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Martin

BMW Dealer visit

Test sits only at this stage, anything else would be a little premature.

I was hoping to have a look at the 4 series, but they everything but in the showroom, from i3 up to 740d.

I had a good look around the face lifted 5 series first, but you'd be really hard pressed to tell the differences. It was an M Sport so the steering wheel is a good giveaway (and a big improvement), but the other changes are very subtle. I did like the exclusive stitching on the seats and the new iDrive controller/screen is a subtle improvement.

It didn't need much changing though, it's still got a huge amount of appeal to me, it really is lovely inside, definitely the best car in the class.

It was good to compare it with a 3 series Touring, they had a 330d xdrive Luxury sat next to it.  Now, the Luxury trim with all beige interior and standard seats doesn't show it off at its best but I was disappointed. I liked the M Sport I looked at a few months ago, so maybe the sports seats and darker interior make a bigger difference than you'd think? It felt very basic inside compared to the 5 series, with less leather/more plastic, small flat seats, less attractive dashboard, small dials etc.  Its missing details you'd expect too like a load cover that powers up and down etc.

Having a look at a new 3 series convertible did make it seem a bit better though, it's certainly a lot more modern.

They had a used Z4 35is at the back of the showroom which was interesting because its on the list to replace Lindsay's car next year.  I've got mixed feelings about it after having a good look because whilst there are plenty of positives (low driving position, full leather interior, seats etc), there are a few things I didn't like such as a tiny boot with the roof down, some plastics that should be better and a seat that squeaked when in my ideal driving position as it rubbed against the trim, which made me pull it forward a little further than I'd like.  A test drive might change my mind and I still think it looks great, but I'm not quite as keen as I was.

I had a quick look at the X1 as well, but it feels like its at least a generation behind everything else BMW sell. It has an interior that's original 1 series in quality of materials and its smaller than you'd expect.  The facelift has improved the looks a little, but I didn't like it at all.

The 740d M Sport was lovely, I'd be more than happy to waft around in one of those!
Racing Teatray

You'd hope a 5-series feels more luxurious than a 3-series.

When I was in Croydon last Saturday looking at cars with my acquaintance who is purchasing the A8L, the same dealer also had a rare 4.2 S-Line version of the A6 Avant. Since said chap currently has a V70, he was quite taken with the idea of the Avant with the same engine as the A8, so we took a look after testing the A8. That took about a minute because it transpires that the interior of a 56-plate A6 is not a patch on the interior of a 56-plate A8. That generation of A8 has a really quite exquisite interior that combines a clean, attractive design with tasteful and expensive-looking materials. The A6 cabin felt totally workaday by comparison and not as well-assembled.
Martin

Racing Teatray wrote:
You'd hope a 5-series feels more luxurious than a 3-series.


You would, but the gap is still surprising and not consistent with the difference in price.
Stuntman

Re: BMW Dealer visit

Martin wrote:
It felt very basic inside compared to the 5 series, with less leather/more plastic, small flat seats, less attractive dashboard, small dials etc.  Its missing details you'd expect too like a load cover that powers up and down etc.


Never once in my motoring life have I ever wished for, never mind expected, something like that!  
Martin

Re: BMW Dealer visit

Stuntman wrote:
Martin wrote:
It felt very basic inside compared to the 5 series, with less leather/more plastic, small flat seats, less attractive dashboard, small dials etc.  Its missing details you'd expect too like a load cover that powers up and down etc.


Never once in my motoring life have I ever wished for, never mind expected, something like that!  




Ahhh, but have you ever owned an estate, especially one with an opening rear window and a powered tailgate? I suspect not!
Michael

TreVoRs Mercedes has an electric load blind. Ever since I saw that my cheap recoil effort seems to mock me and my poverty spec car with each use. It's one of those things you just don't realise you need until you get into the car after loading in shopping and seeing the rear view in the mirror obscured because you've forgotten to relocate the damned blind.
Frank Bullitt

When I borrowed an A4 Avant once I left the rear old cover up which was a pain, but it did motivate me to put it down every time thereafter.
Martin

Michael wrote:
TreVoRs Mercedes has an electric load blind. Ever since I saw that my cheap recoil effort seems to mock me and my poverty spec car with each use. It's one of those things you just don't realise you need until you get into the car after loading in shopping and seeing the rear view in the mirror obscured because you've forgotten to relocate the damned blind.


