3 diesel at new level
BMW’s 330d ticks the boxes, says STUART MARTIN
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.