On the road

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - LUXURY CARS -

BMW sup­plied a 118d hatch, 123d hatch and con­vert­ible and 330d coupe for test through Bavaria last week.

With a mix of au­to­bahn, coun­try road and tight vil­lage lane driv­ing, each re­turned fuel econ­omy fig­ures on their on-board com­put­ers sim­i­lar to of­fi­cial claims.

At 200km/h on the au­to­bahn, even the 118d three door (we will get the five­door) still felt like it had more to give, the diesels not only hav­ing low-end grunt but plenty of meat through­out the rev range.

They are quiet, re­fined and have less idle clat­ter than is com­mon among diesels.

But it’s the twin-turbo model that re­ally stands out, sound­ing and feel­ing more like a petrol en­gine with its free revving and mid-to-top-end power.

Han­dling is not ad­versely af­fected by the ex­tra weight of the en­gines, al­though steer­ing may be marginally heav­ier.

The man­ual mod­els fea­ture auto stop­start which cuts the en­gine when it is sta­tion­ary and in neu­tral, start­ing again when the clutch is pushed in.

While this same func­tion feels rough in the new X1 and Mini diesel, it feels much smoother here, maybe be­cause of the en­gine po­si­tion­ing.

James says the auto stop-start func­tion had not yet been en­gi­neered for au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, but they were work­ing on it.

The six-speed man­ual gear­boxes fea­ture well-cho­sen ra­tios, al­though first is a lit­tle short and sixth will be wasted in Aus­tralia where the high­way max­i­mum speed limit is 110km/h.

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