Exactly right!
PhilD

Martin wrote:
Racing Teatray wrote:
You'd hope a 5-series feels more luxurious than a 3-series.


You would, but the gap is still surprising and not consistent with the difference in price.


I'm not sure I would. I like the idea of the same quality in different sizes.
TreVoR

Martin wrote:
Michael wrote:
TreVoRs Mercedes has an electric load blind. Ever since I saw that my cheap recoil effort seems to mock me and my poverty spec car with each use. It's one of those things you just don't realise you need until you get into the car after loading in shopping and seeing the rear view in the mirror obscured because you've forgotten to relocate the damned blind.


Exactly right!


I was going to post a reply but I didn't want to rub it in.  It is a surprisingly useful feature.
gonnabuildabuggy

Racing Teatray wrote:
.. it transpires that the interior of a 56-plate A6 is not a patch on the interior of a 56-plate A8. That generation of A8 has a really quite exquisite interior that combines a clean, attractive design with tasteful and expensive-looking materials. The A6 cabin felt totally workaday by comparison and not as well-assembled.


That's the truth of it. Given you the high depreciation on the top of the range models then they make a lot of sense as a used choice. The difference between the A4 and A8 was an even bigger chasm.

Went in a friends brand new A6 at the weekend, it's a lot, lot closer to the 2004 A8 but still not as good overall I'd say.
Big Blue

gonnabuildabuggy wrote:


Went in a friends brand new A6 at the weekend, it's a lot, lot closer to the 2004 A8 but still not as good overall I'd say.


All nice to know. The interior of the D3 is a very special place
JohnC

I was surprised by how much more luxurious the 5 series feels than the 3. It's not just one or two things that give yuo that feeling either: its the whole ambience and the quality of all the materials.

I agree with PhilD though and I would rather see largely the same quality throughout all models in a manufacturer's line up. However I presume that's why people are tempted to buy "up the range" and inflate the profit of the manufacturers. This will surely have to change though as people are forced into smaller cars through emissions and legislation.

Much as I like the 5, I couldn't have something as big unless I was going to be on the motorway all the time. A town car it is not.
Bob Sacamano

JohnC wrote:
I agree with PhilD though and I would rather see largely the same quality throughout all models in a manufacturer's line up. However I presume that's why people are tempted to buy "up the range" and inflate the profit of the manufacturers. This will surely have to change though as people are forced into smaller cars through emissions and legislation.

.


If the quality of the 5 series is much greater than that of the 3 series for little extra cost, would not that push up the range reduce profits not increase them? Surely then the profit on the 3 series is greater?
JohnC

I'm no expert but as I understand it the cost of manufacturing something like a 5 series is only marginally more than a car the size of the 3 - perhaps a couple of thousand pounds. The sales price is at least £5k different but if you were looking at a £35k 3 series or a £40K 5 series, the difference in feel and quality of the 5 probably seems worth it.
Tim

A lot of the cost is stuff you can't see - R&D and electrical systems. I expect the improvement in material quality for the bits you can touch is a few quid per car at the most.
PhilD

JohnC wrote:
I was surprised by how much more luxurious the 5 series feels than the 3. It's not just one or two things that give yuo that feeling either: its the whole ambience and the quality of all the materials.

I agree with PhilD though and I would rather see largely the same quality throughout all models in a manufacturer's line up. However I presume that's why people are tempted to buy "up the range" and inflate the profit of the manufacturers. This will surely have to change though as people are forced into smaller cars through emissions and legislation.

Much as I like the 5, I couldn't have something as big unless I was going to be on the motorway all the time. A town car it is not.


