I had a 320d Touring for the last ten days. Yes, that’s a diesel wagon, not manual though, but at least the leather was brown. It’s a great car of course, but it’s not something I would buy, at least not in this particular specification. The culprit? The 255 wide rubber on the rear wheels.
It looks great on paper. The new, 2016 MY 320d got upgraded to 190HP and 400Nm of torque (the latter from 1750 revolutions), and with the 8speed ZF auto it’s doing 100km/h (62mph) 7.4 seconds after standstill. That could, no, should be even faster, but for its girth: with 90% fuel and a 68kg driver on board it weighs 1605kg (3539lbs). At least my press loaner was RWD as god intended, so I was positively looking forward to flogging it in the Croatian mountains, where our family roadtrip took us. Incidentally, of course. But that wasn’t to be.
You see I never really got on the diesel bandwagon, even though, being European, I have great choice of oil burners in all ages, sizes and price brackets. But I just don’t like how their useful range is all of 2500 revolutions, which is a hindrance, when you try to navigate tight serpentine roads - my favorite type. And even though the 320d is a brisk engine in all normal situations, it still isn’t very good on these. Highway overtaking isn’t a problem, nor is motorway cruising, and it’s of course excellent in the city too, but when the road gets narrow and hectic, it’s just not right. In short: not sporty enough, if you ask me. But that’s not the problem here.
The problem is that the optional 18” wheels come with 255 wide tires in the back and 225 in the front - as opposed to the 205 items all-around BMW specifies as base tires for this model. What’s more, it had sticky Bridgestone summers on. So you know what didn’t happen, when i switched everything off, and stamped on the gas pedal? Wheelspin that’s what. The rubber didn’t as much as squeak, the rear wheels took 400 Newtonmeters in their stride, and the car propelled forward with aplomb. So this particular “ultimate driving machine” turned out to be an understeering barge, all because over-zealous tire choice: looked sporty, drove anything but. Though it has to be said, that because of the endless grip, I could simply add a bit of go, and then the rear helped turn it in, but it didn’t raise my pulse once.
Safe? Yes. Fun? Not so much. There’s a sexy joke in here somewhere, but I let you people write it.