Our "own" car reviews

F30 320dA

F30 320dA

BMW 320dA Modern Line (F30)

Just like LastSoul here, I too had a go in the F30 320d. BMW's have always been close to my heart and I've owned a few of them, so after driving this winter with the Polo (in which you can't turn the ESP completely off) I've started to re-evaluate my options. Plus I was just curious about the new 3er.



I was none too excited about the looks of it after seeing photos of it online for the first time. I'm happy to say that it does look a lot better in person, especially the front end. I guess that's been the trend with new BMW's for a while now, they take some getting used to. What also struck me in-the-metal was the size of it. It feels bigger than its predecessor.



It's the same when you start driving it too. It feels more like a five, maybe even a bit like a seven. It is sufficiently nimble in roundabouts and city traffic, but it did lean quite a bit while cornering. What I felt was missing was the dynamic driving feel characteristic of the 3 series. No matter how basic spec a 3er is, they've always had an underlying sense of sportiness. You know what I'm talking about, the classic rwd-BMW handling. To be fair this was the Modern Line spec so the Sport Line chassis would probably be better in this respect. Also, the car had studless (proper) winter tires in 16" size (albeit runflats). Making sudden steering inputs I could feel the rear end of the car following with a bit of a delay. I wasn't that happy with the handling or steering feel, but tires are admittedly a big part of the equation.



As this was a Modern Line car, it had a light beige interior with the optional leather seats and unlacquered "rough cut" wood trim. Other than the plastic feel of the wood trim it was a genuinely nice place to be. The interior quality was just as good as expected. A lot of gadgets on these cars nowadays. I could probably have spent the entire hour of the test drive just exploring the iDrive. I really liked the Owner's handbook in the iDrive (as demonstrated by saabkyle04 here), a feature I hope will become a standard of the industry later. I spent some time trying the different modes (Sport+, Sport, Comfort, Traction, Eco Pro IIRC), but I didn't notice any huge differences between them on such a short test drive. Sport+ did allow the rear end to slide around a bit, but nowhere enough to have fun. For that you still need to turn DSC completely off, which you fortunately are allowed to do.



On to the engine then. I didn't have a lot of expectations of the engine, since a two litre turbodiesel is rarely a recipe for excitement and joy. In that respect, I guess it was as good as it gets. The 184hp rated engine pulls well in most situations and accelerates the car from 0-62mph in under 8 seconds. That's pretty decent for an auto and a car which is still pretty basic spec. It should definitely please the average company car leaser, who I believe most of the people driving these will be. The engine is perfectly fine and the performance is really good when taking the consumption into account, BUT a 4 cylinder diesel just doesn't feel sporty despite the good acceleration. No surprise there.

The gearbox was the all new 8 (!) speed automatic. I was quite impressed with it. Compared to the DSG in my Polo, the shifts felt almost as fast. As it's a regular auto it was a lot more comfortable and sophisticated while cruising than the DSG. Of course, if you wanna go you still have to switch over to Sport or Manual mode, since the kickdown is just too slow to react. Anyway, I have no issues with the gearbox.

Up until this point, I was really pleased. At this point I had reached halfway mark of my test drive. I was planning to pull over to take a few photos. I was on a snowy back road (covered with gravel in the summer) and pulled over in a junction with totally flat ground (Street view)and no more than 5 centimeters (two inches) of snow. Keep in mind that I've driven some ten winters and most of them with rwd BMW's and on studless winter tires meant for the Nordic climate (not allseasons). I thought I'd move the car just a bit for the photos. Stick it in D and the car doesn't move. Wtf, ok I'll reverse a bit then. Still nothing. Ah, excellent opportunity to try out all the different modes available, I thought. The one called "Traction" is after all meant for this kind of situation, but still no movement. I tried rocking the car back and forth with D and R but it just wouldn't move at all. I stopped a few passing cars to ask if they knew of any sand containers nearby (people often set up these near intersections on these country roads that can be tricky in the winter). No help, ran to a nearby house and got sand and a helper there (Thanks again if you'd happen to be reading!). By that time I was late for returning the car, so I only snapped a few (crap) pics without checking the settings on the camera. All the exterior shots in this post are from when I was stuck.



As I said, I've driven many winters with BMW's and I find it very hard to believe any of my former cars would've gotten stuck in such a ridiculous spot. This incident did leave a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, this may have been that rare situation where studded tires would've helped me or maybe this particular spot was just diabolically slippery compared to the rest of the road, but still some blame has to go to the car (it's never the driver, right?).

Summary: As an all-rounder, it's a pretty darn good car, but if you appreciate sporty characteristics, you'd better go for a petrol and the Sport Line. Then again the car I drove SHOULD be pretty damn good, because it was quite expensive. I didn't see the price tag but according to their website such a car must cost at least 51000?, but then again new BMW's have never been cheap. I still think the car deserves another try, next time with summer tires and a petrol engine.
 
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I love the modern line trim. That interior alone is amazing. I love the rough textured wood as well.
Seriously? I mean yes the detail is nice but the colour? Yuck!