And explains why the likes of Mini are doing well because small car doesn’t have to mean utilitarian interior.
Bob Sacamano

JohnC wrote:
I'm no expert but as I understand it the cost of manufacturing something like a 5 series is only marginally more than a car the size of the 3 - perhaps a couple of thousand pounds. The sales price is at least £5k different but if you were looking at a £35k 3 series or a £40K 5 series, the difference in feel and quality of the 5 probably seems worth it.


You're right, of course. The quality of the 3 series is the same as that of the 5 series, but if BMW can give the illusion of such with a couple of extra bits of soft touch plastic and charge £5k more then.. kerchinggg!
Martin

The 5 series is only more expensive higher up the engine range, it's actually cheaper lower down.  

A 520D SE is £500 more expensive than a 320d Luxury, but adds Sat Nav, Xenons, Heated seats, front parking sensors (maybe more) and the 320d Luxury only counters with 18" wheels.

At 330d/530d level then the gap widens to £4,500 but the gap is halved when you equalise the spec.  The gap for the estate is greater, but the 5 series gets self levelling suspension and the all important electric load cover!

I'd imagine the engineering quality is broadly the same, but you get a lot more space and a lot better interior quality for broadly the same amount of money on average across the ranges.

If my options were between a 320d and 520d it would be the easiest decision to make.  If it was 520d vs 330d then that would be altogether more difficult.
scamper

Frank Bullitt wrote:
When I borrowed an A4 Avant once I left the rear old cover up which was a pain, but it did motivate me to put it down every time thereafter.


Found that a pain with the scampers pec. Looks like they are dumbing down the 3 series with less kit.
Mark

JohnC wrote:
I was surprised by how much more luxurious the 5 series feels than the 3. It's not just one or two things that give yuo that feeling either: its the whole ambience and the quality of all the materials.


I'd agree with that regarding the E34 & E39 5's - there was a big difference there - but definitely not with the E60. Things have improved again with the F10 though.
Martin

The LCI E60 has much better plastics than the E90 as well as additional leather which makes a difference.   The pre LCI E60 is a different matter though, that was pretty poor.  I do agree that the F10 has moved things forward but the gap is broadly the same as it was.
Alf McQueef

I had a look around a current Z4, 1, 3 and 5 in a showroom the last time mine was in for a service and the Z4 was looking oldest inside, the new 1 was better than the old one, but I thought the new 3 and new 5 were both about the same and both a significant step up inside.

Its all relative though - its all very well for journos to get in a lather about some small section of cheaper plastics but the overall feeling of the car is often fine - my pre-LCI E90 is clearly still considered "premium" in the eyes of most people who get in it, and a last-shape 1 series or 3 year old X1 is still a decent step up over our 06 Golf Plus, which was itself ludicrously better than the Focus Mk1 Ghia we had before. Most of us are not in brand new cars all the time and doing side by side comparisons.

The current 3 and 5 interiors are among the nicest I have seen, I prefer the layout to recent Audis, which have gone a bit "all screen" for my liking. I was highly seduced by a new 3 series Touring M Sport, it just looked lovely inside, more cosseting than the austere E90/60 interiors and with more angled towards the driver like BMW's of old. A nice place to be.
Martin

I pretty much agree with you ALF and it definately depends on what you're used to.

One of my pet niggles are exterior door handles!  They're the first point of physical contact with a car and so many manufacturers get it wrong with a lightweight flimsy feeling handle and it's becoming increasingly common.  My Passat was much better than the 130i and the 520d is better again but the latest 5 series is a bit dissapointing in this area.

Probably not something most people are too concerned about.....  
Martin

We were in London today for a post Christmas treat (Champagne afternoon tea, which was lovely) and popped into BMW Park Lane.  We were told all the cars were open and to have a good look,around, so we did.  They have plenty to look at, but no 1 series, X3, X5 or X6 (surprisingly) and despite there being a BMW i showroom down the road, they had an i8 which I've looked at before but not sat in.

The i8 is not an easy car to get in and out of at all (especially out).  There may be a height where it's OK, but I'm too tall and Lindsay is too short, I had to help her get out!  Maybe it's better with practice, but it still won't be easy without kicking the trim and/or wearing the seat bolster.  Once in, the driving position is very good, it feels more supercar than sports car, but the visibility is awful.  Other than that, it is really well put together using nice materials and does feel special.  

