BMW 330D M Sport Coupe
Firstly, I have to say, it’s impossible not to like this car. Sounds a bold statement, but I think it’s true.
You will know that our road tests look for honest cars, cars that deliver what they promise, but we also look at what they cost and consider that a major part of our assessment. We don’t go into all the technical whys and wherefores; you can find all that all on the manufacturer’s website, we simply tell you what we felt about the car.
There is no doubt that when you drive a BMW, you feel kind of special, you feel your sending a message that says you have good taste, that you appreciate the engineering involved and that you’re probably better off than the guy next to you in traffic in his Ford Focus. Simply visiting the supermarket and hopping out of your BMW you feel people look at you differently, they look at you in an envious way, but that said I don’t know if they like you?
In most cases, people either like a car or they don’t, they like a brand or they don’t, or maybe they just don’t care. Many drivers have brand preferences and it’s often that a driver will stick with a brand from cradle to grave, but outside that, they don’t really have much of an opinion about a different make. With BMW that’s very different and I don’t know of any make of car in my experience that polarises views just so much, ranging from love to hate and I cant help but feel that as the driver of a BMW you are branded in the same way.
Maybe it’s me, but I find when I drive a BMW, I don’t get let out in traffic so often and it’s really noticeable that every Golf driver around wants to overtake me. Even drivers of older BMW’s seem to look at you in a strange way as the cache they normally enjoy seems to wane in the presence of your newer or better BMW, so it seems even they don’t like you either.
I know I am banging on about intangible things here, but they are very much at the heart of the whole experience of driving a desirable car and whilst in the case of BMW, we can comfort ourselves knowing we’ve told the world we are capable of driving “the ultimate driving machine” the fact is we are probably not the ultimate driver and have really just bought the car as its posh and we can afford it.
Looking at the car itself, we tested the 155mph 330D M Sport Coupe. On the outside, it’s instantly BMW but it’s understated and you know, I really like that. The closer you get to the car, the more you begin to appreciate and admire all the little lines and curves that go into making this such a pretty car. It’s got no go faster wings or “parts bin” bits bolted onto it, it’s just very clean, very simple, yet it’s very gorgeous also.
On the inside, it’s a similar story, it’s just clean, functional and classy, with nothing unnecessary to put you off the job in hand when you’re driving the car, where as so many cars today look like they’ve visited Halfords and just bolted on everything that’s sparkly or different to confuse you.
With so many adjustments in the driving position available on the 3 Series, you would have to be R2D2 not to find one that suits you perfectly and for me, I was at home in just 30 seconds flat. The instrumentation is clear and concise and looks as if it’s expensive. Our car had leather and the seats were as comfortable and supportive as anything out there. The steering wheel was the big chunky grip M Sport wheel and was just lovely to hold. All in all, just sitting there, you start to believe the hype and really do feel you’re a driving god at the wheel of the ultimate driver’s car. Without doubt, the cabin of this 3 series is just such a nice place to be, with the only problem being that when you’re inside, you can’t see the cars gorgeous outside.
Our test car had the 3 litre 6 cylinder unit mated with the 6 speed automatic gearbox and with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifts, and right of the bat, I have to say the combination of engine and gearbox is absolutely perfect, it just mates so well and is probably one of the best combinations I have driven for some time. Just the smallest touch of the throttle is all that’s needed for you to know this car would be a serious player in the traffic light grand prix.
The 3.0 “diesel” (don’t forget its diesel) takes you from 0-62 in just 6.7 seconds and all the way to 155mph, yet the potential fuel consumption of this 230bhp car is a marvel. We found it easy to achieve over 40mpg in testing conditions, but if you drive it normally, ok, the 31.4mpg urban isn’t too cracky, but the combined average of 42.8 is good and the extra urban figure of 54.3mpg is stunning for something that produces not far off a super car performance. Our car being an automatic produced a CO2 of 175g/km, however the manual version produces just 160g/km and it’s even more economical.
The standard BMW 330d M Sport Coupe comes in at a touch over £35,000, but our test car had leather, sat navigation and a few other bits which took it up to over £42,000, so it isn’t a cheap car, but then to say that you have to compare it with other prestigious coupes around to see how it stacks up.
Mercedes are the obvious competitor and whilst their new small CLC Coupe offers stonking value for money at between, £19,000 up to £27,000, its not a direct comparison and to do that, you have to look towards the CLK Coupe in Sports Pack version which with its big 3.2 224ps diesel comes in at £37,000 before you add another £1500 for the auto box and ad a few bits to bring it up to our BMW’s spec and it takes the Mercedes to easily over £45,000
Audi A5 is the other logical contender with its 3.0 240ps Quatro in Sports pack, with auto and similar bits to our BMW, coming in at over £43,000, but you get do 4wd for that, however the A5 just doesn’t look as nimble because of its styling, so whilst I started off saying our 330D M Sport was an expensive car, its clearly not when its sat beside other similar cars.
Image wise, you still think of BMW as the young mans prestige car, with Audi for those that have settled down but not quite given up yet and Mercedes for those amongst us with grey hair or balding slightly who believe jeans look good on them (Mr Clarkson).
I could go on to tell you how the car handles, but you don’t need me to tell you, because you just know how it’s going to handle even if you haven’t driven one and you know that its better than most of us are ever going to need, or ever be able to use. Our cars ride was a little stiffer as it was the M Sport model, but was just fine on all but the worst roads.
The question is I guess should you buy a BMW 330D M Sport Coupe? Well I suppose it’s down to what you want from a car and what you can afford. Its hackneyed to say “there are not any bad cars around now days”, but fact is there are still some pretty awful ones out there, but similarly there are loads of middle of the range cars such as the Ford Focus, that are just superb and offer huge bang for your bucks and just cant be criticised as they do the job perfectly.
Its all down to money then and whilst without doubt, driving this beautiful little coupe does make you feel pretty dam good, you can buy 2 high spec Focus or 2 high spec Astra’s for the £42,000 our test car cost and still have change left over, but then you can holiday in Great Yarmouth, or in the Caribbean, both are nice in their own way, but I guess you would opt for the Caribbean every time if you could afford it and it’s the same for this delightful BMW Coupe, so, if you can afford it, I suggest you get your cheque book out now, as there are not too many more rewarding or entertaining ways to spend £42,00 than on this darling of a car.
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