Our Fleet Test Drive: BMW 330d - Final Report
25 August 2009
|Category:|| Upper medium|
|P11D price:|| £33,555|
|Key rival:|| Audi A4|
Well, it's been six months in what was, until this month at least, the only car to have scored a maximum 10/10 rating.
We've recently awarded a second, and click on the link to our test review of Skoda's Superb Greenline model to find out why, but the 330d's status as the best all-round fleet car has been secured by facing everything daily life could throw at it over half a year and more than 10,000 miles in our care.
I have to admit to being a little worried. Having been given such a strong billing - my road test verdict late last summer on the facelifted car was that "driver and accountant will struggle to be happier" - it seemed that as prolonged exposure would expose the car's little flaws and foibles the only way was down.
But that simply hasn't happened. Even after putting all those miles under its wheels, the 330d still impresses as much as ever, and only two previous BusinessCar long-term test cars can match the immense disappointment felt when the BMW was collected. Those were the great-to-drive but almost prohibitively expensive to fuel Ford Focus ST, and the Audi TT TDI, which was as efficient to run as the 330d, but wouldn't have taken four people down to Le Mans in comfort .
Also, over six months we averaged agonisingly close to 40mpg, managing 39.8mpg, and that from a 3.0-litre 248PS saloon. The 2.0-litre 150PS Renault Laguna Coupe we're currently running isn't getting that.
As well as being great to drive, rapid and offering excellent consumption, the running costs also means the 330d makes sense to the finance director. The residual value stayed static over six months at 40.1% retained, according to Kwik Carcost, which puts the cost per mile at 66.3p.
And all this without mentioning Connected Drive, the industry-leading system we've discussed in previous reports. There's not the space to go into all the details here - see previous reports at www.businesscar.co.uk/ourfleet for more - but it takes online connectivity  and satnav systems into new territory, and that will only grow next year when BMW should launch full in-car internet capability. Connected Drive is available with any BMW fitted with the Professional Multimedia package, a £1935 option on our car, and comes with three years free subscription.
We could have saved some cash by not ordering the leather seats (£1025), comfy as the were, and the electric adjustment (£890), but we'd have stuck with the handy front and rear parking sensors at £285. USB interface and visibility package including auto adaptive Xenon lights and auto wipers were reasonable value but wouldn't be particularly missed at £205 and £645 respectively.
The 330d isn't completely perfect - the gearbox is a little notchy, the rear seats are tight for people with longer legs than my terrier , and the ride isn't the most refined in the class, but on paper and to live with, it really is the best business car on sale.
|BMW 330d saloon M sport|
|Claimed combined consumption||49.6mpg|
|Our average consumption||39.8mpg|
|Model price range||£21,525-£49,525|
|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 long-term?
|Positive||Engine, economy, Connected Drive|
|Negative||Notchy gear change|