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Martin

Another rental car....

I booked a 2 series Active Tourer Auto with Sixt as I was interested in trying a FWD BMW and something with a higher driving position to see I was missing.  When I arrived they told me they didn't have one, but offered me a 'special deal' of €15 a day to upgrade to a 320d GT.  I asked what they were going to give me if I didn't upgrade and the answer was a 320d saloon so I didn't bother.  They were parked next to each other when I picked mine up and they were the same spec (even colour), so it would have been a bit of a waste of money.

It's a 320d Advantage, which is similar in spec to a UK 320d SE.  Adding this trim level in Spain gives you Business Nav, Cruise control and PDC which are all standard on the SE, then adds LED headlights, dimming/folding door mirrors, storage pack and full black panel instruments.  On top of that spec, this car has a reversing camera, upgraded (but still 17") wheels and most surprising of all, Adaptive M Sport suspension and an M Sport steering wheel.  The suspension upgrade is over £1000 and I can't see the steering wheel as an option on the Spanish configurator.  I only realised it had adaptive suspension 2 days in when I was going through the settings and saw that you could tailor the Sport mode to be either Drivetrain & chassis, or just one or the other.  

Having cloth seats is a good thing in these temperatures, but the manual seat adjustment is rubbish, electric seats are essential.  The Business Nav is a lot better than it used to be, but I did miss some of the additional functionality of the Professional system.  Not complaining though, as I was going to use my phone which while as good as a portable unit, wouldn't have been as convenient.

I was initially a bit disappointed to get something that was a bit too close to what I have at home, but it's been ideal and probably a lot better than some of the other options.  I've driven this shape of 320d before, but not for anywhere near as long and what has surprised me the most is how vocal and unwilling to rev the engine is.  If you're only experience of a Diesel engine is a 4 cylinder, even one that's relatively as good as the 20d, then you really must try a decent 6 cylinder one as the difference it huge.  The 535d loves to rev to the red line (same 5,500 as the 20d), but the 320d gives up at 4,000rpm even in sport mode and when it goes over 3,000rpm it sounds pretty awful, exactly at the point where the 6 cylinder starts to sound pretty good.

In summary, it really is a very good car.  It's smooth, relatively quiet, very comfortable and fun to throw around, especially when I realised it had the adaptive suspension.  In comfort mode it rolls too much initially for me, but with the suspension in sport but drivetrain in comfort, it's a lot better.  Still pretty comfortable over the bumps, but the roll is massively reduced and it feels a lot sharper.  It's just a shame you can't leave the steering in comfort as sport is a bit too nervous on the motorway.

Economy is exceptional, it does an easy 60mpg at 70mph and the only time it dropped below 50mpg is on the way up to the villa as that's pretty steep roads and plenty of hairpin bends to enjoy.

Compared to a 5 series, there's quite a bit more road and wind noise and a lot of the controls / switches aren't of the same quality, even the indicator which looks the same feels thinner/lighter and doesn't work with the same quality feel.  I've said it a few times before, but the 520d is well worth the small amount extra of the 320d, it's a bargain in comparison imo.

Engine noise aside, I did really like it and if you spend your life on the motorway, it's pretty much the perfect car.  All the performance you really need on the road, comfortable and exceptionally economical.  However, the extra cost of having your 3 series with a 6 cylinder engine, is more than worth the reduced fuel consumption, it will make it feel like a much more expensive car and you can't beat effortless performance.

Overall though, a pretty good holiday hire car.
Big Blue

Nice. I'm looking forward to 2 more holiday rentals in August and September but fear my cars will be an Opel and a Renault.

I reckon the current 3er is a straight swap for an E39 in terms of space, comfort and finish. Shows how the quality and size of previous generations passes on.
Martin

Good luck!

I ran this spec through the configurator and it came to €46,240 or £39,500 which is a lot compared to the price in the UK.

I forgot to mention the LED headlights.  They are the more basic version and are very good on main beam, but not quite so good on dipped beam, probably not quite as good as decent xenons.  They had high beam assist, but not the voodoo system the 535d has, the full fat icon LEDs are worth the extra.

