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Reader test: BMW 330d

2010-01-18 08:12

Rogan Taylor

And there she sat, ready to go onto the floor and provide hours of pleasure for the next lucky owner. My 2007 BMW Z4 Coupe was now an object of past pleasures. How would I possibly become accustomed to a four door car? Could I get up in the morning and still walk into my garage with a six cylinder, petrol-driven induced smile on my dial? You bet ya!

Waiting for delivery, freshly spruced up under the showroom’s fluorescent lights, was a 2008 BMW 330d Auto Sport pack. An ex demo vehicle, she had only 13 000 km on the clock, and with the optional eighteen inch rims filling her wheel arches, she looked even more menacing than your run-of-the-mill 3 series.  

So what made me change my motoring tune and head for a four door, diesel-powered family saloon?

Do the terms “rocket ship”, “fuel economy” and “comfort” spring to mind? They did for me, and should for you. It’s the proverbial unadulterated wolf in sheep’s clothing story! Well, that’s if you ignore the Sports Pack livery which is the only slight hint at the car’s performance potential. Then again, even a 320i has the option of a Sports Package.

At a robot she will look like every other 3 Series to the untrained eye. But as soon as you let the 500Nm of stonking torque loose, she is anything but normal. A surge of power that is endless, a turbo lag that is basically non-existent, and a gearbox that is smooth and responsive, with handling to boot.

Complete package

In all my years of owning BMWs, this is the most complete package I have ever had the privilege of driving. You can tear along the country roads at warp speeds, compete with any boy racer off the line, and out punch many a car with more street cred and a racing reputation. The mid range punt of this car is simply sublime, period!

Hills, what hills? The 330d treats every surface as a flat runway. I have yet to come across a gradient where the car felt like it needed to change down a cog. Beam me up Scotty!  

The tame side of the vehicle’s personality is an absolute pleasure. With the gearbox positioned in the normal “D” mode, combined with the comfort of the full leather sports seats, she will deliver all occupants to their destination in quiet comfort, and very economically too.

I recently did a trip from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth where, I must say, I wasn’t always sticking to the national speed limit. As James May of Top Gear fame would say, we were giving her a bit of “welly”. She achieved an average fuel consumption of 7.8l/100km. Not bad in anyone’s books. Regular city driving indicates an average 9.5l/100km. My fiancée's 2007 325i manual can only achieve 11.5l/100km and it’s terribly slow up here on the reef.

In summary, if you are looking for a robot racer, this is not your ideal option. But if you require a comfortable, high quality saloon that can cruise along economically, and also let the devil loose when the situation demands, then the BMW 330d is unrivalled. Period!   

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