Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 120d - 4th Report Update
21 February 2008
The 1-series begins the countdown to its departure.
|21 FEBRUARY 2008|
|Forecast CPM 28.1p|
|Actual CPM 32.2p|
|The 120d is cleaned and due to return to its maker after nine months in our care. A full final report will follow soon, where we’ll review the green technology and what it’s like to live with. |
|24 JANUARY 2008|
|Forecast CPM 28.6p|
|Actual CPM 32.2p|
|For the second time in our care, the 1-series has flattened its battery after being left for 36 hours. As we write it’s with the dealer following some slick service from BMW Assist.|
Main Report - 11 JANUARY 2008
Our 120d is fitted with stop-start, a system that cuts the engine automatically when you're at a standstill and in neutral, instantly refiring when you touch the clutch pedal.
It appears to work faultlessly - at least is has in the 9000 miles the car has been with us - and seems impossible to catch out. But since chatting to various industry people, I've discovered there's a reasonable amount of resistance and suspicion about the technology. It's the same with anything new that comes in, but in this case there's no reason for it.
Admittedly, when you hand the keys to a new body and explain stop-start , a look of concern/confusion is apparent, but that's replaced by relief when they come back and comment on how simple the system is, which happens without fail. Even BusinessCar's big boss publisher, who normally drives a previous-generation 320d, came back singing the car's praises when he borrowed it for a few days (although he missed having the extra set of doors).
Of course, stop-start is only one part of BMW's Efficient Dynamics programme, and the whole package seems to be having a positive impact upon fuel consumption. In a previous life I once ran a five-door 120d just after it was launched, and we're currently achieving almost identical fuel consumption to that car despite undertaking more urban crawls compared to my previous longer, mainly motorway commute. We're more than happy with that, as we are with the rare forays into the 50mpg area when the keys are in certain hands.
Overall, the economy has started to rise again. We were getting an average 42.8mpg during the running-in period, but that had dropped to 38.2 before climbing back to just over 40mpg.
Six months with the car has given us plenty of time to assess the £1795-worth of various options fitted. While some, like metallic paint, are a no-brainer, paying £75 for floor mats  on a £20,000 BMW seems excessive, and the £205 USB audio interface  is also expensive given that there's auxiliary socket as standard.
While it's nice to be able to control an iPod through the car's stereo controls, the system is clunky and won't let you access playlists you've created. Meanwhile, the good quality stereo is probably worth the £145 upgrade if you like your tunes.