2004 BMW 3 Series 320D from UK and Ireland - Comments

27th Nov 2007, 05:34

Nice review.

Agree on leather. It looks nice and smells nice, but slippery when cornering hard, and awful in temperature extremes. Definitely style over practicality. Like you, I loved my 320d, but two instances of turbo failure marred the ownership experience slightly. Although BMW were excellent, it damaged my confidence in the car. Other than that it was lively and capable, and I enjoyed it immensely.

The 330d is a superb car, but don't overlook the 330i which if you do the sums, is not necessarily much more expensive to own, and in many ways is still the superior car.

As good as the 330d's engine is, the 330i has truly one of the most incredible mass produced petrol engines ever made. Crisp, smooth, free revving and with bags of thrust all through its rev range. The 330d is a little quicker in the midrange, but the i claws it back, and then some up top, and has an immediacy and crispness to its throttle response that the diesel unit just can't match. The d is impressive, but the i does funny prickly things to the hairs on the back of your neck. Or it does mine anyway.

In "average" driving I get 30 mpg out of my 330i. Doing the same journey with the same driving style in the 330d I borrowed, I got 38. Diesel costs 5p per litre more nowadays, the 330d costs a couple of grand more to buy than the 330i year for year, and the 330i needs less frequent servicing and has a better reliability record than the 330d according to the two separate BMW technicians I spoke to. Factoring in lost interest on the 2k and all the other items above, the cost argument in favour of the 330d was hardly convincing. We're talking hundreds rather than thousands over a three year ownership period.

Do your sums carefully, and assume nothing.

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