is the best gearbox in the segment
• Comfortable ride quality. Suspension has been retuned for this LWB version
• We love what BMW has done with the G20’s steering. It’s enjoyable to use
• Lovely cabin, premium build, very supportive seats & a fab driving position
• Enhanced kit includes a 16-speaker sound system, 360-degree cam, panoramic sunroof…
• BMW’s strong track record for reliability (among the luxury marques)
• 5-star NCAP rating & a laundry list of safety equipment
• Worth the extra money over the regular wheelbase car, in my opinion

BMW 3-Series LWB Cons:



• Price is cutting it too close to 5-Series territory (especially after discounts on the 5)
• Sad boot space with the spare wheel underneath
• Surround view, HUD & keyless entry are only in the M-Sport variant
• 320Ld is offered just in the Luxury Line trim (not M-Sport)
• Getting too big & heavy (320d = 1700 kilos) for a model that’s known as a “sports sedan”
• At the limit, the regular wheelbase 3-Series is more fun to drive
• Rear floor hump is enormous! Car is better as a 4-seater than 5
• Low stance means ingress / egress aren’t senior-citizen friendly
• Runflat tyres come with many compromises, wear out soon & are expensive to replace
• We hate the all-digital instrument console. Also, the rev counter is weirdly inverted
• The 3-Series LWB has a w-i-d-e 5.9 meter turning radius!
• At this price, we expect goodies like Adaptive LEDs, ventilated seats…

BMW 330i Review:



Review Link


Last edited by GTO : 26th February 2021 at 13:32.
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Old 26th February 2021, 10:47   #2
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Exterior


Quite a master-class move by BMW in bringing the LWB car here, inspired no doubt by the E-Class LWB. Indians love rear legroom, even if they aren't chauffeur-driven. Head-on, the long-wheelbase looks exactly the same, with no changes. The luxury line bumper looks quite different from the M Sport we had tested earlier:


Certainly one of the best things is that from the side, in spite of the 110mm increase in wheelbase, the 3 still looks proportionate, and doesn't look stretched. Not awkward at all! The rear doors are supposedly 110mm longer, but they too don't look too large:


The rear three-quarter view, again, doesn't really show the stretch in the wheelbase unless one really looks hard. BMW has done a fantastic job with camouflaging the stretched bits, even die-hard enthusiasts will consider it for the practicality as there is minimal compromise on the looks:


The 17" wheels thankfully don't look super basic. They are shod with 225/50 R17 tyres:


A second cap for adding the Adblue, common on all vehicles now, but I am seeing it for the first time on the B47:


A bit strange seeing the LD badge on a 320. This is actually the second generation 3 Series to have an LWB version. The previous generation was only produced for the Chinese market:
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Old 26th February 2021, 10:47   #3
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Interior


View of the cockpit is exactly the same as the regular 3:


A look at the front seats, which again BMW claims to have done small changes to. To me, they felt exactly like the regular 3, apart from the headrest which is 'softer':


What we've been waiting to see. The rear throne! The seats have been slightly redesigned with a longer base, a better backrest angle, and more padding + suppleness in general. Not to forget, the softer headrests. And man, just look at that legroom compared to a regular 3. I could easily sit behind the driver's seat adjusted to my position, with room to spare between my knees and the front seat. Not just the chauffeur-driven, even self-driven enthusiasts will appreciate this enhanced legroom for their family members:


A closer look at the better bolstered and stuffed seats. Inspite of me being on the taller side, I felt the thigh support was sufficient and possibly better than in the 5 Series. While the 3 Series GT before had more legroom than the 5, the rear seat itself of the 5 was more comfortable. I think the 3 LWB cuts it very close:


The silver strip on the back of the seat houses an ambient light bar, which is a small but sweet addition. It looks awesome at night, and this was only seen on more expensive cars before:


The armrest is apparently redesigned. The length may be a bit more. Also, the cupholders feel sturdier than before:


The third zone climate control for rear passengers, with some USB C ports below:

Last edited by Aditya : 26th February 2021 at 10:48.
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Old 26th February 2021, 10:47   #4
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Driving the 2.0L Diesel AT




Will be a tough choice for enthusiasts between the terrific 330i petrol (Review: BMW 330i (G20)) and this diesel which is equally a jewel of an engine!

The 320LD continues with the B47 diesel engine which was launched a couple of years ago. Power and torque remain the same at 188 BHP and 400 Nm. 0-100 is claimed at 7.6 seconds, which is 0.8 seconds slower than the regular sedan. The difference is only 0.4 seconds for the petrol variant.

After plonking myself into the driver's seat and pressing the start button, one immediately notices how much more refined it seems as compared to the older F30. The engine is a distant hum rather than the semi rattle of the older gen, and the vibration is greatly reduced too. The refinement feels a level up.

The 8-speed gearbox in this seems even better calibrated (one would doubt its possible) than in the older F30 gen, and the shifts are a tad bit smoother and less jerky under part throttle. Driving inside the city at low to moderate speeds is perfectly comfortable with the gearbox keeping the engine relaxed, and it will definitely be a good experience for the rear passengers. Driving enthusiastically, the gearbox is even more responsive, downshifting even quicker, and with faster feeling upshifts which give a small jerk in Sport mode. All in all, it does the job perfectly.

