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Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 330d - 7th Report

Date: 26 June 2009   |   Author:

Camp site
Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £33,555
Key rival: Audi A4

Our 330d is, unfortunately, not far off a return to its maker, so Le Mans was a good opportunity for a farewell road trip.

The annual pilgrimage to the 24-hour race means a 300-mile run from Calais down to the middle of France, four-up with a mountain of camping gear and, for some reason, a large suitcase brought along by one traveller.

Having previously said the 3-series saloon's boot is happy swallowing a weekend's worth of gear, I found four tents, sleeping bags, chairs, random paraphernalia and that suitcase was something of a squeeze, and a little more luggage room wouldn't have hurt, especially on the way back when the same stuff never seems to fit as well.

Rear space was also something the passengers had a little moan about. It's fine for four, particularly when the person behind a tall driver can be described as 'compact', and the front passenger and nearside rear passenger can reach a compromise where both are comfortable. The problem in our case started when we tried to get a third adult in the back. I need the driver's seat a long way back, and the combination of that and the wide transmission tunnel that feeds the power to the rear wheels, which our piggy in the middle struggled to tuck a leg either side of, raised a chorus of complaints.

Slight grumbles apart, the 330d again proved why it is still the only model to score 10/10 for a BusinessCar test drive. It's quick enough to trouble much of the glamorous sports car exotica out of the toll booths, yet returns a shade over 40mpg on the 130km/h (81mph) autoroute run. Space issues aside, the passengers were impressed with the comfort, refinement and cleverness of the ConnectDrive system and stereo, and this from a car that transforms from motorway cruiser to a great-handling and steering faux-sports car when conditions allow.

Diesel power again won the Le Mans 24-hour race, with Peugeot first past the post, but our 330d used the weekend to underline once again that's it's a winner for fleets.

BMW 330d saloon M sport
Mileage13,473
Claimed combined
consumption
49.6mpg
Our average
consumption
39.6mpg
P11D price£33,555
Model price range£21,520-£49,520
CO2 (tax) 152g/km/21%
BIK 20/40% per month£117/£235
Service intervalvariable mls
Insurancegroup 17
Warranty3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space460litres
Engine size/power2993cc/245PS
Top speed/0-62mph155mph/6.1secs
Why we’re running itIs our first 10/10
road test car as
good to live with
long-term?
PositiveEngine, chassis,
emissions,
running costs
NegativeNotchy gear change,
options cost



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