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Long-term wrap: Cheers to a champ - BMW 335i GT

2016-10-17 07:00

GOODBYE OLD FRIEND: TopCar's Aaron Borril bids an emotional goodbye to his BMW 335i GT long-termer. Image: TopCar

Aaron Borril

Ups: Fast, fun, frenetic driving experience. Most practical performance saloon around
Downs: Our time is up

Cape Town - It’s all over. My year with 'Hunchy' has finally come to an end. I won’t lie - I’m pretty heart sore and as an experienced motoring journalist I shouldn’t really get affected by such things.

But I have and it’s difficult to come to terms with bidding farewell to the best long-term test vehicle I’ve ever had the privilege of driving. Here’s a re-cap of some of the highlights of the 12 months we’ve shared together.

Proper impression

As the custodian of a long-termer most of the time you feel obliged to say good things and profess the quality and general awesomeness it might or might not exude. I on the other hand can certainly say this was not the case for my BMW 335i GT. Why - well, because there’s nothing negative about it.

READ: 3 Series GT - BMW's Transformer

Sure, the TopCar team did express mixed opinions on its aesthetical merit, but I didn’t really take their thoughts to heart much. I think it looks great and differentiates itself nicely from the standard 3 Series sedan. Extras such as the 19" wheels and the M-Sport package which comprises both exterior and interior garnishes up the visual ante quite significantly.

My only gripe, if you can call it that, is the white paint job. White is a difficult colour to keep clean most of the time and I’m not entirely sure it’s the greatest shade to show off a vehicle’s form - my neighbour’s gunmetal metallic GT is a far better colour. 

Practical interior

The interior held up well over the 12 months. The leather seats were fairly easy to keep clean with only arduous exercise resulting from vacuuming the carpets. For a premium vehicle the cabin is pretty robust and hard-wearing proving its ability to serve families. I like the BMW interior design blueprint too - the instrumentation is clearly laid out and the switchgear arrangement is intuitive and grouped by function.

This takes the guess work and frustration out of getting to know every on-board processes. BMW is the leader when it comes to the connection between car and driver, both in terms of dynamic and interior functionality. Take iDrive for example - its flawless design works in an almost telepathic way as does the sat-nav, driver experience control, radio and media functionality.

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As an avid cyclist with a family I don’t think there’s anything to complain about regarding Hunchy’s practical side. The longer wheelbase and slightly swollen rear end means there’s a huge amount of space available. This was evident early on during a trip to KwaZulu-Natal for the Sani2C MTB race. Hunchy managed to deal with two 29er mountain bikes packed in the back along with our entire luggage.

No other sedan I know can pull off that feat. However, when things do become cramped there’s an electronic tow-hitch - something that came in handy on our family vacation up the Garden route this past December/January.

'Well-balanced powerplant'

The engine? Probably the most refined and well-balanced powerplant currently available in the 3 Series range. Not only does the 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder serve up 225kW/400Nm, it also delivers superb economy and refinement. One thing I regret not experiencing enough of however is the car’s performance ability choosing to mollycoddle every tank in eco-pro mode instead.

Some advice for the readers: explore and enjoy your car whenever you get a chance because you’ll regret it one day. Fuel efficiency isn’t the be all and end all of motoring. Then there’s that sound… It’s really something to behold. Fire it up and a throaty idle builds into a bassy roar as you pile on the revs, underscored by an obnoxiously rowdy turbocharger and blow-off valve.

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The 335i Gran Turismo falls under the 3 Series price grouping meaning there’s no way of accurately estimating its current value. Based on this anomaly Hunchy (priced R688 000 new) would fetch a trade-value of R500 700 and retail price of R553 700, which is poor evaluation to say the least considering it was optioned with over R120 000 worth of mouth-watering extras.

And so my final paragraph has arrived. Chatting to my wife and little daughter I can confirm I’m not the only one who’s feeling a little blue. They’ve both expressed their sadness in Hunchy’s departure and have already asked which vehicle is going to replace him - a heady task indeed.

Farewell my friend, we’re going to miss you but before you roll away let me take one last pic for the family album.

Image: TopCar


Odo reading start/now: 55/ 20737km                 
Distance covered: 20682km
Fuel consumed: 2138.38
Av. Fuel consumption: 10.3L/100km
Service interval: 20 000km 
Service cost: Covered by five-year or 100 000km Maintenance Plan
Total fuel cost: R26 564.80
Running cost: R1.28/km

Count the cost

Cost then: R688 000 (R801 100 as tested)
Cost now: R704 451
Resale value: R000 000

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Read more on:    topcar  |  aaron borril  |  cape town  |  long term  |  335i  |  new models  |  gt  |  new car

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