3 diesel at new level

BMW’s 330d ticks the boxes, says STU­ART MARTIN

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

AUS­TRALIA’S first tur­bod­iesel six-cylin­der BMW 3 Se­ries has landed with more grunt and a lower thirst than its Ger­man ri­vals.

BMW’s diesel push has grown strong since it first brought a com­pres­sion-ig­ni­tion model to Aus­tralia in 2003, with the com­pany now lay­ing claim to the No.1 lux­ury passenger diesel brand.

BMW spokesman Toni An­dreevski says the suc­cess of its diesel range could see more 3 Se­ries diesel mod­els — if the trend con­tin­ues.

‘‘Cus­tomers are tak­ing to the torque and the lower fuel con­sump­tion of the new qui­eter, smoother en­gines — but it’s only a pos­si­bil­ity at this stage,’’ he says.

The 330d sedan is priced from $87,250 (thanks to tax breaks for its lower fuel con­sump­tion) — about $8000 less than its ri­val Mercedes- Benz and sit­ting just above Audi’s A4 3.0 TDI Qu­at­tro sedan.

It has 520Nm of torque — more than the twin-turbo petrol 335i and the M3 — which is ac­com­pa­nied by 180kW of power. That’s 4kW and 20Nm more than the Audi and 15kW and 10Nm up on the Benz. The BMW also pips its ri­vals on emis­sions, thirst and weight.

The new BMW al­loy tur­bod­iesel also claims a four-cylin­der-sized thirst of 6.8 litres/100km and CO2 emis­sions of 180g/km.

The Audi does match it in the sprint to 100km/h, which they claim in 6.2 sec­onds. That’s just 0.6 of a sec­ond more than the 335i, which con­sumes fuel at 9.6 litres/100km.

The car is well stocked with 17-inch al­loys, up­graded brakes, leather trim, sat­nav, bi-xenon head­lights, 10-speaker sound, pow­er­ad­justable front seats, sports steer­ing wheel with shift levers, key­less en­try and start, cruise con­trol (with brak­ing func­tion), park­ing sen­sors front and rear and Blue­tooth phone link. IT IS easy to see why BMW thinks diesels will make up a quar­ter of 3 Se­ries sales.

First im­pres­sions of the car on Aus­tralian coun­try roads were good, with only the tyres— in con­cert with the coarse-chip bi­tu­men — pro­vid­ing any in­tru­sive noise.

The en­gine is smooth and quiet, de­liv­er­ing its out­puts like a petrol en­gine and sound­ing much less like a diesel than the bulk of its fore­bears.

Peak power of 180kW ar­rives at 4000 revs but it is the 520Nm shove in the back from just above idle that makes the diesel six so ap­peal­ing.

The un­re­lent­ing surge of torque means the 330d is a re­laxed ma­chine to drive. It has civilised road man­ners, with a def­i­nite lean to­wards the han­dling side of the equa­tion, but it sits flat and turns in with en­thu­si­asm.

It’s an ex­cep­tion­ally quiet, comfortable cruiser that of­fers per­for­mance and econ­omy.

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