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5 cars
tommallett

offlinetommallett

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328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
Slideshow
328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
  • 328i: Why 4 cylinders may not be enough for some
I drove my second F30 3 Series yesterday. I blagged a go in a 320d a couple of weeks ago and although I only drove it ten miles and not over a wide variety of surfaces I was stunned by the breadth of its capabilities. Sometimes you can just tell when something is utterly brilliant. This time round I tried the more rarified 328i model.

The 328i has two broad areas of interest for me. The first area of interest is the engine, which is a departure from the traditional 6cylinder BMW unit. The second area of interest was the rest of the car. This may sound simplistic, but there have been enough road tests, mainly of the 320d, to confirm that my initial impressions were correct.

The new generation of BMW products all feel more ‘grown up’ than their predecessors, and the F30 is no exception. There are plenty of soft touch plastics inside and even a basic model comes replete with a screen and a basic iDrive system. This will be important to company car buyers who are often on a budget and can’t specify all of the ‘toys’. Where the E90 model could feel sparse inside, even cheap, the F30 feels far more premium.

The F30 continues to impress once you’ve pulled away, with impressive refinement over our broken streets despite the run flat tyres. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that BMW has resolved the run flat tyre issue. The 8 speed automatic helps matters too, despite having to do plenty of cog swapping it is smoother than a DSG and nearly as quick. No wonder BMW and Porsche put their faith in it.

It also handles well. Although the steering isn’t ultimately feelsome it is accurate and confidence inspiring. Even with the standard suspension it corners with aplomb. The chassis is stiff and well set up, feeling neutral and not succumbing to uncomfortable lean angles. The chassis has always been a selling point for the 3 series, but that hasn’t stopped BMW improving it, and it’s well damped now too.

What about the engine? It is objectively very good indeed. It has a linear power delivery, a muscular mid-range and decent fuel economy. I managed 42mpg driving it over a range of roads for 250 miles and I enjoyed having 258 lb/ft of torque at my disposal between 1250 and 4800 rpm which is a useful improvement over the 184 lb/ft an E90 325i produced. It is also good value for money, costing only £1000 more than a 320d. This is probably the 3 series that gives you the most bangs for your buck.

Having said all of that, I struggled to love the 328i. BMW’s six cylinder engines have always liked to guzzle fuel and may not be much faster in the real world than their diesel cousins, but they sound lovely and have a creamy power delivery, and that is why I might have eschewed the diesel model in the past. Sadly the 328i can’t disguise its 4cylinder origins and failing to do that removes the petrol engine’s major selling point.

Vetteman
I never thought that moving with the time also meant that 6 cylinder engines had to go too. We're moving too fast here!
28.02.2012 @ 15:52
tommallett
At least there is still the 335i!
28.02.2012 @ 16:13
Anonymous
Male, 30
Location: Nottingham, United Kingdom United Kingdom
Birthday: 26 July
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tommallett
tommallett
1 racing cars
15 street cars
  • Defender 2.2D XS Station Wagon
  • M3
  • Aceca-Bristol
  • F40
  • D5 Bi-Turbo
  • C 63 AMG Estate
  • Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 Autobiography Black
  • DB4 GT Zagato
  • 205 GTi 1.9
  • Clio III 2.0 16v RS

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