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      02-19-2011, 03:29 AM   #1
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Drives: 2010 320d
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ban Phe, Rayong

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Thailand E90

I thought I would start a new thread for Thailand owners.

I am an American ex-pat living in the Rayong province. I have been here two years now, and have no intention of moving.

While in America, I had an '95 E34 540, a '98 E39 540, and a 2000 E39 540. The last one was a six speed manual with a Dinan Stage 4 suspension package. I was very active in the BMW Car Club of America, and attended track schools and competed in autocross with it for 8 years. Since I had a V8 engine with modified suspension, they autocross organizers put me in the same class with the M3, E30, E36, and E46, and I beat them all. I guess the R compound Kuhmo tires helped a bit, 255/40x17 on all four corners. I finished first in class 5 of the 8 years.

The track schools were held at Sears Point, Laguna Secca, and Thunderhill, all awesome and famous circuits. I was a student for 5 years, then graduated to instructor. Autocross and track schools are more fun than humans should be allowed to have. I also instructed at the Car Control Clinics, which were an introduction to performance driving and a pre-requisite to attending the track schools. We had students ranging in age from 16 to 70+.

So with that introduction to my BMW experience...when I moved to Thailand, I bought a Honda CR-V, mostly because I figured I would need the capacity to haul 'stuff' since I was setting up a new home. As it turned out, all the stores deliver free. As for the CR-V, it was an okay vehicle, but a two liter engine pushing a 3600 pound car was just too slow for me to handle. At anything over 120kph, the aero drag was so high that it insisted in downshifting to 4th gear. Also the gas economy was terrible, 17-23 mpg.

So, after nine months, I traded it in on a 2010 320d. That was a big decision since the Bimmer costs $80K here in Thailand. After a year of owning the 320d now, I am quite pleased and I have no regrets. The diesel engine is quite amazing, bucket loads of torque for passing, and effortless cruising at 150kph. It is also very economical to run, 42-55 mpg, depending of course the driving conditions. I visit friends in Sukhothai regularly, about 650km away, and the CR-V sucked down almost $250 in gas for that trip, while the Bimmer uses about $110 in diesel. Diesel here is $1/liter and gasoline is $1.60.

Thailand BMW included 5 years service and roadside assistance. Only one negative aspect so far. I destroyed one of the run flat tires when I hit a pot hole at 140kph. I barely noticed a problem, other than the warning light on the dashboard. I continued driving and went to the BMW dealer about an hour away. a new tire set me back $700. The good news is that my insurance paid for 50% of the cost. Still, I am looking at almost $3000 for a set of four tires.

The best drive I have had with the Bimmer was a trip to the Northern city of Chiang Mai for New Years. I crossed three mountain passes, and the highway was extremely entertaining. I was blowing by the traffic like they were going backwards. The highway was well constructed for the most part, and many of the curves were quite entertaining at 150+. I did set a GPS registered top speed of 202kph on one section. It was still pulling hard, but I had to back down due to traffic. It felt like it would have hit the 224kph speed limiter without any problems.

So now I am considering getting a tuning box from one of the German or UK suppliers. It plugs into the fuel rail. Most of the companies claim a 30% gain in both power and torque, as well as a 10% gain in fuel economy. Has anyone put one of these on their 320d yet?

I guess I have rambled on enough so I'll go ahead and post it. Any other SE Asian owners out there should feel free to join in.


2010 320d
The difference between genius and stupidity is that stupidity is unbounded.
Steve Albrecht

Last edited by salbrecht; 02-19-2011 at 03:37 AM.. Reason: spelling errors
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