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      09-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #1
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Dave_3's Avatar

Drives: F32 430D sDrive Msport
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: CH / SCO

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Test drive in Loaded F31 330D Msport

Just had my first drive in a new 3 series.

Fully specced F31 330D Msport. All the toys. More cameras than you would believe - rear view, 2 front nose and surround view. Adaptive Msport suspension. Lane change and blind spot warning. Heads up display. 19" rims.

To drive - very nice. The electronic steering on the F31 is noticeably different to the hydraulic setup on my E92 335D, while light it is very direct and makes the car itself feel very light and nimble.

The settings on the middle console from switching to sport and sport+ not only firm up the dampers but also tighten the steering feel. The ride on 19" rims was excellent compared to the 18" rims on my E92. Probably the same amount of firmness but none of the crashiness. And stays very flat and level when switching briskly through small roundabouts. Very easy to change direction with light steering. It really belies the bulk of the F31.

As regards power, not much in it with the 335D. While I got the impression that the 335D migt be slightly more powerful when really opening the taps the 330D with the 8 speed sport automatic box (and the sport and sport+ options) really crisps up the delivery of the 330D. In normal driving in Sport mode the 330D seems much more immediate and eager at part throttle than my 335D. And switching between modes is very noticeable - pretty sure I saw the "traction control off" light when I enabled Sport+. In Sport mode there was an option to adjust settings - but never checked what options were available. Adaptive suspension would be on my shopping list for certain.

Having driven this, BMW will need to do something special to justify any price difference with a new 335D ... because the 330D is really good.

Another thing that I really liked was the head up display. Worked much better than I was expecting. And the focal point seems to be nearer the end of the bonnet than on the inside of the windscreen. Something that you can't convey in a photo.

BMW are clearly investing a lot on the in-car media and displays. The integrated idrive systems/displays, heads-up display and instrumentation cluster displays are really slick. Makes other brands and my E92 look like a sinclair spectrum ... clever marketing towards those that like and must have the latest mobile phones.


While there were a few new F30 2.0D models for more than 10% discount (here in Switzerland - strong discount on new stock) I'm still waiting for the F32 ... or a blindingly good deal on a run-out E92.

Escort Mk1 RS2000 (2.1 2x44IDFS, BVH, Kent FR32, 5spd, 180 BHP) : Fully Loaded F32 430D M Sport sDrive : Previously Full-Spec 335D E92 2006 : Capri MK1 full rebuild in progress