Here it is....



With is being a facelift / LCI car, it gets twin pipes



The plastic interior trim is awful, the aluminium or wood is another essential upgrade.   An electric handbrake would be better too, but this one could be improved by not having a cheap feeling plastic button.

gonnabuildabuggy

Big Blue wrote:
I reckon the current 3er is a straight swap for an E39 in terms of space, comfort and finish. Shows how the quality and size of previous generations passes on.


It's always the case. The Polo is now pretty much a MK1/MK2 Golf.

The 3/5 are now out the point where they are difficult to tell apart.

Someone close by had what looked from a distance like a 2 series saloon on his drive from looking at the rear styling. Turned out to be a 5er, not even a 3er.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Re: Another rental car....

Martin wrote:
I booked a 2 series Active Tourer Auto with Sixt as I was interested in trying a FWD BMW and something with a higher driving position to see I was missing.  When I arrived they told me they didn't have one, but offered me a 'special deal' of €15 a day to upgrade to a 320d GT.  I asked what they were going to give me if I didn't upgrade and the answer was a 320d saloon


So you booked in advance a reasonably large hatch with its large cargo handling capabilities, and all they could offer you was a saloon when you arrived. Pretty poor service IMHO

gonnabuildabuggy wrote:
The Polo is now pretty much a MK1/MK2 Golf.

I think the Polo has been the size of a Mk 1 Golf for a couple of generations. I saw a Mk 1 Golf on the M3 a few weeks back and it looks tiny in comparison to the latest versions
PG

gonnabuildabuggy wrote:
It's always the case. The Polo is now pretty much a MK1/MK2 Golf.

The 3/5 are now out the point where they are difficult to tell apart..


I'm seeing quite a few Polo GTi's on the road and as I come up to them I always think they are Golf's until I see the writing. Dare I say that the Polo GTi is actually a good looking car?

The 3/5 thing seems the same for so many makes now. Different sized peas from the same styling pod.

And Martin, I am so impressed with your spotting. Most of us with hire cars go, "it was an X, I think it was mid trim, oh and it was green and a diesel". You've got a complete spec by spec comparison out within 5 minutes of seeing the car.  
Stuntman

PG wrote:
Dare I say that the Polo GTi is actually a good looking car?


I think it is too.  I potentially have my eye on owning a small hot hatch again in the not too distant future.
Martin

I did have to resort to the Internet to find out about the trim level, but I admit that I did have most of it figured out quite quickly.  I didn't realise it had adaptive suspension for 2 days, so I'm not as bad as you think!
Bob Sacamano

Re: Another rental car....

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Martin wrote:
I booked a 2 series Active Tourer Auto with Sixt as I was interested in trying a FWD BMW and something with a higher driving position to see I was missing.  When I arrived they told me they didn't have one, but offered me a 'special deal' of €15 a day to upgrade to a 320d GT.  I asked what they were going to give me if I didn't upgrade and the answer was a 320d saloon


So you booked in advance a reasonably large hatch with its large cargo handling capabilities, and all they could offer you was a saloon when you arrived. Pretty poor service IMHO


I don't suppose Martin is planning on moving many wardrobes while on his holidays.
Martin

I'm not planning on moving any wardrobes ever!

I would have pushed for the GT for free if I'd needed the space, but the 2 cases and assorted hand luggage fitted in the saloon with space to spare.
Frank Bullitt

I know I should want a 3-series and there's all sorts of reasons to like them but I've yet to find one to really be motivated by and you aren't selling it (neither does my mate who has a '63 320d Business Edition and describes it as the dullest car in the world after enjoying a pair of E90 320d's). Mrs FB spotted a 320d M-Sport in Le Mans Blue and declared it looked lovely, when I showed her what £18k would get, for example, her response was 'is that a joke?' I think we will be sticking with French!
PhilD

Martin wrote:
I'm not planning on moving any wardrobes ever!

