Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 330d - 7th Report
26 June 2009
|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|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average |
|Model price range||£21,520-£49,520|
|CO2 (tax) ||152g/km/21%|
|BIK 20/40% per month||£117/£235|
|Service interval||variable mls|
|Why we’re running it||Is our first 10/10 |
road test car as
good to live with
|Positive||Engine, chassis, |
|Negative||Notchy gear change, |