BTW : how can you test a BMW 3 series's performance/handling when there's a ton of snow around?
(Also 51k? WTF, that same car is 30-35k? here)
 
BTW : how can you test a BMW 3 series's performance/handling when there's a ton of snow around?
(Also 51k? WTF, that same car is 30-35k? here)
Did I say I tested it on racetrack or something? The main roads were free of snow, they were just regular wet asphalt. The road in the pictures is a country lane with light to no traffic. You don't have to be driving on the limit to experience body roll. I'm not saying the conditions were ideal, but it's still possible to get a pretty good idea of the way the car handles.

Our cars are heavily taxed, the base model costs 43k? here and this one had at least 8k? worth of extras on it.
 

AiR

New member
I ended up at 400000:- or ?46k for the 320d with a bit of kit (sight kit, bluetooth thingy, folding seats (9000:-!!) on it and only 25% VAT. That fake wooden trim bit costs 3000:- alone. Automatic gearbox 24000:-. BMW have no standard equipment. The finnish configurator isn't letting me configure a modern line 320d, only a sport line which I do not want. Norwegian configurator is giving me a surprisingly low price of ?62k. Danish PDF (no configurator) starts at ?78 without options.

Also BMW without charcoal black interior = no wai.
 
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AiR

New member
Ampera is equivalent of ?45k after rebates here. It's only got three options (of which one is paint, you can tell it's made in the US) which can bump the price a bit. For only 16900 you get a fancy sound system with bass (BOSE), navigation and a radio feature you can't use (DAB). Parking sensors and rear camera is 6900:-. Interestingly leather is standard and cloth is not avalible. The latest report on the Ampera from ViB say that it's got legendary heating and works well in cold.
 

MacGuffin

Well-known member
Interesting fact about the Ampera: You cannot order it with a trailer hitch (like all electric cars btw.). That is another huge disadvantage in sales arguments.

Wouldn't it be ironic, if caravaners are the ones who clinched it against the electric car?
 
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I love the Modern Line interior. I'd buy the car just for that. Although if I was buying a car only for its interior I'd end up with a DS5 or something.
 
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Yikes, not even me, a giant ass Fiat fanboy wouldn't go near their autoboxes. Selespeed and Dualogic just make me ill.
It's a great system, and auto city-cars are the future... or i'm just lazy. :p



That's because people only know how to criticise and go herpaderp Fiat break. Those with legit complaints only ever turn up with the same couple of faults (a PAS motor, some sensors, squeaky suspension parts..)
They assume it'll explode. :(


I'd like to give you a couple of contenders on the Panda/GP contest :p
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Oh...my. Economy and sensibleness in a bundle of nice. :p
There is no contest, Panda always wins. The proper one, obviously. :p
I do like the Evo rear lights, but they are dangerously close to Lexus-y.
 

lip

Well-known member
Short review: 1998 Honda Accord Coup? 3.0i





V6, 3.0 Liters, 200hp, 4-speed automatic transmisson, 1550kg, 307'000km

Courtesy car I had for the last two days while my own Honda banger got a well-earned wellness abidance at the local garage.

Pro:
  • In relation to my 122hp Honda Concerto, a 200hp lump under the bonnet is a large step-up.
  • Nice growling soundtrack
  • Very good steering wheel, just the right size.
  • Comfortable ride, not too hard, not too soft. A classic wafting barge.
  • Sunroof and aircon. Nice. Mostly you only get one or the other in older cars.
  • A simple and small car key, not one of these ugly oversized fake-chrome key blobs as in most modern cars. (A pet peeve of mine).
  • Overall in pretty good nick for a 14 year old 300'000km car. Inside and outside.

Contra:
  • Like in most two-door Coup?s there are these truly useless back seats, hard to get in, and then no place at all for feet and legs. And you can't even fold them down to make the boot bigger. Pure nonsense.
  • Despite it's aerodynamic look and stance, there's a lot of ugly wind noise at Autobahn speeds.
  • The slow 4-speed gearbox is clearly overchallenged with 200 horses. It's a bit like driving a turbo lag car.
  • Dark leather on seats and door trims stands in stark contrast to the everything-is-simple-plastic-in-here dashboard.
  • Sipping away 12 Liters/100km only with Autobahn driving is way too much. The 1550kg weight taking it's toll. Simply too heavy.





Would I buy it? - No. I'm a hatchback man, I can't stand the impractical Coup? shape.
 
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rickhamilton620

Well-known member
Short review: 1998 Honda Accord Coup? 3.0i


V6, 3.0 Liters, 200hp, 4-speed automatic transmisson, 1550kg, 307'000km
  • The slow 4-speed gearbox is clearly overchallenged with 200 horses. It's a bit like driving a turbo lag car.
Would I buy it? - No. I'm a hatchback man, I can't stand the impractical Coup? shape.
It's true. The 4-speed with 3.0/3.5 V6 combo is notoriously unreliable. The 2nd Gen Odyssey's transmission woes rival any Chrysler minivan of the day.
 
