I WAS CAPTIVATED by the impotent, yet eager, common-rail turbo diesel engine in this car. A fast decisive ignition brought to life its four cylinders without a judder to speak of. I really, really wanted to shit on this car, talk about how it has become an electrically steered barged, how its engine causes several types of cancer, and how, with an M sport pack, it attracted the worst people in the BMW rooster: that says a lot.
Yet here I am driving it with a grin on my face and a bunch of unused diesel money in my pocket. I agree with Chris Harris’ take on the newer f30 320d; it does not seem to consume fuel, It is a prolific cruiser, and (even on hard, eco tires) shows its rear wheel drive dynamics without being a handful to handle.
As it sits, I call it the “Galician special”: get a mid level engine because you need to keep up with the Vazquez, but make it a Diesel because it’s only a façade. Get a luxury brand, but also cloth seats and no optional extras at all because who needs leather or Bluetooth connectivity anyway? In the end it’s not a Citroen C5, and to many (especially those bragging brands at the pub) that’s kind of the point.
If you ignore the social implications of one of the cheapest BMWs you start to see the brilliance that Chris Harris saw where most saw contempt. This car’s engine seems to have all the torque of the world and the most permissive gearing of any car. Sure you won’t be hatch hunting at the lights, a VW Golf GTI will leave it for dead. But, in the highway it feels stable and planted to a degree that you find yourself redefining what “cruising speed” is and buying a radar tracker (albeit the legal kind) so that your triple digit speeds don’t land you four digit fines.
This BMW’s chassis and suspension set up make it surefooted, its light body and engine make it feel eager to turn in, and the combination of both make it an agile canyon craver. Living in a rural area as my grandmother does, the small rims make tire shopping alongside past century relics easier than with a set of wider, bigger rims, it also makes damage less probable when traveling on unpaved roads. But as soon as the roads become paved and the subsided EU asphalts allows for, you can begin tearing down a road as if it was a much faster car than it is.
If perhaps Harris found the engine a bit underwhelming when testing the F30, the large dips, creases, and sharp corners that define the roads in these hilly areas don’t allow for much speed, so the lack of power is masked by the tremendous twisting force of turbocharged diesel when you accelerate out of a corner or into a long uphill straight without breaking a sweat.
The hydraulic power steering is very good as well, it’s hard enough to give you confidence and soft enough for parking, it translates enough road surface information to be communicative, but not so much as to become unsophisticated.
But let’s talk about society, shall we? Because when the E90 died and made the F10 king we saw an important change occur… in Ford. You see, Ford took ages to update the Ford Mondeo, and it fell out of favour with its biggest fan base in England. Suddenly lax company car tax breaks in England and fervour for #brands, saw the BMW 3er become one of the best selling cars in the country. It was a long time coming to be honest, keep in mind that the thing we’ve called a Fusion for the better part of eight years has only been on sale there since 2015. But it coincided with a trend in culture, we’re seeing an added focus to brands by younger people, no longer is the English middle class listening to working class hero in their Mondeos, but to God’s plan in their 320d.
Perhaps it wasn’t Ford taking too long to updated the Mondeo, perhaps it was 90s culture and the effect it had on those reaching middle management right now, Perhaps it was Land Rover when they released the Range Rover Autobiography (a trim with no history or importance other than to brag); the first true lifestyle luxury SUV. Counter culture warned us, have we become the one who listens to all the pretty songs, likes to sing along and likes to shoot its gun yet knows not what it all means?
Is that where the contempt comes from? Shitting on a reasonably efficient, luxurious car because people buy the cheaper version? Their defence is “We’re sensible because we bought a small engine diesel” but in reality if you live in a large European city and your business doesn’t require a motor vehicle, you’re not being sensible at all: if you want a car against all the tax odds, just admit it, why again are Europeans so afraid of admitting they can be as unreasonable and wasteful as the rest of us?
Are people afraid to admit brands are an empty façade as pretentious and fake as their own? Should die hard Bimmerpost fans be afraid of the transformation into a luxury brand with comfort at a higher regard than performance or eager to welcome new fans into it? Is it reasonable, as a car enthusiast, to spend so much money on a BMW when you could get a much more powerful AWD Skoda or Ecoboost Mondeo for even less money? Is it reasonable, as someone worried about individual expenses, to buy a 320d Active Dynamics when DS could sell you a more efficient, cheaper DS 5 HDI?
I don’t know, and much alike many of the Occupy Wall street protestors, those involved in the issue seem to be clueless as well.
***reason for share***
Soon: F36 420d