When it comes to the powertrain, not much is needed to be said. Its tried and tested, and been available for over 5 years, with a good reliability record in my opinion. Its got the same power figures as before, but it feels a tad bit more peppy in the newer chassis. More than enough torque is available to push you back into your seat, and it revvs freely to the red zone, which is now more pleasing with the better refinement. Like all German 2.0 diesels, this one too is an all-rounder. It will happily cruise in the city, give you fast performance on the highway, and consistently deliver respectable fuel economy.

The car comes equipped with speed warnings for 80 and 120 km/h and the beeps are loud and annoying. Further, the music volume is lowered when the beeps come on (Related thread)!

The suspension, I believe has been tweaked for the long wheelbase. There wasn't much to complain about in the regular 3, which is a near perfect setup. And this seems a tad bit more passenger-focused, with better refinement at low speeds (though the 330i we drove was on 18", while this rides on 17"). Bumps and general unevenness are taken care of without much noise or vibration being felt inside, and on the whole, the ride feels comfortable. At the same time, what is heartening to know is that the long-wheelbase 3 is still fun to drive. With the communicative and well-weighted steering, the suspension isn't sloppy at all, in spite of being softened for the LWB. The car needs to be really hustled, for one to feel that there is a tad bit more body roll, and a very slight bit of resistance to quick direction changes as compared to its sibling with a shorter wheelbase. This really makes the 320LD into a proper all-round package, one which can be sat in behind the chauffeur, and a car which can be pushed to the limit when needed.

Last edited by Aditya : 26th February 2021 at 10:49.
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Old 26th February 2021, 10:47   #5
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Great review of an important luxury car! Thanks for sharing

Didn't think I'd say this as an enthusiast, but I will choose the 3-Series LWB over the regular car. If I'm going to have a lot of fun on road-trips, might as well keep my family more comfortable on the backseat too. I've realised the value of rear legroom after living with one that is cramped for 6 years & recently buying another one that's a limousine! Even the LWB is fun to drive and it doesn't look stretched. Can't say the same about the E-Class LWB which I'd never buy for exactly these two reasons.

BMW must be thinking "our target customer pays 75000 for additional legroom on a single business class flight, so he will definitely pay 4 lakhs for more legroom for 10 years". It's totally worth the 4-lakh premium. You get more legroom, a comfier rear seat, more equipment and also a bit cushier ride quality.

The 320d's pricing is weird though. It’s over 2 lakhs more expensive OTR than the 330i, which isn’t fair when you consider that the 330i is also a direct-injection turbo-petrol. This kind of price difference was acceptable in the NA petrol world, but not today. Plus, the 320d Luxury Line is within an arm’s length of the 330i M-Sport First Edition.

Would love to do a back-to-back rear seat comfort test of the LWB 3 & the 5. The 5-Series' rear legroom sucks, but the seat is awesomely supportive! There is no doubt that the 3-Series LWB will cannibalise 5-Series sales.

Last edited by Aditya : 26th February 2021 at 10:51.
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Old 26th February 2021, 11:41   #6
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

This is a good move, in expanding the target market segment.

However, I don't think BMW has managed to mask the odd feel the long wheelbase has brought in, as the body is not entirely redesigned.
  • The profile looks, well, stretched post the b-pillar.
  • The design of the rear profile resembles new generation Mercedes.

I feel the profile lost the proportion we always associate with BMW cars, long bonnet, evenly balanced front and rear, followed by short boot.
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Old 26th February 2021, 12:23   #7
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
I feel the profile lost the proportion we always associate with BMW cars, long bonnet, evenly balanced front and rear, followed by short boot.
Only if you look at it long enough :

330i SWB:

BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)-delivery-6.jpg

330i LWB:

Name:  2021bmw3seriesgranlimousine04.jpg
Views: 14597
Size:  233.4 KB
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Old 26th February 2021, 13:44   #8
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Great review about a great car! Thank you, for explaining the minute details to differentiate the LWB from the regular 3.

Time for BMW to bring in the next iteration of the 5 series. The rear legroom and the rear seat comfort will confuse the customer who goes in to buy the 5series and sits inside this LWB 3 series. I considered the 3 series as a sports car with 4 doors and child seat at the rear. Now, this limo is going to give us the same driving experience and we can take our family on the regular road trips.

Now it's time for Merc to bring in a LWB C-class

Last edited by .HEM : 26th February 2021 at 13:46. Reason: missed to thank the writer for the review!
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Old 26th February 2021, 14:00   #9
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Great review of a a beautiful car To be honest I wouldn't buy the 3 series for sitting in the rear. But then again I would be selfish in saying that. What about my family or friends in the rear seat when I drive? I think this is a good offering from the brand. Besides BMW has other shorter cars in it's portfolio. Here is a link comparing the regular VS the LWB.


