A Few Days With A Bmw 330i

These are my thoughts as I drove the car. You can find the full review here.

Day 1 – Morning

I’m not a morning person so it took a few minutes to figure out how to connect my phone and that I should download the BMW Connected app. The app greets you with a readout of the fuel level, fuel range and the mileage. Its all very modern and connectivity-y, but that information was already staring at me through the steering wheel. I can’t remember the last time I needed to check my fuel level from outside a car, but I do find often myself at an automotive shop of some kind where they ask you the mileage as if every customer recites it off the top of their heads. So there’s that.

You can also have apps within the app that do lots of fun stuff; such as analyse your driving style, give you web radio, read your tweets, access your calendar and so on.

So do bear all that in mind if you’re ever rear ended by a BMW.

I drove off, pulled up at a stop sign and felt a big clunk. The kind of clunk where something has broken. Fortunately it turned out the car has automatic stop/start, but it’s just very overt and not really befitting for a luxury sports sedan.

Once that was sorted, I drove around aimlessly for a while just enjoying the smooth ride and eight speed transmission while trying to figure out if I like the exhaust noise or not.

Day 1 – Afternoon

I do like the exhaust noise. It’s raspy and sounds meatier than it probably should. I suspect it’s the sound teenage Honda Civic drivers with aftermarket pipes aim for but somehow miss completely.

The engine is helped along by two turbos, so I spent some time trying to feel when they come on. A police car pulled out behind me after a few miles, so I gave up. At that very point I concluded I didn’t want a conversation with a cop and that BMW forced induction engineers are wizards.

By then I was also enjoying the seats and driving position, so I decided now is the time to take it up the side of the local mountain.

In sport mode it makes the car just the right amount of aggressive for some fun, and carving through the tight bends quickly became a joy in the exact manner BMW drivers like to bang on about.

So consider this me banging on about it.

Day 1 – Evening

I now know why modern BMW drivers don’t indicate. The stalk returned to centre rather than staying up and that’s not natural. I needed to read the manual to figure out what the pattern was and how much you push them changes how long they stay on for. Given how much tech is in cars nowadays, that the turn signal has a learning curve seems a little short sighted. We already have a solid system that allows anyone to get in a car and do something as basic as indicating. For a while I thought I was in a practical thought experiment about a turn signal that is always potentially on or off.

Even after reading the manual it’s basically Schrodinger’s Turn Signal until you develop the muscle memory. Even then, I can see why people give up and just don’t use them.

Day 2 – Morning

Errand time. The sun was out and it took me a while to remember BMW puts it’s small heat level control between the vents. I was surprised and pleased to find a good old fashioned thumb dial. BMW is showing restraint there from just using new technology willy nilly. For that and the current implementation of iDrive I give them a firm nod of the head.

Day 2 – Afternoon

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a solid BMW. It’s exactly what you expect, and everything is well thought out and built properly – as long as you ignore the turn signals in the same way website commenters believe a proper BMW stereotype should.

Other than that fickleness, the engine is the only thing I’m not sure about overall. It’s definitely not a beloved straight six, but I suspect with more time I would come to enjoy it for what it is – a strong, well engineered lump that doesn’t guzzle too much fuel.

Day 3 – Morning

I keep reading on the internet that BMW has lost its edge, I handed the keys back not so sure about that. It strikes me that as something to daily drive to work and have the occasional fling through the back roads with, it’s a good place to be.

I know you though, so ignore the showy M Sport stuff and get the track package instead for an extra three grand.

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