It's true. The 4-speed with 3.0/3.5 V6 combo is notoriously unreliable. The 2nd Gen Odyssey's transmission woes rival any Chrysler minivan of the day.
Which is a shame, because those were really nice vans to drive. Maybe the worst reliable Honda product this side of a Passport though. I bailed on one before the transmission exploded, but after the aircon did. And like any Honda product they love to chow down on motor mounts. Of course I went off and bought something with an "improved" transmission that is regarded as "more or less" having had the kinks ironed out of it... nothings perfect.
 
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Fiat Grande Punto 1.4 Dynamic Dualogic.

This review has been 5 years in the making, 4 years and 50 weeks as a passenger, 2 weeks as a 'driver', all of that passenger time alows me to be picky.

When it was a day old:






Being a 1.4 and a Dynamic, it's a couple of steps-up spec and engine wise. (The base model, has alot of kit. Dynamic adds air con and leather steering wheel.) Also having 77 horses, it's the most powerful car, I've ever driven. A Panda 100HP must be capable of timetravel, because this does feel quick enough for me.

It is a bloody good looking car, particularly the rear 3/4's.
The interior is fantastic, nothing feels cheap, everything fits flush and has a soft touch. To be finicky, the cupholders aren't cupholders, you can't fit a can in them and i'm just glad that McDonalds coffee cup lids have an unbreakable seal, because they only fit at a 20% angle.
The sun-visors are awful, it's either horizontal, or just vertical. You can't get fine adjustments. Finally the last thing about being a passenger, the rear seat. When you go over a speedbump, because it has a torsion beam you go through the roof, even if you crawl over it.

The previous car was an Punto mk 2.5, honestly the worst car ever made. The interior was rock hard and had sharp plastic. Nothing was flush. Hand on heart, the road/tyre/wind noise was so bad you had to shout to talk at 70 MPH, even then you couldn't hear each other. How Fiat managed to go from building that, to this in one step, i'll never know.

What makes this 'interesting' is the auto gearbox, it's a manual box with an automated front end, which gives you better economy, compared to a normal autobox and more importantly allows you to wheelspin everytime. :mrgreen:
I love the gearbox, i'm a lazy person... but it's not perfect.

The manual mode is fairly pointless, I was doing about 15 mph, I attempted 3rd gear just to see what'd happen. BONG!!! "Gear unavailable" Ok... what if, I forget to change down? 40 mph in 5th, I come to a stop and we're in 1st gear. I know why they override you, but it makes it useless. It's only happened twice, but it can stall.

It also comes with an eco button, this changes gear at around 2k-3k rpm, the problem is, it makes the car unbelievably dangerous. It will not move, at a roundabout the car feels like it has no power and it hesitates, it takes soo long you can cause an accident. I use eco mode, but it gets turned on and off for roundabout and junctions which need no hesitation.

If you go from neutral into drive, or reverse into neutral too fast. BONG!!! "Please try again, foot on brake" If you have you're foot on the brake for too long (I'm talking several minutes) for a junction/railway line/bridge BONG!!! "Put it in fucking neutral, you prick!!!" Ok, this happens due to my laziness, and not really the cars fault.
The final 'flaw' with the gearbox is, every single time you open the drivers door, it primes the gearbox. Which sounds like a high pitched vacuum cleaner. Which gets annoying if you only went to the car to get something off the back seat.

The brakes are really sharp, i'm slowing, i'm slowing, i'm through the windshield. A Google search proves others agree, it's not my terribleness. The steering occasionally feels really light, like it's in half city-mode.
Visibility isn't great, my complaint with all modern cars, is you have no idea where the bumpers are.
Other cars in this segment, that ive been around for comparison. I hated my driving instructors Corsa, didn't feel right somehow. My 3rd driving lesson was in a C4 (His car was in a bodyshop) I don't know why, but the Citroen felt a million times better. The Corsa is built on the Punto chassis, I don't know what Opel did, but it doesn't feel the same. My mums Fabia, also a 2006 which the interior isn't as nice, but we all know which car is bulletproof. Wheres narf? :p


Is it a 'great handling, driving machine'? No idea, i've had my licence a fortnight. It goes around corners, has an engine and brakes.

A quick look on Parkers site, alot of people say its the most unreliable car ever made. This has gone wrong once. The only fault, the drivers central locking failed, it happened outside the dealership after it had been serviced... I like to suspect that their bad vibes fucked it.



Sadly it is going back soon, to be replaced by an aircraft carrier. If I had the money i'd buy this, despite what you suspect and the reviews say, I don't think the doors are going to fall off, I don't expect to be left in a cloud of smoke at the side of the road. As an econobox, it does it's job amazingly. It has it's minor interior annoyances and the gearbox hates it if you're overly lazy. But, I can't think of a better econobox shopping car. Apart from a Panda Eleganza in Mamba Yellow, with the yellow interior, roof bars and fog lights, obviously.
What bridge is that?
 
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