Last edited by TrackDay : 26th February 2021 at 14:04.
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Old 26th February 2021, 20:51   #10
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I've realised the value of rear legroom after living with one that is cramped for 6 years & recently buying another one that's a limousine!
In fact each mm gain in rear leg room makes a hell lot of difference to the comfort of passengers. Not many has realised this.

A related post
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...ml#post4873393 (A Close Look : Kia Sonet)
Attached Thumbnails
BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)-screenshot_20210226205913_chrome.jpg  


Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 26th February 2021 at 21:05.
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Old 27th February 2021, 09:09   #11
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Price comparo (ex-showroom SRP):

3 Series
330i Sport: ₹42.6L
320d Luxury Line: ₹47.9L
330i M Sport: ₹49.9L

3 Series LWB:

330Li Luxury Line: ₹51.5L
320Ld Luxury Line: ₹52.5L
330Li - M Sport First Edition: ₹53.9L

3 Series M Performance:

M340i xDrive: TBC

5 Series:
530i Sport: ₹56L
520d Luxury Line: 61.5L
530i M Sport: 61.5L
530d M Sport: 69.1L

Last edited by vb-san : 27th February 2021 at 14:03. Reason: 320Ld, not 330Ld, and LWB was written twice :)
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Old 27th February 2021, 11:31   #12
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by itwasntme View Post
Price comparo (ex-showroom SRP):
You beat me to this post by couple of hours . I had planned to do this very exact comparison.
Here's my 'quick n dirty' play with the numbers:-

BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)-3-series-comparo.png

  • I would need to shell out 21% more to buy a 3-series LWB Sport, and 31% more to buy 5-series Sport variant over regular 3-series.
    However, just 9% more between 5-series Sport and 3-series LWB Sport.
  • Need to pay 10% more to buy a 3-series LWB diesel Luxury, and 28% more to buy a 5-series diesel Luxury variant over regular 3-series.
    However, 17% more between 5-series diesel luxury and 3-series LWB diesel Luxury variant.
  • Need to pay 8% more to buy 3-series LWB M-Sport, and 23% more to buy 5-series M-Sport.
    However, 14% more between 5-series and 3-series LWB M-Sport variant.

Very interesting thought-process by BMW, I would think.

Very high difference between series if one were to buy the entry level Sport variants. And this difference reduces for the top-level M-Sport variants.
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Old 27th February 2021, 12:10   #13
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshMachine View Post
You beat me to this post by couple of hours . I had planned to do this very exact comparison.
Here's my 'quick n dirty' play with the numbers:-

Attachment 2126405

Very interesting thought-process by BMW, I would think.

Very high difference between series if one were to buy the entry level Sport variants. And this difference reduces for the top-level M-Sport variants.
These differences get exasperated when you look at on the road prices. I believe 320d would be around 8 - 9 lakhs more while M Sport would be 5 lakhs (without considering additional discounts on SWB). I don't consider base model standard comparison since LWB is luxury trim and has a lot more creature comfort options. 320d will be a tough upsell at that price. It might look more sensible for M Sport, but for that I feel more be more for enthusiasts and they would still to SWB.

I think LWB is a great option for customers but I don't know whether it would be cannibalizing sales of SWB than from 5 series.
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Old 28th February 2021, 09:10   #14
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

Awesome review. .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akshay1234 View Post

Interior

The silver strip on the back of the seat houses an ambient light bar, which is a small but sweet addition. It looks awesome at night, and this was only seen on more expensive cars before:

I have question to the regular version (I hate calling it as SWB - coz its not shortened) owners, how bad is the transmission hump for 5th passenger who sits in the middle? particularly for long drives?

I have another question, won't it be better to have leather seatback pouch instead of this plastic one.... particularly for the regular 3 series with limited leg room? if no objects are kept, it would give at least 5 to 10 mm knee room and passenger's knee won't rub against a hard place. have you seen any such mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by itwasntme View Post
Only if you look at it long enough :

330i SWB:

Attachment 2126029

330i LWB:

Attachment 2126028
Wouldn't the dark colours be masking the size difference better? at least in the side profile?
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Old 28th February 2021, 09:26   #15
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Default Re: BMW 3-Series Gran Limousine Review (Long Wheelbase)

This may be a slightly different view but after my experience sitting behind in a 3 Series and a 7 Series, BMW is possibly the last brand to buy when it comes to rear seat comfort, the plot goes awry at the start when one has to tuck the head into the low roofline to sit on the low slung seats, the massive transmission tunnel and absolutely bloated cushioning (which is supportive, but restricts space) does no favors either, for the amount of thickness of the seats, one would assume its like a sofa but within an hour or 2 you'd feel the stiffness and numbing of the back. Germans are the absolute last when it comes to space packaging.

It maybe only my opinion but I'd buy the X1 or Q3 over the 3 LWB, I'd rather squat slightly higher and have my knees bend than have tons of legroom but zero height like in BMW.

The previous gen BMWs (E Series's) were better to sit in because of more height and taller base seat squabs. The F and G have ridiculous low seating.
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