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      09-22-2012, 09:01 AM   #1
Dave_3
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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.

Enjoyable.

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.

D.
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      09-22-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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interesting review dave - was this in ecosse or ch?

i understand the f31 already has the new idrive that the f30 doesnt get until dec 12 - is this right?

any more detail on the adaptive sus? have you tried with/without? i wonder if it is actually what i would call 'fully active' & makes the car corner flatter - like an airmatic merc sl500 - or does it just generally firm up all the dampers?
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      09-23-2012, 02:13 AM   #3
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Had a look today at dealer launch for F31. They had a black 330d M Sport that looked great but isn't on road yet. Asked about 340d or 335d which they reckoned will debut in the new F32 and probably not even at launch so it's a while away. Also reckoned Xdrive 330d next Spring.

Great interior for sure. Need a drive next.
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      09-23-2012, 03:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the write-up, sounds like a great car to drive. I'm very interested to see how it performs against the likes of a E90 330d/335d. In fact I have an appointment at my dealer later to talk about an F30 330d .
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      09-23-2012, 04:08 AM   #5
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With the new 8 speed box it will feel much more urgent than E90 330d as its always in the torque band. Not a bit cheap is the issue, a used 535d at a year old would be cheaper.
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      09-23-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///ajd View Post
interesting review dave - was this in ecosse or ch?
In Switzerland.

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Originally Posted by ///ajd View Post
i understand the f31 already has the new idrive that the f30 doesnt get until dec 12 - is this right?
Not having had a chance to play with the idrive in an F30 I can't answer that. But the functionality and integration of the quality graphics (on the idrive screen, between the instruments and the heads-up) really do make other systems look a bit basic.

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Originally Posted by ///ajd View Post
any more detail on the adaptive sus? have you tried with/without? i wonder if it is actually what i would call 'fully active' & makes the car corner flatter - like an airmatic merc sl500 - or does it just generally firm up all the dampers?
It was something the salesman said it was equipped with. First F3x I have driven. I could only go on what my butt was telling me. But it definitely seemed to me that the sport buttons adjusted both the damping and the steering feel. It really carves up roundabouts.

On one stretch of road, a little road running alongside a quarry which undulates vertically and is a little ripply with the road surface the damping certainly seemed to be working hard. Still had that slightly artificial feel to it - but that will be down to the big 19" rims with RFTs and electronic steering/damping. No where near as skippy/crashy as my E92 on the standard sport suspension. It went where I pointed it and I didn't wince as I went over the road ripples like I would in my car ... but a bit like driving a video game. I would guess that the dampers are active.

I was only out for about 20 minutes, so just a few quick first impressions.

D.
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      09-23-2012, 02:19 PM   #7
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hi dave,

i suspect adaptive m suspension is a great option, but its hard to find out much info on how it works. i assume its actually just firming up the dampers.

having read up a bit about the abc merc suspension i had on an sl500, its actually more complicated than i remember and was fully active with hydraulics - lots of horror stories about how much it costs to fix now...! it was brilliant at keeping the car totally flat in corners though.

must say keen to try a good f31.
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      09-23-2012, 03:04 PM   #8
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Good review....my F30 330d M Sport arrives in 8 weeks and its killing me that i cant drive one!

As i got an epic lease deal, i didn't go for the adaptive dampers....my logic is I have lived with the standard M sport setup for 4 years and actually (on non-RFTs) liked it .

oh It should be standard as well
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      10-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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I test drove a F31 330D M-Sport this week and I've ordered one! I was very impressed especially with the gear box and adaptive suspension, both were fantastic.

The demo car had most extras but not the HUD so I didn't get to see it. I haven't spec'd it on mine.
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      10-12-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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The trick suspension on Mercs is, as pointed out, air-based; this is incredibly clever, allowing minimal lean and real composure, during hard cornering, whilst maintaining huge levels compliance - hence I could run 20's with rubber-band tyres and still enjoy a magic carpet ride.

I very much doubt that the active suspension on F3x's will be air-based - it's typically a multi-thousand pound option on cars that have it as standard higher up the range.

The best we can hope for is a set of Magnetorheological dampers.

To add, I'm talking about the CL55 AMG I had before the C63
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      10-12-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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Interesting you have a C63. The two cars I test drove we're the C63 Estate and F31 330D, the BMW worked out more expensive on the lease but I preferred it overall.
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      10-12-2012, 06:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Interesting you have a C63. The two cars I test drove we're the C63 Estate and F31 330D, the BMW worked out more expensive on the lease but I preferred it overall.
Really? Interesting - what were your parameters for 'marking' them? What did you find the BMW did better?

I can understand why the lease costs are cheaper on the C63 - it has been manufacturer supported pretty much since release, purely to get bums on seats and cars on the road; whereas I cannot see BMW heavily supporting a more 'mainstream' car so early in its life-cycle - if they had to do that it wouldn't be saying much for their confidence in the car's abilities to sell.
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      10-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #13
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Well Marc's posts on the issues with his C350 made me very aware of the interior quality. I could hear the same rattles he has on the C63 and the interior felt a big step down from my current W218 CLS350 CDI whilst not feeling that much quicker in the real world. It did sound wonderful though. It just didn't seem worth the potential fuel and tyre costs so I passed even though the lease deals were great. Then I drove the F31 330D and was very impressed with the engine/gearbox combination and with the overall quality and have ordered one.

It took a lot of options to bring the F31 330D to the same level as the C63, which has a lot of standard kit! With the C63 I'd have been buying it purely for the engine, which I suspect a lot of owners do and is what AMG is all about. If I could have afforded a CLS63 or a E63 I would have gone for it as they are a world above the C63.

Last edited by RichardM; 10-12-2012 at 06:50 PM.
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      11-05-2012, 05:16 PM   #14
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Interesting you mention about the C63 being cheaper... can I ask who you got a lease quote through? Am looking at C63 v F31 330d also, merc are quoting about 665.00 p/m on a 3 + 35 month deal covering 20k p/a. F31 was about 100.00 cheaper but was lower spec. Any suggestions would be apreciated
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      11-05-2012, 05:25 PM   #15
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A number of places are 439+VAT on 6+23. Bringing up the 330D to the same spec level came out much more, especially over 2 years. Must admin I didn't get a quote for a base 330D as I'd always go for Xenons and Sat Nav but I didn't include much more than that. Here's where I got the quote from:
http://www.freedomcontracts.com/viewdeal.asp?ID=1009
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