The M5 was very familiar, probably too familiar really, but I do like Silverstone Metallic.  The M6 Gran Coupe looked fantastic, especially inside where is has full Merino leather as standard now, but it wouldn't work for me at the moment, as rear access and space once inside isn't really good enough.  The M3 was a good demonstration of what a huge difference full leather makes, as it was sat next to a fairly standard M4, which felt several grades lower inside.  It looked better outside though, Tanzanite blue is a fabulous colour.

I was really impressed with a well equipped 730Ld M Sport.  The seats front and rear are fantastically comfortable, the materials are a clear step up from mine and this one had soft leather pretty much everywhere.  The only think I'm not sure about are the silver switches, but other than that it looks like a very nice place to spend time.

Also had a look at the X1, which is a big improvement over the old model, a 340i which is exactly the same as the old model, a 220d M Sport coupe which felt a bit cheap and claustrophobic inside (the M2 will have to be amazing to make it a feel anywhere near worth nearly £50k) and a 220d M Sport Gran Tourer, which looks much better in M Sport trim (still no looker) and had a surprisingly spacious and practical interior.  It's not cheap, but if you want decent performance and space for up to 5 kids, then it's worth looking at.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Martin wrote:

One of my pet niggles are exterior door handles!  They're the first point of physical contact with a car and so many manufacturers get it wrong .....

Probably not something most people are too concerned about.....


Absolutely right with your observation; door handles, steering wheel, gear lever knob, handbrake (even the key itself, or cardkey) ... all are the tactile things that you come into contact with on every occasion that you drive, so if money has been saved there, how much other cost-cutting has gone on that you can't see? IMHO it is essential that manufacturers get these basic items right, and give an impression (even if it's false) that money has been spent on important items
PhilD

BMW blah blah blah... more importantly where did you go for afternoon tea?
Martin



The thread title means you can easily avoid it!  

Park Lane Hilton.  We did think about going to the Ritz as we really enjoyed that, but I didn't fancy wearing a jacket/tie.   The Hilton still has their Christmas special on as well, which was very nice.
PR

Martin wrote:
We were in London today for a post Christmas treat (Champagne afternoon tea, which was lovely) and popped into BMW Park Lane. The i8 is not an easy car to get in and out of at all (especially out).


Footage emerges of Martin's trip to London:



http://youtu.be/a6hpdcyWpDI

Roadsterstu

 to both
Big Blue

PR wrote:
Martin wrote:
We were in London today for a post Christmas treat (Champagne afternoon tea, which was lovely) and popped into BMW Park Lane. The i8 is not an easy car to get in and out of at all (especially out).


Footage emerges of Martin's trip to London:



http://youtu.be/a6hpdcyWpDI



     
Nice Guy Eddie

Brilliant
Twelfth Monkey

Come off it.  They're far too full of British reserve!
Sav

There was an Imola Red (£1925 for that colour now!) M3 Saloon at the local dealer last week and it did look fabulous, especially Imola Red which has always been a favourite, and those fabulously wide rear wheel arches. It also had the full Merino leather, and whilst the extra areas covered by leather undoubtedly made it feel more special compared to the standard interior , it wouldn’t be an essential option for me. It’s not like the standard dash looks or other plastic areas look particularly cheap or nasty. “Huge difference” is a bit of an over exaggeration IMO, especially as the M3 gets Merino leather seats as standard, so it’s not like you get the standard Dakota leather of other lesser models. In general I prefer the interiors of the F20 and F30, the F10’s dash just looks too bulky for my liking.

It sounds like the next 5 and 6 Series will be a fair bit lighter than the current cars, and when the M5 and M6 weigh near two tonnes, that will surely be welcome.
Martin

I'll get my own back Mr Roache.

I am slightly horrified that thought popped into your head......

Thanks to Sav for adding something relevant to the thread, despite being wrong!   

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