I would have pushed for the GT for free if I'd needed the space, but the 2 cases and assorted hand luggage fitted in the saloon with space to spare.


You booked the smaller one right? The luggage capacity of the 3 is probably greater.
Andy C

I can't get excited by a 3 series either, but as soon as you get into 330d, 335d and 340i, it's a different story

I really need to stop looking at these.

http://usedcars.bmw.co.uk/3-Serie...722-3497074.aspx?srcmdc=se_na_re_

Once this does £20k in depreciation, it will be hard to resist.

Martin... are the icon headlights the voodoo ones?
Martin

Yes, the icon are the voodoo ones.   I'd be looking for one with Merino leather, ideally with the leather dashboard as well, it makes a huge difference to the interior.  There are a couple (330d/335d) on Autotrader now that look good.

As I said, if all you do is cruise up and down the motorway, then the 320d is ideal, but upgrading to a 330d/335d/340i is worth every penny of the extra cost.  But I'm even more convinced now than I was after test driving the 3 & 5, that the 5 is a much nicer car to live with every day.
Martin

PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:
I'm not planning on moving any wardrobes ever!

I would have pushed for the GT for free if I'd needed the space, but the 2 cases and assorted hand luggage fitted in the saloon with space to spare.


You booked the smaller one right? The luggage capacity of the 3 is probably greater.


I did.  I think they're about the same size.
PG

Andy C wrote:
I can't get excited by a 3 series either, but as soon as you get into 330d, 335d and 340i, it's a different story


T'was ever thus really. BMW, Audi and Merc have always benefited from the fact that people see the lower engined and spec variants as the good ones with a few bits missing. Whereas the same people have always seen luxury mainstream cars (Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot etc) as tarted up base spec models.

I should know. I had a BMW 318 against a top of the range Ford in 1987!
Martin

It was a delight to get back into the 535d this afternoon.  From the moment you pull on the door handle, then close the door, the difference is quality is very noticeable.  The low speed ride isn't as good, but that's it.  

As I mentioned above, it's surprising how things that look so similar feel so different (columns stalks, steering) and one annoying thing I forgot to mention is that when you quickly come off the brake pedal to go back onto the throttle in the 320, it makes a bit of a 'clang', not good.

Well, apart from the economy, the 320d did over 60mpg on the way back to the airport via the beach earlier.
Frank Bullitt

That's probably why we will end up with another French car!

There are a glut of last-model C5 2.0HDi 180 auto Blue Exclusive (Hydropneumatic) that have hit the pre-reg market all at £silly mainly as they are seen by the Citroën Facisti as the last 'proper' Citroën, but give it 12 months and they will be down to a nice price.
gonnabuildabuggy

PG wrote:
Andy C wrote:
I can't get excited by a 3 series either, but as soon as you get into 330d, 335d and 340i, it's a different story


T'was ever thus really. BMW, Audi and Merc have always benefited from the fact that people see the lower engined and spec variants as the good ones with a few bits missing. Whereas the same people have always seen luxury mainstream cars (Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot etc) as tarted up base spec models.

I should know. I had a BMW 318 against a top of the range Ford in 1987!


Agree. Really need a bigger (6 cylinder) engine for the real effect. The E90 really needs the sat nav to avoid being a very plain dash.
simonp

Stuntman wrote:
PG wrote:
Dare I say that the Polo GTi is actually a good looking car?


I think it is too.  I potentially have my eye on owning a small hot hatch again in the not too distant future.


Audi have an RS1 coming out apparently.
Bob Sacamano

I had a 320d Touring for 4 years and 100k miles. If you want performance, outstanding fuel economy, low tax,great  ride and handling, low servicing costs, reliability, quality - in fact all the car you would ever need, nothing else comes close.

The fact that it's now become victim of the inverted snob factor doesn't negate this.
PhilD

Stuntman wrote:
PG wrote:
Dare I say that the Polo GTi is actually a good looking car?


I think it is too.


Me too, nice chunky looking thing.

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